‘If in doubt do nowt’ is wrong approach to this healthy market
Tim Waring, director of Dacre Son & Hartley, www. dacres.co.uk
LAST WEEK, Property Post ran a fascinating overview of the house price growth, according to Hometrack, across our great Northern cities. While values in Manchester over the last 12 months may have risen more in percentage terms than Leeds, it is interesting to note that the average house price in Leeds, at £153,400, remains above that of Manchester, at £151,200.
With the stream of headlines coming out of Whitehall, Washington and our neighbours across the Channel, perhaps it’s no wonder that many homeowners are wondering what the future holds for their properties. I am pleased to say there is now clear evidence that post Brexit, post US-election and post Christmas, the housing market in Yorkshire in 2017 is showing encouraging signs of activity. I’m not the only agent in Yorkshire who is of this opinion.
The number of viewings that my own firm has undertaken in January, particularly up to £250,000, is significantly higher than last year. Likewise, the number of market appraisals for properties of all values. The latter is a tell-tale sign of intention and not, I hope, just idle curiosity.
As to sales, the most compelling indicator is the yearon-year increase in the number of buyers who are looking at this time of year and who are, in the short-term, frustrated by the lack of supply. You will recall that at this point in 2016 there was a prospect of the
Brexit vote with signs of market hesitation starting to show. This was followed by the prophets of doom, most notably a certain Mr Osborne, warning that a leave vote would result in price drops of up to 18 per cent. The reality, witness the aforementioned Hometrack statistics, has been annual growth of 4.9 per cent and 4.3 per cent in Leeds and Sheffield respectively.
Although anecdotal, I believe in other areas of Yorkshire, particularly in the much promoted Golden Triangle, price growth over the last 12 months may well have been in excess of five per cent. So the proof, I would suggest, lies in the proverbial pudding. So why are sellers now delaying putting their properties on the market? As I have said before, some I suspect are falling in to the well-known trap of hesitation or as a more down-to-earth Northerner might say “if in doubt do nowt”.
I can understand this to some degree, particularly as I write on a damp cold and overcast February morning, but for many the important factor is the difference between the sale and purchase price. While it will inevitably be seen as self-interest on my part, surely if you buy and sell in the same market, be this on a damp overcast February morning or sunny summer afternoon, does it really matter when you start the process given the time it might take to get to the day you actually move?
I have long advocated that the best sales often take place in the winter months and this year may well prove to be no exception when I look at some of the enquiries we are currently handling. All agents will tell you their current tales of success, indeed we will know the outcome of a best offer scenario by the time you read this article. If they are open, agents will also admit some instructions may not be moving as quickly as they might like despite sensible pricing.
In essence, it is all a question of market sentiment. I suspect we all thought the housing market would be difficult in the second half of 2016 but the reality has defied the expectation. There are buyers in the market and there are an increasing number frustrated by the lack of supply. So, I remain firmly of the view that 2017 will see a positive housing market in Yorkshire.
Tim Waring FRICS is a Director of Dacre Son & Hartley base in their Harrogate office. 01423 877200 firstname.lastname@example.org