The property market in Darlington and Stockton appears generally stable in the run-up to the summer holidays. However, some estate agents are reporting a slight slowdown.
This may simply be down to the natural troughs and peaks influencing the number of emerging buyers and sellers.
The prolonged period of hot weather or even the World Cup might be a factor – as house hunters choose to bask in the glorious sunshine or remain glued to their television screens for the dramatic football results emerging from Russia.
However, there is still lingering uncertainty on how the outcome of the ongoing Brexit negotiations could affect the economy and this is not being helped by the latest high profile closure announcements in the retail sector.
We surveyed a number of the region’s leading estate agents to gauge whether there has been a slowdown in the number of properties coming to the market over the past six weeks.
Most reported stable sales levels - but some have experienced a slight dip.
There is a natural drop-off in house sale interest over the school summer holidays but estate agents would normally expect to see a solid build-up of business at this time of year.
Those experiencing a slight fall, say fewer ‘for sale’ boards are going up compared to this time last year. But, they say, there are no obvious reasons.
The changes faced by buy-to-let investors in tax regulation and a potential rise in the Bank of England base rate may be bolstering the rental sector - with a strong demand combined with a fall in property supply.
As a result, rent levels are still on an upward trend.
Conversely, this may be having some impact on house sales, as buy-to-let investors cool their interest. However, this is less likely to deter ‘professional’ landlords.
Estate agents in the area say there is no fluctuation in the level of house prices following two good months of business.
Some even report a slow increase in asking prices in traditionally popular areas but have noted that prospective buyers are starting to submit lower offers.
As a result, they say, sellers may have to adjust their expectations on price or be prepared to negotiate.
Interestingly, one estate agent said it has seen some first-time buyers skipping up the housing ladder by opting to buy a more expensive property rather than the usual ‘starter’ home.
This may be due to the region’s first time buyers taking advantage of the current low interest rates coupled with the fact that those looking to buy their first home are often waiting longer and saving up larger deposits.
According to figures from Rightmove, most house sales in Darlington over the past year involved semi-detached properties, fetching on average £144,973. Terraced properties sold for an average of £99.973 and detached homes, £239,046.
The overall average house price of £146,702 in Darlington, was more expensive than Newton Aycliffe (£125,238) but cheaper than Hurworth (£231,552) and Middleton St George (£190,073).
Over the past 12 months in Stockton, semi-detached homes sold for an average £131,620, terraced properties for £93,082 and detached £210,082. Stockton recorded an overall average price of £134,934, similar to Norton (£133,422) but cheaper than Fairfield (£149,522) and Hartburn (£170,936).
Please note: This article is intended as guidance only. 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.