Now is the time to put your money in bricks and mor­tar

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Toby Mil­bank

OF all of the re­ports and anal­y­sis avail­able to the pub­lic, the Land Reg­istry sta­tis­tics shows the ac­tual trans­ac­tions that oc­cur across the coun­try. No mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion, no pos­i­tive spin from a mort­gage com­pany or an es­tate agent, just hard facts.

The Land Reg­istry facts for North York­shire show a re­duc­tion in av­er­age house prices across the re­gion from just be­low £200,000 at their peak in mid-2007, to £168,000 as at the end of Oc­to­ber 2013. Sadly, the sta­tis­tics from our county are not par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive over the last six years, with only a few small pock­ets show­ing any growth in sale prices. Even Har­ro­gate, the honey pot of the north, is still show­ing an av­er­age house price of one per cent be­low the peak of 2007.

The North has lagged be­hind most of the rest of the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly Lon­don.

This gap be­tween North York­shire and the South East can be demon­strated by av­er­age house prices in Greater Lon­don of £350,000 in mid-2007 and cur­rently, the av­er­age is at around £393,000, an in­crease of 12 per cent.

We know that the North lags be­hind the South in terms of price rises, this is ac­cepted as a rule, but when will we see real price growth in North York­shire and why is it tak­ing so long?

As usual, there is never a sim­ple an­swer but we be­lieve that the main rea­son is the lack of dis­pos­able in­come in the north.

If 100% is the na­tional av­er­age house­hold in­come in the UK, North York­shire av­er­ages 88.2% of the na­tional av­er­age, with Greater Lon­don at 128%. North York­shire lies lower than that of Scot­land at 96% of the av­er­age.

We need to see the amount of dis­pos­able in­come in­crease across the re­gion be­fore prices will rise in North York­shire, or al­ter­na­tively, we need an in­flux of buy­ers from more af­flu­ent parts of the county or abroad.

This is a par­tic­u­lar area of in­ter­est for us. In the last 12 months we have sold 45% of our houses to buy­ers from out­side the county. This is con­sid­er­ably higher than av­er­age of around 30% for the last five years.

There is al­ready growth in some parts of some towns. Ilk­ley, Har­ro­gate and a small pocket in the cen­tre of York all showed pos­i­tive growth in the last three months. Apart­ments on Beech Grove, Har­ro­gate, over­look­ing The Stray have seen price rises of ap­prox­i­mately 15% in the last six years. Could this be the start of some real price rises in North York­shire?

We be­lieve that this is the case. The con­fi­dence is re­turn­ing, peo­ple are start­ing to earn more and the de­sire to be more “up­wardly mo­bile” is upon us.

Now that buy­ers is feel­ing more se­cure in their work­place, the signs are show­ing that we are at the start of an up­ward curve in prices. New buyer reg­is­tra­tions are up from this time last year, num­bers of of­fers re­ceived are up over the same pe­riod but in­ter­est­ingly, the amount of new prop­er­ties com­ing to the mar­ket across the county is about 20 per cent lower than this time last year.

Ac­cord­ingly, we pre­dict av­er­age price rises of 3% to 5% in North York­shire over the 12 months of 2014, as long as in­ter­est rates re­main at their cur­rent low lev­els.

The de­ci­sion by the Gov­ern­ment to launch the next phase of the Help to Buy scheme three months ear­lier than planned has also had a pos­i­tive ef­fect on con­fi­dence in the short term.

Whilst in­ter­est rates re­main low, this should be the time to get your money back into bricks and mor­tar and if you are think­ing in of get­ting your foot on the lad­der or mov­ing to the re­gion, do it soon.

Wise buy­ers will make their move in the next six months.

Fore­cast­ers are pre­dict­ing house price in­creases. Price­Wa­ter­house­Coop­ers sug­gest that UK prop­erty prices could rise by more than 20 per cent in the next seven years, with the price of an av­er­age home in­creas­ing in value from £225,000 to £300,000.

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