By Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property, Latimer Hinks Solicitors www.latimerhinks.co.uk
Much-vaunted green shoots are starting to appear in the regions property markets, boosted in part by government schemes, including Help to Buy.
According to our own research into the housing market in Richmondshire and the Dales, there is reason to be optimistic about a recovery in the regional market; positivity which has been played out on a larger scale at the national level.
Property experts from a wide range of estate agents in Richmondshire and the Dales are, encouragingly, reporting that the number of instructions has increased over the course of the year. In addition, house prices are starting to rise at a steady rate, although not nearly returning to the same levels seen at pre-crash times, which would arguably not be a positive sign anyway.
Such positive findings echo The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) report that house prices have risen at their fastest rate in 11 years, with sales reaching a four year high at an average of 18.7 homes sold per chartered surveyor in the three months to September. House prices are expected to grow by 2.6% over the next year and there is plenty of optimism in the North East that prices will be boosted by Help to Buy; our research certainly suggests that there is more reason to be optimistic than for a long time.
The estate agents report that the average Band D property can take between 12-24 weeks to sell compared to two years ago when the market was less active and houses would languish on book for many months. It was also revealed that towns such as Barnard Castle, Richmond and the Catterick Garrison area are more popular areas than the more rural villages. Rural areas are more likely to have properties with more stable prices that can lead to many being priced out of the local market.
The Governments decision to bring forward the second part of its Help to Buy scheme will give more people the opportunity to get on the property ladder. The banks are offering 90-95% mortgages and the government is guaranteeing up to 15% of the property value, as part of the scheme. This is offering significant aid to house buyers as they will only have to provide a five to 10% deposit.
The housing market is certainly well placed with launch of the second phase of Help to Buy. This will allow more people the opportunity to own a home, creating a brighter future as the market gathers pace. Time will tell whether this will have a positive or negative (in terms of over-heating) impact on the property market.
For further information: www.latimerhinks.co.uk or call 01325 341 500.