LONDON might be grabbing the headlines as house prices continue to soar in the South East, but new figures suggest that Yorkshire is doing better than expected.
The latest survey from estate agency William H. Brown reveals that property prices in the region have risen eight per cent over the past 12 months.
This puts them at odds with the latest Land Registry report for June, which shows an annual rise of 3.4 per cent, but the William H. Brown statistics indicate a number of positive trends in the region.
They show that York outperformed the rest of the county, with values rocketing by 12 per cent, bringing the average house price on the firm’s books to £167,745.
Harrogate’s property values showed a rise of five per cent, which means the average William H. house price in the spa town is now £245,757 – 16 per cent higher than the county average. The survey also showed that sales at the company’s Yorkshire branches increased by 13 per cent over the past 12 months, outperforming the national average of 10 per cent.
Jo Whincup, area director at William H. Brown, says average house prices are the highest they have been in three years, which she believes ought to give homeowners across the county cause for optimism.
“This translates into a £10,468 annual increase in equity and is the result of the competition in the market. Five buyers are registering for every new property instruction and sales remain strong.”
She says the popularity of York is due to its historic city centre, transport links, including a fast train to London, and its economy. Property prices in York have reached a three-year high, which has been boosted by the fact that big businesses, like Hiscox, have relocated in and around the city.
The city’s allure also stretches far beyond the county’s boundaries. “We’re also seeing people relocating from other parts of the UK in search of a better quality of life,” she says.
Huddersfield is also proving popular with buyers on both sides of the Pennines, thanks to easy access to the M62, and has seen a healthy rise in new property coming on to the market, up by 13 per cent. “Its location and infrastructure makes the area popular and house prices here are more affordable than some other parts of Yorkshire. It’s ideal for first-time buyers,” says Whincup.
The market slowed in June with Yorkshire property sales down four per cent, matching the national trend. However, they are still up by 13 per cent so far year-on-year. “The monthly decrease is a seasonal dip. It follows a busy spring period and the annual growth highlights the strength of the market.”
The number of mortgage applications rose by 13 per cent in June and William H. Brown says this shows that the market across the UK has regained some of the buoyancy it lost after stricter lending conditions were introduced back in April.
“Despite the Bank of England sounding a note of caution about future interest rate rises, mortgage applications from first-time buyers rose by 12 per cent,” says Whincup.
“There is a positive sentiment in the market as the Government continues to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder via the Help-to-Buy schemes. This swift recovery suggests that there is still a strong aspiration to buy across the UK.”
According to Halifax, the average home now costs £186,322 - which is £17,261 more expensive than a year ago. These national figures are skewed by big gains in London and the South East, while Yorkshire price rises are moderate in comparison. But with viewings across the county rising by 11 per cent over the past year and the number of offers up by eight per cent, the signs are encouraging.