By Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property, Latimer Hinks Solicitors www.latimerhinks.co.uk
The regional property market has been marked by a slow rise in prices that are not always in line with the national picture. North East property prices have yet to undergo a real resurgence, with values even dipping in October last year, while many other areas of the UK have been on an upward trajectory since December 2013. London has, of course, been the powerhouse of activity. The North East has a lower threshold from which to rise as it has the lowest average property price in the UK of £99, 132.
Recent ONS figures collated in December 2014 show that house prices in the North East rose 0.4% in the year to December, with the annual change since December 2013 at 3.9%, making the region one of the slowest growing parts of the UK. This compares to the London high of 16.3% and the bottom North West figure of 1.5% with the North East in the second lowest position.
According to our own research into the Darlington and County Durham property markets, it would appear that the area is beginning to grow as a result of improving economic conditions. Although not quite at the same level as other areas of 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, while none reported a decrease.
The majority of estate agents reported much more positive sales figures with the average Band D property on their books selling between two and three months. Only two said it is taking between three and six months.
According to our property experts, Darlingtons West End and its surrounding villages, including the DL2 postcodes, as well as areas like the Denes and Cockerton were identified as the property hotspots, while areas such as South Park in Darlington and DL14 postcode areas, including Coundon and Bishop Auckland, are proving harder to sell.
All agents surveyed, which included names like Northgate, Bridgfords, Anne Cordey and Robinsons, reported that prices had regained around 80% of the level seen at the 2004 house price peak. This bodes well for the areas property market, which is still undergoing a slow and manageable increase in price levels.
Next week, we will turn our attention to the Cleveland property market.
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.
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.