By Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property, Latimer Hinks Solicitors www.latimerhinks.co.uk
The health of the property market in Teesside and Hartlepool is increasingly robust, according to our research of estate agents in the area. The data was collected in August at a time when there is much positivity to report in the market as a whole. Prices are slowly but surely starting to return to something resembling a pre-recessionary, but not hyper-inflationary, norm.
The property experts report that the typical timespan from advertising to sale of the average Band D property is now between three and six months, which represents a substantial improvement from just two years ago at the height of recession when properties typically languished on estate agents books for over 12 months.
The positive findings tie in with a rosy picture for the housing market at national level. According to the latest survey from Halifax, prices in the three months to July rose by 2.1% compared with the previous three months, the lender has said, with prices up 0.9% in July itself. Prices are rising three times faster than wages and the Halifax has said that mortgages are now at their most affordable level in 14 years.
The figures mirror the picture in Teesside and Hartlepool where agents have seen an increase in instructions over the last twelve months and a very encouraging return to pre-recessionary house price levels in real terms. They have also highlighted hot spots where instructions have increased by over 20% over the last twelve months. These include bustling Yarm, Eaglescliffe, parts of Ormsby and Ingleby Barwick. Other villages in the Tees Valley area have still to benefit from the trickle down positivity that seems to be present in the market.
There is little doubting that measures to boost the regional (and national) housing market are starting to pay off. The variety of schemes set up at governmental level, most notably the Help to Buy scheme, are serving to reignite the formerly stagnant property scene. Help to Buy was launched in April and offers loans to buyers of new build homes priced below £600,000 that are interest-free for the first five years. The buyer needs a five per cent deposit. The scheme has been credited with spurring a surge in home sales and driving up prices.
The expected £12bn Help to Buy extension, which is due to launch in January 2014, is open to buyers of all properties, not just new build, with a five per cent deposit. Measures such as this will help to further drive prices in the right direction and still stringent lending criteria, including the notable absence of 95 per cent and plus mortgages will help to prevent things spirally out of control again.
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