Estate agents, surveyors, conveyancers, mortgage advisers and others who work in the residential property industry are on their knees after a manic year. The pressure has been intense and the hours long but there could be a short period of respite before home buying and selling starts in earnest again.
Patrck McCutcheon, Head of Residential at Dacre, Son and Hartley estate agents believes that the easing of Covid restrictions will create a short lull. “It is inevitable that homeowners will take the opportunity to have some fun and take a summer break and that will distract them from buying and selling, at least until the end of August,” says Patrick, who adds that underlying demand for moving will manifest itself again in Autumn.
As for values, he says: “Price growth has taken place during the pandemic and that shows the level of confidence in the housing market. “We expect modest price growth throughout autumn due to what will still be a relative shortage of supply of homes for sale.”
Simon Blyth of Simon Blyth estate agents agrees and says: “I think the pandemonium will ease a bit over the summer but we will stay busy because people have realised the importance of having a lovely home and garden. Interest in moving is still there so we will see house prices increase but at a steadier rate. “Having said that, who knows? They may grow faster than expected as the economy in Yorkshire is bouncing back. It’s busy and employment rates are high.”
The supply and demand imbalance has pushed property values up but the benefit, says Simon, is that buyers have discovered new areas. “It has made people expand their search area and be more adventurous so many are now looking at different kinds of opportunities. We have a former bank in Tadcaster for sale at best and final offers over £350,000, with the upper floors already converted to apartments, and we have had a lot of interest in that and not just from seasoned developers.”
He also expects a lot of interest in the Fox & Hounds pub at Dalehouse Bank, Staithes, advertised in this weekend’s Property Post. The beautiful Grade II listed hostelry with owners accommodation is also available by best and final offers over £350,000 and is a live-work opportunity on the Yorkshire coast. It also offers potential to convert, subject to planning permission.
While respite in the mainstream market is likely for the rest of summer, the demand for super-prime houses over £2m in Yorkshire looks set to remain stratospheric, according to Blenkin and Co. Edward Hartshorne, managing director of Blenkin & Co., says: “The market for these properties has become almost completely off market and it is becoming clear that deals over £2m never need to make it to the internet.
“Cash-rich buyers from London and overseas are continuing to make themselves known to us and deals are being done by experienced brokerage agents. We are helping a number of returning Hong Kong expats to find smart city and country houses close to excellent schooling.”
He adds that in hotspots in and around York, North York Moors and the Yorkshire coast, demand at the upper end of the market is completely outstripping supply. This is being compounded by the migration north from London and Birmingham.
“We have seen price rises of up to 40 per cent at the upper end of the m arket with increasing numbers of buyers moving to East Yorkshire from their traditional hunting grounds in the search of more affordable prices. It is almost impossible to see when this trend will end given that available stock is down by almost 90% since the beginning of the year,” says Edward.
Letting agents Linley & Simpson, which has 23 branches in Yorkshire and The Humber, report that the demand for rental properties is at an all-time high. Chief Executive Officer Nick Simpson believes Yorkshire is becoming a region of renters at an ever-increasing pace. He says that more than one in fiveYorkshire people are now living in rented property. Just a decade or so ago, it was one in seven.
Covid has accelerated momentum and private rental prices in the UK increased by 10.3% between January 2015 and April 2021 - a rate of return that many Yorkshire hotspots, such as North Leeds, Ilkley, York and Harrogate, are outperforming.
“In ever-increasing numbers, our tenants are viewing renting as a lifestyle choice rather than a stepping stone into home ownership,” says Nick.
“This is borne out by the fact that over a third of our tenants are following the continental trend and have been in their properties for five years or more. The UK has the fifth highest percentage of tenant occupiers of all EU nations.”
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