Yorkshire property market experts reveal their predictions for 2017

Will property prices pass "Go" or stagnate in 2017?
Will property prices pass "Go" or stagnate in 2017?
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What will happen to the Yorkshire property market in 2017? We asked 12 experts for their predictions, points of view and possible hotspots. Sharon Dale reports.

Andrew Beadnall founder of Beadnall Copley estate agency, “Most forecasters seem to agree that house prices are, at best, set to rise by two per cent in 2017. This positive outlook is one I would plump for as the worryingly low supply of new instructions coming to the market should help sustain house price growth in the new year, albeit it at a low level.

“There is no doubt that 2017 will be a year of uncertainty for a number of reasons, primarily due to Article 50 being invoked but also, increasingly, stretched buyer affordability. The average property usually costs around four times average income but has now increased to 6.5 times income. However, while mortgage rates remain at historic low levels, house purchase remains sustainable.

With buyers’ budgets becoming increasingly restricted due to expected low wage increases and an anticipated rise in inflation, we will see over-priced properties attracting little interest and those selling should remain realistic. Of all my 44 January’s as an estate agent I feel this will be the most crucial. If you are selling in 2017 my strong advice is to launch your property for sale immediately to ensure you have a good

few months of marketing under your belt before the challenges of Brexit unfold.”

*Mark Manning, director, Manning Stainton estate agency, “The last year may well be defined as a landmark year for the housing marketing and indeed the wider economy. Of course, Brexit and an imminent Trump presidency are stand-out events but the impact these have on our local housing market are still yet to be seen. Add into this the introduction of an additional stamp duty for extra homes, changes to tax relief on buy-to-let mortgage interest and a proposed ban on tenant fees and it’s certainly been a headline-grabbing twelve months.

“However, the market has remained defiant, offering strong growth in prices and a consistent volume of transactions. Across the markets we cover, which include Leeds, Wakefield, Wetherby and Harrogate, we have seen our average sale price increase by 9.4 per cent over the last year with a shortage of supply ensuring prices remain resolute. This shortage of supply combined with attractive mortgage rates that will continue to define the market into next year. Some commentators are predicting a rough ride, a market likely to fall but, until the supply and demand imbalance is addressed, price growth will remain a key feature particularly in the best areas with good schooling. The market next year may lack some of the furore of 2016 but we expect prices to increase four to five per cent.”

*Edward Hartshorne, of Blenkin and Co., estate agency, York, “Britain should finish 2016 as the fastest growing economy of seven leading nations, largely because of the thriving service sector of which estate agency is a part. The optimism for UK growth is undoubtedly rubbing off on the residential estate agency market, known for its sensitivity to reassurances from Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Bank of England. We had the most successful second half year in nearly ten years with good sales at all levels, country and city, from £300,000 to £3million. These very buoyant figures reflect the wider prosperity of the economy in York and North Yorkshire. Travel 45 miles south west of York and the picture is very different.

“So, like the polls, all figures and forecasts must be understood in this context. Based on our own calculations, and taking into account local economic indicators and the wider turbulent political landscape, we would predict a busy start to 2017 fuelled by a modest but significant surplus of buyers to property considered both desirable and fairly priced. Further ahead we fear to tread – the only sensible advice would be to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ and right now in York it does.”

*Patrick McCutcheon, Head of Residential Sales at Dacre, Son & Hartley, “We have had a strong finish to 2016 in Yorkshire, a conclusion which has confounded the doom-mongers who surfaced the morning after the Brexit result, and which combines with a strong spring to neatly bracket a more subdued summer period.

“Available property stock is around 80 per cent of the January 2014 figure, yet buyer demand remains consistently strong, especially in the core family housing sector. This imbalance in the supply side is likely to ensure prices remain robust in the new year and strong in the face of the negativity we are likely to experience once Article 50 is served.”

*Jonathan Morgan, managing director of Morgans, Leeds, “We are expecting big things in the city centre market next year. After a number of quiet years, during which demand has remained very high whilst new supply has plummeted, we are finally going to see some new developments taking off. Since the downturn of 2007, the impact of which was felt for five or six years, we have become accustomed to living off scraps of new activity but that is about to change.

“A wave of small new developments will add interest and vitality to the market. It is essential that the incessant stream of inward relocators, drawn to Leeds by opportunity and prospects, are able to secure good quality rental accommodation close to where they work.

“It is inevitable that there will be further growth in both sales and rentals values in Leeds city centre next year, as we continue to catch up with our peer cities such as York, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham and as we get more and more comfortable with the fact that Leeds is fast becoming a city of great meaning and significance.

“We are looking forward to working on a number of very exciting new developments including Victoria House, Iron Works, Kirkstall Forge, Tower Works and 53 The Calls, which will provide the next tranche of much-needed housing and have very high hopes for Headingley which is showing strong signs of a return to its glorious past when it was the suburb of choice for aspirational house-holders.”

*Justin Dugdale, Yorkshire’s Finest estate agency, Denby Dale, “The Yorkshire property market in 2016 has been somewhat unconventional. The

traditional seasonal peaks and troughs were not as evident and we had Brexit to deal with.

“Initially, the outcome of the referendum seemed to give a boost to the market with July, August and September seeing exceptional sales activity. The last quarter of 2016 has not been as vibrant. I anticipate further price rises throughout next year with a likely minimum of five per cent and a maximum of 10 per cent which, with inflation being as low as it is, represents healthy growth in the value of bricks and mortar. A particular hot spot where I envisage prices rising nearer the 10 per cent mark is within the golden triangle of villages between Holmfirth, Wakefield and Barnsley with stunning rural idylls like Cawthorne, Holmfirth, Shepley, Upper Denby, Wooley, Thurstonland and Farnley Tyas.”

*Ben Pridden, head of residential at Savills York, “This has been a record year for Savills York. There is no doubt that the residential property market slowed down slightly during the period running up to the referendum, however things have certainly picked up since.

“Forecasting in the aftermath of the Brexit vote is difficult but our researchers believe that its impact on the property market is considerably less than that of the credit crunch. We expect prime urban markets such as York to continue outperforming their neighbouring villages and rural areas as the trend for urban living remains popular. However, villages and rural areas now represent good value in comparison to larger towns and this will make them a very attractive prospect to some buyers. We have already seen a significant increase in activity this year in villages to the north of York.

“In York city, we have seen an increase of 3.7 per cent in prime property values in 2016 alongside a 2.1 per cent increase in surrounding villages. I believe that prime values across the north of England will grow by an average of 14 per cent over the five years to 2021.”

*Tony Wright, Head of Residential, Carter Jonas Harrogate

“Despite Brexit and Trump, we have seen the market place perform pretty much to our expectations in 2016. Hotspots being York, Harrogate and North Leeds. In addition, our New Homes division has enjoyed significant success with newly-built/converted properties flying off the shelves. For 2017, the only certainty is that nothing is certain. The triggering of Article 50 is likely to cause some disruption. However, if our experience of Brexit is anything to go by, I see this as a short-term issue.

“The areas in which we operate remain particularly popular and with the lack of property coming to the market in the latter part of 2016, there is the prospect of strong pent-up demand in the new year which bodes well for those contemplating a sale. My advice for sellers is to go to the market early in 2017 and reap the benefit of what I predict will be an active market place in advance of the Brexit storm clouds gathering.”

*Glynis Frew, Managing Director Hunters Property Plc, “2016 has certainly been an eventful year. However. whatever is happening politically, life never stops moving and people still need to move for jobs, to upsize, downsize, to get married, divorced, start a family and so on. This year has seen price rises between three and five per cent and the market has been short of good houses. We welcome the government’s assurance to build new homes in 2017; more stock, if priced correctly, will undoubtedly stabilise markets.

“We foresee hotspots for Yorkshire next year to be driven around lifestyle with elements such as employment, road and rail networks, health facilities and schools being very important, as always. However, these days, good internet connection and phone reception are increasingly on a buyer’s checklist. I see people gravitating more towards towns and cities for this reason with places like Harrogate, York, Leeds and Sheffield remaining popular.”

*Martin Ellis, Halifax economist, “House prices in the region have risen at a pace slightly below the national average over the past two to three years as conditions have been more buoyant in London and the South East. The prospect of a slowdown in UK economic growth in 2017, accompanied by higher inflation, which will squeeze household finances, is likely to curb housing demand; factors that are also expected to dampen the market in Yorkshire.

“While house prices in Yorkshire have risen more rapidly than earnings in the last few years, the ratio of prices to earnings remains comfortably below its 2007 peak. In addition, the low level of mortgage rates means that monthly payments continue to take up a lower than average proportion of borrowers’ incomes. This should all support prices across the region. Overall, prices in Yorkshire are predicted to rise by a modest amount next year with the region likely to outperform the national average as southern England bears the brunt of the expected slowdown in price growth.”

*Nicola Spencer, Spencers estate agents, Sheffield, “This year has been busy despite the Brexit, the American elections and changes in stamp duty. As for 2017, it’s always been accepted that the market in south west Sheffield rarely follows downwards trends, thanks to fabulous schools, beautiful green spaces and some amazing restaurants and bars but, with talk of rising interest rates, it may be that we see some nervous uncertainty from movers,

“Levels of supply are currently incredibly low and if the high levels of demand are maintained within prime areas, as they have been throughout 2016, I can only see that sensibly-priced properties will continue to go to best and final offers and achieve above the asking price. If this is the case then we would hope to see a strong first half of the year.

“Property will continue to be a safe bet when it comes to investing money. Where else would you put your cash right now? Unfortunately, the changes in stamp duty for second homes this year have punished those wanting to invest in property for the long-term. Contrary to popular opinion, they aren’t all fat cat landlords with large portfolios, many are single property owners who want to invest in bricks and mortat for their children or instead of a pension fund.

“Throughout 2017 we hope to see a continuation in sales throughout all price brackets and pray for an increase in stock levels. As for prices, I think they be static next year if supply of homes for sale doesn’t increase. The strength in prices at the moment lies in the minimal amount of property on the market.”

*Richard Welpton, of Quick and CLarke estate agents, East Yorkshire, “I think everyone is well aware of the general shortage of supply of houses on the market and that issue extends to our area. It is most certainly causing prices to rise in the lower and the middle market, which is anything up to £400,000.

“The rate of increase in this sector is being further amplified by some estate agents providing higher, and in some cases unrealistically high, market valuations in a bid to win more instructions. Unfortunately, the market above the £400,000 mark is still tough with possibly too much choice for buyers and a high level of uncertainty, possibly caused by hype about the potential effects of Brexit.

“In terms of hotspots, Beverley remains a very strong market, particularly with first-time buyers, families and downsizers. I cannot see this market slowing down into 2017.

“The biggest news will be around the Hull market and the energy created around the City of Culture 2017. The excitement is really building and the amount of investment in the city has been astounding. Siemens is major partner in the City of Culture and most other local businesses are getting on board. I am certain this is going to have a positive effect on the Hull housing market. Hopefully, with the spotlight on the city, which has been much-maligned for years, I think that West Yorkshire and York buyers will consider looking further East to the West Hull and Yorkshire Wolds villages where they will find some real bargains. The market town of Driffield is also having a real renaissance and attracting more York commuters. Cheaper properties, good amenities, a local market town feel and proximity to the coast, are proving to be more attractive as the villages and towns closer to York, such as Pocklington and Stamford Bridge, become more expensive.

“In terms of our own business, there are too few properties and too many estate agents – 12 in Beverley alone. So 2017 will be a very testing market for our sector.”