Faster trains may bring more buy­ers north from Lon­don

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

I firmly be­lieve that the mar­ket may be at a tip­ping point. Sellers have be­come dis­il­lu­sioned by gloomy re­ports, by their neigh­bours fail­ing to sell, or by houses stick­ing on the mar­ket for months or even years. That may be due to over valu­ing, and some well-known agents are, in a large part, to blame for giv­ing false hope to own­ers by over valu­ing.

The up­shot is that new ven­dors are now not coming for­ward, which means there is a stock short­age. At the same time buy­ers are fo­cussing once again on York and North York­shire.

The city it­self and all the favourite lo­ca­tions, par­tic­u­larly the Howar­dian Hills, are coming un­der scru­tiny once more. They of­fer won­der­ful life­style op­por­tu­ni­ties and fan­tas­tic value.

At a prac­ti­cal level, the ex­cel­lent schools will help to draw peo­ple in, along with the rail con­nec­tions at York, Thirsk and Mal­ton and the up­graded A1, which will speed them on their way.

So what else is be­hind this sud­den re­nais­sance?

Both Labour and the Lib Dems are threat­en­ing a Man­sion tax, which will be 1 per cent or 1.5 per cent payable an­nu­ally on the value of houses over £2m.

A let­ter in a news­pa­per last week stated: “My two-bed­room ter­race house with no garden hap­pens to be in Not­ting Hill and so is worth £2m.

We can see which way the wind is blow­ing. Con­se­quently and re­luc­tantly we shall be sell­ing our home this spring and look­ing to re­lo­cate”.

With York to Lon­don now 1¾ hours by train and likely to get faster, North York­shire is an ob­vi­ous choice for re­lo­ca­tors.

That home-owner could keep a flat in Lon­don and still have well over a mil­lion pounds to spend.

Over the past five years cen­tral Lon­don prop­erty has ac­cel­er­ated by 50 per cent.

In the same pe­riod, North York­shire has lost 15 per cent. As the Amer­i­cans would say: “Do the math.” Not all

Lon­don buy­ers head north of course, but York­shire has a strong grav­i­ta­tional pull, es­pe­cially for those born and bred in the county. In fact, we are al­ready, at this early stage in the year, field­ing phone calls and ar­rang­ing ap­point­ments for those re­turn­ing. We make them very wel­come!

The pound is at a low ebb and buy­ers from abroad are find­ing UK prop­erty cheap. We have just agreed terms with a buyer who flew in from Sin­ga­pore for 48 hours and did a deal.

Since Christ­mas we have agreed or con­tracted sales worth al­most £8m. Four of th­ese sales are worth over £1m and of th­ese only one is to a buyer cur­rently liv­ing in York­shire.

Oth­ers are from Lon­don, Cam­bridge and overseas. The Old Rec­tory in Nun­ning­ton is a good ex­am­ple. It was mar­keted in 2012 and, af­ter an abortive sale to a Lon­don lawyer, it was snapped up by an­other Lon­don buyer who ex­changed con­tracts in three weeks.

Af­ter years as the poor re­la­tion, it could just be that North York­shire is ready for an up­turn. The key now is to per­suade own­ers to bring their houses to the mar­ket with a de­gree of con­fi­dence that they will get a re­sult; but em­phat­i­cally not by ar­ti­fi­cially ramp­ing up the ask­ing price. All of us have had our lives on hold for too long, and if buy­ers are eye­ing us up again it will not pro­duce re­sults if we sud­denly look ex­pen­sive. As an old tu­tor used to tell me: “You’ll usu­ally per­suade some­one to give you £9.50 for a ten pound note, and prob­a­bly £9.95. But no one will pay you £11”. Houses are like that, too.

Tim Blenkin is a char­tered sur­veyor who owns and runs Blenkin & Co in York.

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