Prices up, prices down, prices stable… the newspapers are full of good news, bad news and indifferent news about the Brit’s favourite subject after the weather… the property market.
The thing is, the UK does not have one housing market. Instead, it is a patchwork of mini property markets all performing in a different way. At one end of scale is London, which has seen average prices grow in the last twelve months by a shade under 19% (and again that is an average because some Borough’s in London have risen by 26%) whilst in the land of daffodils, by contrast, Wales, only saw a 2% increase in property values, although in the Merthyr Valleys they dropped by over 11%!
Well, we can’t ignore the rest of the UK, and we can’t forget that the Chancellor’s Stamp Duty reforms have polarised the London property markets above £1,000,000 because at the top end of the market, punitive Stamp Duty charges will dampen demand further. Whilst the Bank of England warned of the growing London property price bubble in the Spring of 2014, even talk of a recovery in some areas was premature. In 2015, irrespective of where you are in the UK, one story will unite the patchwork quilt of markets – really slow property value growth.
So, what about our own patch in this patchwork market, Chelmsford? Well, we haven’t had the December figures from the Land Registry yet but the last few months’ activity and prices achieved would suggest neither house price growth nor drops. In fact, most sellers are buyers anyway, so if you need to take less for yours, you won’t have to pay as much for the one you want to buy … and that is good news for everyone as most move up market when they move. This is also great news for landlord investors, as they can bag a bargain as well!
The question you should be asking though is not only is what happening to property prices, but which price band exactly is selling? I like to keep an eye on the property market in Chelmsford on a daily basis because it enables me to give the best advice and opinion on what (or not) to buy in Chelmsford.
Over the last two months in the Chelmsford CM1 postcode, 11 properties with asking prices under £100k have come onto the market and 27% of them, (3 properties) have a buyer and sold stc.
Between £100k and £150k, of the 100 properties that come on to the market, 59% of them (59 properties) have a buyer.
The £150k to £200k price range has seen 238 properties come on to the market, and 32% of these have a buyer (78 properties).
The more expensive £200k to £300k range has seen 180 of the 668 properties that came on to the market find buyers (26%) but the £300k+ range has been slower, with only 19% (129 properties of the 661) that have come on to the market, find buyers.
What this shows us is that the main activity is in the £100k – £150k price bracket, followed not so far away by properties between £150k – £200k.
The next three months’ activity will be crucial in understanding which way the market will go this year and I honestly believe we will not see any house price growth or drops this side of the election. Election or no election, people will always need a roof over their head and that is why the property market has rode the storms of oil crisis in the 1970’s, the 1980’s depression, Black Monday in the 1990’s, and latterly, the Credit Crunch together with the various house price crashes of 1973, 1987 and 2008.
And why? Because Britain’s chronic lack of housing will prop up house prices and prevent a post spike crash…. there is always a silver lining when it comes to the property market!