Apathy has hit the Northampton housing market as sellers await the outcome of the general election and stricter mortgage regulation suppresses buyer demand. This is mirrored around the UK as Rightmove reported the number of homes registered for sale per estate agent fell to its lowest level for five years in December, with available stock 10% lower than in the same month a year earlier.
Looking at Northampton, in the late Summer of 2014, each estate agent in Northampton had on average 32.8 properties on its books (as there were a total of 2,401 properties up for sale in Northampton at the peak in the late Summer just gone). Our research shows that number plummeted to 21.5 per agent in December. While the lack of new properties coming onto the market in the later months of 2014 in Northampton pushed asking prices up slightly from November to December – traditionally a quiet season for the housing market, property sellers will need to work hard in 2015 to complete a sale.
The length of time a property takes to sell has increased over the last few months. Two bedroom properties in Northampton are now taking 72 days to sell, three bedroom 66 days, four bedrooms 89 days, but here is an interesting figure – one beds are taking on average 104 days to find a buyer.
2015 will be the year of the selective mover. With only 790 brand new properties a year being built in Northampton since the turn of the Millennium, this woefully low and insufficient number of new buildings in the town over the past few decades and a systemic change in the type of properties homeowners want (with families splitting etc, we have too many larger houses and not enough smaller ones), buyers are becoming dissatisfied with, and therefore dismissive, of what is up for sale.
I would confirm the heat has gone out of the Northampton property market and I anticipate a moderate reduction from the high transaction volumes seen in 2014. That might mean Northampton landlords could bag a bargain during this period of uncertainty, especially if the financial markets do not like the election outcome. Markets and buyers do not like uncertainty, but savvy Buy to let landlords know that buy to let is a long term game; irrespective of short term apathy, the reduction in the quality and quantity of stock for homeowners , or the election, the fact is if people don’t buy property they rent instead. The Council aren’t building anymore properties and the council house waiting list is decades, not years for the better type of property… so the only other place to get a roof over your head is to rent a property! Good old Bricks and Mortar!
Therefore, if you are considering buying a property for investment in the near future, I am always happy to give you my considered opinion on which property to buy (or not as the case may be) to give you what you want from your investment. Email me on Northampton@northwooduk.com.