While we’ve been basking in the hot weather this summer, the local property market has been playing it cool.
The latest round of UK data shows a fairly consistent picture. If you’re a ‘glass half empty’ sort of person, you might interpret this as a flat market in terms of activity and pricing.
Around here, however, we’re enjoying a largely stable outlook, in the face of some fairly turbulent headwinds. In my experience, this demonstrates resilience and indicates we’re perhaps less vulnerable to some of the vagaries affecting property prices in other parts of the country.
Much has been said about Brexit and whichever side of the fence you’re on, there’s no denying the controversial negotiations are having an impact on people’s appetite for moving home. London in particular, with its inflated prices, has suffered and there is a trickle effect in the surrounding commuter belt.
Markets in our region have not deteriorated to the same extent. The latest Land Registry figures indicate house prices in Sheffield have actually increased by 6.6%, with similar rises in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales. Other areas, such as Chesterfield and North Derbyshire fared less well, with the latter recording a modest decline of 0.7%.
Transaction volumes nationally have been affected by the political uncertainty and many agents are reporting reduced activity levels. The experts think this will continue, at least in the short term and that it will take longer to agree a sale once a property is listed.
Again, this does not reveal the true picture locally. In Yorkshire and Humberside, independent research shows new buyer enquiries, vendor instructions, sales expectations and price all remain positive. This is supported by the anecdotal evidence we receive from estate agents.
Although tax changes have deterred some would-be landlords from entering the buy-to-let market, there are reasons for local homeowners to be optimistic. Crucially, first time buyers are returning – they accounted for more than 8% of new mortgages completed from May 2017-18 – and this is particularly the case in our region, where affordability is less of an issue than in some parts of the country.
So, if you’re think of selling your home, your glass might not be full just yet, but it is definitely not half empty.