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Residential Market Update: January 2020

Wed 29 January 2020

It’s no secret that the residential property market was hit following the EU referendum; and no surprise given the ongoing political rollercoaster. However, with a clear majority in the election, there has been a surge of confidence in January across the board.

Here, Kim Harrison, Head of Residential Property at youngsRPS, explores the market as we make our way through the first month of 2020 with a new government.

‘Demand outstripping supply’ was the significant headline for residential property throughout 2019; activity was stifled by uncertainty surrounding both Brexit and the General Election, resulting in an eight percent decline in properties coming to the market, but only a three percent decline in sales agreed. However, 2020 promised to kickstart positively; in the past few weeks we have seen an incredible uplift in general market activity in comparison to previous years. This is really promising and should encourage those buyers that are sitting on the fence to make the move to the market.

Post-election, we have seen signs that there has been a revival in the market and expect this ‘bounce’ in property transactions to continue. Of course, London figures do tend to skew national averages, but North East sale prices have improved over the last 12 months, with the latest Rightmove figures showing a one-point five percent increase. We might not be out of the political storm yet, but momentum in stock and transactions is expected to pick up this spring – something we haven’t seen across the UK for three years.

Saying this, we experienced stability in our transaction rates, and in some of our offices we saw an increase. We are continuing to sell properties within three percent of guide price, even in what we are told is a challenging market. For areas outside of London, it has even been reported that prices are expected to rise another two to five percent by the end of 2020. Of course, the uncertainty as to the quality of a Brexit trade deal is still affecting confidence, and for the market to fully recover much will depend on the ability of the new government to generate a positive business environment and outlook over coming months.

Despite the national figures we’ve seen over the last 12 months, we’ve experienced significant success, opening a new residential agency office in the market town of Alnwick, as well as achieving the status of leading agent for the length of time our properties are on the market. We now have offices offering estate agency services across the North East, in Alnwick, Hexham, Sedgefield and Northallerton.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a huge quantity of new-build estates popping up across the region, however available and developable sites are becoming more difficult to obtain. There are developers out there ready to build but the planning system continues to frustrate, and it is unlikely that we will see a surge on a similar scale for some time. Working alongside our planning team, we are seeing more and more commercial spaces being converted into residential property. It’s fantastic to see some of these old redundant buildings being revived. The old Hexham swimming pool for example, which is being converted into 45 apartments, will be a brilliant addition to the town centre and we are delighted to be appointed agents for the sale of this high-quality scheme.

Overall, it’s an exciting time for the property market; as mentioned, demand is still outstripping supply and confidence in the market is strong, we urge vendors to start making moves!