By Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property, Latimer Hinks Solicitors www.latimerhinks.co.uk
We continue our round-up of property data and opinions gathered from estate agents. This week, we turn our attention to Richmond, the Dales and Ripon. There are reasons to be cheerful in these predominately rural areas with house prices experiencing a resurgence and a return to positivity.
All property agents we spoke to have reported an increase in instructions since the start of the year. House prices have also returned to between 75 and 100% of pre-recessionary levels. At the national level, house prices rose by 9.8% in the year to December, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). That was slightly lower than November's rate, which stood at 9.9%, but prices were still growing "strongly, the ONS reported.The number of mortgage loans made to home buyers also rose slightly in December with 55,600 loans arranged, 1.5% more than in November, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
In Richmond, the Dales and Ripon, like so many other areas, properties only six months ago would linger on estate agents' books for between three and six months. There now appears to be some movement in the regional property market, which has resulted in many more properties being sold. The majority of the agents surveyed revealed that the average sale time for Band D properties is now between six and 12 weeks rather than three to six months, as was the case only six months ago.
There are a number of so-called property hotspots in the area. Richmond, Ripon and most of the Dales villages have experienced an increase in property prices over the last six months. An agent from Charltons of Richmond was positive about the town, saying: "Richmond is a prime market town with peripheral villages within a good radius. There are good links to the A1 and attractive Dales properties within a reasonable distance of the main towns.
Other property hotspots identified by our property experts include villages surrounding Ripon and Richmond such as Hipswell and Grewelthorpe. Colder spots included the Catterick Garrison area.
There are reasons for this return to positivity. Pension changes announced in last years Budget are due to come into effect this April. The changes will allow savers over 55 greater freedom to take their pensions as a lump sum, with so-called "silver landlords likely to take advantage of the return on their investment offered by buy-to-let properties by buying homes to rent out, pushing up prices.
In addition, improving economic conditions, boosted by government schemes like Help to Buy, saw the highest amount of first-time buyers purchase their first home for seven years. Next time, we will turn our attention to the Hambleton area.
Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks.