March 2020 Market Comment
Building on the increase in January activity we reported last month, the local market has been just as frenetic during February with intense buyer activity continuing to play “catch-up” following years of mild depression.
According to the National Association of Estate Agents, there has been a 25% year-on-year rise in the number of active buyers, with sales volumes up 33% on last month, yet the supply of available housing has not risen to meet this demand, at just 3%. Essentially, “old stock” has eventually sold but is not being replaced fast enough by new sellers.
In terms of house prices, Nationwide says that house price growth hit an 18-month high in February with the average house price now standing at £216,092. The Land Registry reports this as being £234,742
Although the Land Registry handled 3% fewer sales registration in January (89,874), these stats can be deceiving, as there can be a lag of several months between a sale being agreed and it being registered following completion. Average prices can also be misleading as the most expensive reported residential sale was £23.5m in Barnet against an £18,000 property in Burnley!
There are, however, two curved balls that may yet prevent an all-out boom occurring; the terrible flooding in parts of the country and the threat of a Coronavirus pandemic moderating both transaction volumes and house prices. Although unfortunate for those affected, this would not be disastrous in a market where house prices are already regarded by some as overinflated. Of course, prices in flood hit areas may fall, with prices in neighbouring locations rising as buyers choose drier alternatives.
This is a vibrant and exciting market where opportunities abound for serious buyers, sellers, investors and landlords who are keen to strike while the iron’s hot. Why not call us on 01227 362248 to discuss how we could help you – you might be pleasantly surprised!