According to our own research into the Darlington and County Durham property markets, it would appear that the North is beginning to grow as a result of improving economic conditions. Although not quite at the same level as other areas in the country, the results are still noteworthy.
With the exception of two, all of the property experts surveyed in the Darlington area reported that they had seen an increase in instructions over the last 12 months, with none of them reporting a decrease.
It was also noted that house prices had returned to at least 75-100% of pre-recessionary values from 2008, and all were experiencing increased sales as the market continues to improve.
This bodes well and mirrors the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) findings from May, which reported that annual house price inflation rose to 10.5% - up 9.9% from the previous month. As expected, the South's property market reported the highest rises, but the North East's market grew by 4.8% and the average house price in the UK is now priced at £262,000.
In stark contrast to only a few years ago, the majority of estate agents reported much more positive sales figures with the average Band D property on their books selling within three months. Only one said it is taking between three and six months.
As with most things, price is key and Northgate, the Darlington-based estate agents, has been experiencing more sales despite no real change in its house prices. It estimates its prices are 10% lower than the last housing boom, but is still thriving as a result of good pricing and increases in the market.
Darlingtons West End and its surrounding villages, including the DL2 postcodes, were identified as the property hotspots, while areas such as Redhall in Darlington and DL14 postcode areas, including Coundon and Bishop Auckland, are proving harder to sell.
Emma Wick, of Bridgfords on Darlingtons Duke Street, is also seeing an increase in instructions on the back of good market conditions with prices between five to ten percent lower than the 2008 peak. The regeneration areas of Darlington are also proving to be popular with property buyers, and the market is performing well, in line with the rest of the country.
Despite warnings of a capital-centric housing bubble from Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, all appears well with the Darlington and County Durham property markets.
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. In addition, 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 the firm.
Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 40 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information: www.latimerhinks.co.uk or call 01325 341500.