It is almost ten months to the day that my market report under the heading “In or out, our obsession with property will remain the same” appeared on this page following the Brexit referendum. The prophets of doom at the time have proved to be wrong as the housing market in Yorkshire has enjoyed sustained growth in the meantime, underpinned by continued low interest rates, the demand for new homes, ongoing confidence in the economy and, perhaps at its most simple, the wish of many to live in Yorkshire.
Taking these in reverse order, this weekend sees yet another international promotion of our region with the Tour de Yorkshire travelling from the East Coast to The Dales and then across the commercial and industrial heartland of West Yorkshire. And the relevance to property you might ask? Well since the start of 2017, my own office has seen a steady 14 per cent increase month-on-month in the number of new purchasers looking to buy in the greater Harrogate area. Given that this high profile spa town is one of the jewels in the Yorkshire crown, you might not be surprised. However, what is equally compelling is that across the 20 office Dacres estate agency network, there has been a sustained 20 per cent increase during the same period, perhaps endorsing why Yorkshire as a whole is proving ever popular with house buyers irrespective of whether they are seeking large or small, town or country.
As regards the economy, there are others considerably more experienced than I who can comment on the likes of RPI, CPI, data analysis and the prospect for interest rates. However, I take a very simplistic stance that I suspect may be followed by many. Post Brexit the economy has not come to an end, house prices have not plunged in Yorkshire as the then Chancellor of the Exchequer predicted. In fact statistics suggest it has proved to be the opposite in Yorkshire over the last six to nine months.
This recent house price growth has been driven by low supply particularly of the existing housing stock hence the increased necessity for new homes to be built of all shapes and sizes. And what of the “elephant in the room” that I have avoided mentioning thus far? A General Election is usually known about months and indeed years in advance. A pre-election period has often proved to be a period of uncertainty to the housing market with “wait and see” being the watchword for both buyers and sellers alike. But I believe 2017 will be different and indeed there is already evidence to support my view before you perhaps cynically think my opinion is driven by self-interest.
Since the election announcement, at our Harrogate office we have already taken two properties to best offers due to the level of interest shown. We have seen a marked increase in instructions to sell post Easter, with no evidence as yet from buyers on our mailing list to suggest that any have abandoned their search because of the election announcement. Many potential buyers seem to have welcomed the fact that in only six weeks’ time it will all be over. Indeed the election might prove to be what one enthusiastic buyer said to me yesterday would be a “short, sharp distraction” as he was keen to know about the new instructions we have in the pipeline. What is certain is that
our fascination for residential property will continue just as it has since the EU referendum in 2016 and since the last general election in 2015. In fact, as it has done over many years, and indeed decades.
*Tim Waring Fis a director of Dacre, Son and Hartley and leads their prime property team in Harrogate, tel: 01423 877200.