Yorkshire Property News - April 2019 - 12/04/19

Not to depress everyone any more than necessary and just to re-iterate the obvious, Brexit continues to dominate everyday life including buying and selling a house.    The latest ‘RICS UK Residential Market Survey’ shows new buyer enquiries and sales falling last month with 39% of Yorkshire and Humber agents seeing a fall in buyer enquiries.   In addition new homes coming to the market are also low resulting in low stock levels on estate agents books, with an average of 34 properties per branch in our region.  

Our new stock levels, whilst lower than we would like, are still healthy with 316 houses for sale across our four branches and we still feel it is a great time to sell, particularly for houses up to £250,000 where demand is generally strong and stock levels low.  The latest RICS report also suggested that out of the 300 chartered surveyors questioned in its monthly report, many reckoned that property prices will improve over the next 12 months.  Incidentally the average house price in our region is now £157.436 up 3.7% since December, according to ‘Nationwide’. Interestingly, demand from tenants rose last month with 24% of agents reporting a rise and 39% of local agents expected rents to grow over the next three months, meaning it’s good news for landlord and investors.

The demand for new build homes continues with numerous new developments offering properties across our area.  The ‘Help to Buy’ incentive is driving this demand which is open to all buyers and effectively allows them to purchase a house with a 75% mortgage but only a 5% deposit as the government lends up to 20% through an equity loan.   The equity loan can be repaid at any time or on the sale of the house and whilst there are no loan fees for five years, it must begin to be repaid after this period.  This certainly looks attractive and allows first time buyers particularly to get onto the housing ladder, which is good news when ‘Countrywide’ suggest it takes single first time buyers an extraordinary 10 years and 3 months to save a 15% deposit!   This is actually six months less than two year ago believe it or not.  

However, a new report by ‘Reallymoving’ claims that first time buyers using ‘Help to Buy’ were paying an average of 12% more in February 2019 than those buying new homes without the scheme. The report suggests that the scheme maybe encouraging developers to charge higher prices for such homes as funding is so readily available allowing buyers to pay over the odds.  It certainly raises a number of points for first time buyers to think about when buying new homes and we urge them to consider how long they intend to hold the house and whether they can afford the loan repayments on top of their mortgage when the 5 year interest free period comes to an end.

We have a number of new build sites for sale across our four branches and some are offering ‘Help to Buy’ or other incentives so it’s worth asking our advice on these options.  There are still four houses remaining at Willow Green, Cleckheaton where 3 and 4 bedroom homes are offered from £150,000 but with six houses already sold, we’d advise buyers to move quickly.  There are still executive style, luxury detached bungalows for sale at the exclusive site at Station Lane, Birkenshaw from £440,000 and incentives are available for potential buyers.  A select, smaller development at Newstead View, Eccleshill being sold by our team at Highfield Road offering quality, 4 bedroom homes from £180,000, is also worth looking at.  We will also be offering a number of other, smaller schemes in Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike very soon, so please watch this space.  

We are also delighted to announce that it is our 40 year anniversary this year and we are planning a number of promotions in summer to celebrate, so keep an eye on our social media platforms for these in the next month or so.