Prices up, prices down, prices stable….. the newspapers are full of good news, bad news and indifferent news about the Brit’s favourite subject after the weather….. the property market. The thing is the UK does not have one housing market. Instead, it is a patchwork of mini property markets all performing in a different way. At one end of scale is London, which has seen average prices grow in the last twelve months by a shade under 19% (and again that is an average because some Borough’s in London have risen by 26%) whilst in the land of Daffodils , by contrast, Wales only saw a 2% increase in property values (although in the Merthyr Valleys they dropped by over 11%).
Well we can’t ignore the rest of the UK and we can’t forget that the Chancellor’s Stamp Duty reforms have polarised the London property markets above £1,000,000 because at the top end of the market, punitive Stamp Duty charges will dampen demand further. While the Bank of England warned of the growing London property price bubble in the Spring of 2014, even talk of a recovery in some areas was premature. In 2015, irrespective of where you are in the UK, one story will unite the patchwork quilt of markets – really slow property value growth.
But what about Northampton? Well, we haven’t had the December figures from the Land Registry yet but the last few months’ activity and prices achieved would suggest neither house price growth nor drops. In fact, most sellers are buyers anyway, so if you need to take less for yours, you won’t have to pay as much for the one you want to buy….. and that is good news for everyone as most move up market when they move. This is even better for landlord investors, as they can bag a bargain as well.
The question you should be asking though is, not only what is happening to property prices, but which price band exactly is selling? I like to keep an eye on the property market in Northampton on a daily basis because it enables me to give the best advice and opinion on what (or not) to buy in Northampton.
Over the last two months (63 days to be precise), 255 properties with asking prices under £125k have come onto the market in Northampton and 35.6% of them (91 properties) have a buyer and sold stc. Between £125k and £175k, of the 369 properties that come on to the market, an impressive (40.6%) of them (150 properties) have a buyer. The £175k to £225k price range has seen 224 properties come on to the market, and 35.2% have a buyer (79 properties). 40 of the 172 properties that came onto the market with asking prices of £225k and £300k in Northampton have a buyer (23.2%). Finally, the £300k+ range has been much slower, with only 8.4% (14 properties) of the 162 that have come on to the market in the last 63 days finding buyers.
The next three months’ activity will be crucial in understanding which way the market will go this year and I honestly believe we will not see any house price growth or drops this side of the election. Election or no election, people will always need a roof over their head and that is why the property market has rode the storms of the Oil crisis in the 1970’s, the 1980’s depression, Black Monday in the 1990’s, and latterly the Credit Crunch together with the various house price crashes of 1973, 1987 and 2008.
And why? Because of Britain’s (and especially Northampton’s) chronic lack of housing will prop up house prices and prevent a post spike crash….. there is always a silver lining when it comes to the property market!
If you are an existing landlord or one who is thinking of become one in Northampton, don’t hesitate to pop by our offices on the Wellingborough Road in Northampton or send us an email to Northampton@northwooduk.com.