City living in York is booming but house hunting is not easy
THE city of York continues to attract a plethora of buyers to its cobbled streets. Its charms are obvious to those of us that know and love her. The historic scenery, renowned shopping, restaurants, transport links and excellent schools all add up to create a vibrant place in which to live and work.
There is no shortage of buyers here, which bucks the trend in many parts of Yorkshire. Yet there is a marked lack of supply and this supply and demand situation means that prices are staying strong even in the toughest of economic markets.
In fact, properties are selling so quickly, some homes are snapped up just days after they are advertised. Some streets are so popular that prices are beginning to rise in the neighbouring streets as well. Even areas that weren’t considered as York’s prime locations before have become “ones to watch”. We’ve seen this positive ripple effect across many areas in London, but it’s something relatively new to York.
One of the benefits of city centre property is that stock is always at a premium. This is due to two reasons. Firstly, the number of homes within the city centre is limited and, secondly, people tend to stay in those homes for a long period of time, such is the appeal of city living here.
We are now seeing many would-be buyers staying in rented accommodation until their dream home comes on to the market. This is excellent news for vendors, as purchasers often have no chain and deals can be done in a matter of days.
This willingness to wait for the long term and a strong loyalty to the location means it remains one of the best-performing areas in terms of house prices in the whole of the North.
Our own research shows strong price performance and we have recently seen some sought-after city centre locations and homes make even more than 2007 peak level prices.
So what type of home are these buyers asking for? We find that many people are searching for a period property close to the city centre, although we also have examples of more contemporary properties selling well. Even more likely to command a premium are houses with larger gardens and courtyards, garages or off street parking. Parking is hard to come by in the city.
Buyers love homes that have been modernised to create an open plan kitchen and dining space and we find these can spark competition that pushes them over the original asking price. In fact, the average sale price in the last three months was 95.1 per cent of the asking price, which is testament to the strength of the market here.
With the internet and the launch of our i-app, we do find that there aren’t as many viewings as there were in the pre 2008 property boom. However, those who do make the effort are much more likely to be serious buyers. In terms of who is looking to buy at the moment, across all our sales in the last three years, 81 per cent of people have bought their home as a main residence, while 7 per cent of buyers have purchased as a second home. They also come from all over Britain. We’ve recently seen buyers coming up from London and from other regions and there is a trend for families and downsizers to move into the city from the surrounding countryside. There are many reasons why buyers choose city life over country. Many clients want to cut down time on car journeys. With York’s excellent rail links into Leeds, London, Newcastle and Edinburgh, people can live here and work elsewhere without needing to drive every day. The Science Park, Aviva and numerous other businesses in the city mean it attracts professionals who are able to live and work in York itself.
The city’s popularity shows no signs of abating, however there is a need for more supply to come on to the market if we are to keep up with what appears to be ever growing demand.