CPS PROPERTY GROUP
Art O’Hagan, Managing Director
A central question is whether a rebound in construction implicit in the Government’s Housing for All strategy, which promises 12,000 homes a year out to 2030, will bring about a change in Northern Ireland’s increasingly fraught housing dynamic.
Demand for housing has strained a dwindling supply of available homes, pushing up prices and rents. Property portals website Propertypal and Propertynews said there were just 206 homes to rent on its website as of November 1st last, the lowest number since its quarterly series began in 2006. This included just 81 in Belfast.
Stormont is also warning that a significant public spend on housing over the next few years could run up against capacity constraints, primarily related to a labour shortage, which may fuel further inflationary pressure in the sector plus cost and supply of material.
Supply and price
There are two fundamental forces fuelling the crisis here: supply and price. One is too low, the other too high. The Government and industry are banking on the old supply-and-demand laws resolving the pricing issue but there is little evidence the housing market conforms to these laws. It’s almost certain an increase in supply and a waning of the Covid-driven demand for housing will moderate the current levels of price and rent growth in the coming months, but the affordability gap at the heart of the equation is unlikely to change much, suggesting housing is likely to remain one of the chief economic and political flashpoints of 2022 upholding the status quo of rental and sale prices as seen throughout 2021 and anticipated through Q1 and Q2 2022. Presently, the market is very buoyant with both high demand from buyers and a fairly strong supply of new instructions. We at CPS feel this will continue as the housing shortage in Northern Ireland is not being addressed, new builds and properly priced second-hand house sales has had limited appreciation year on year, the rental market is also steady with demand outstripping supply. Some high-street lenders are now funding up to 90% loan to value as opposed to 85% one month ago.
Pictured property: Downton Hall, Armagh – £1,000,000
SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
WEBBERS ESTATE AGENTS
Malcolm E Prescott, Managing Director
The past 12 months have been a heady mixture of highs and lows, with so many of us touched in one way or another by the Covid pandemic now moving into a third year – who would have thought that, back in early 2020?
I have been extremely proud in the way that property professionals have dealt with these challenging conditions, managing and adapting to keep the market moving (and has it moved!) whilst still keeping all involved safe! As we at Webbers review the past 12 months, it is clear that the South West has lost none of its appeal to buyers moving from out of the area, but it is right to add here that across all sectors we have seen an increase in local buyers moving. Many have taken “once in a lifetime” decisions to make a change in seeking an even better way of living – more space, bigger gardens, closer to the open countryside or sea and yes space to work from home, which many are still doing.
The result of the above together with very low interest rates and short supply have seen another strong year in terms of price growth. On average UK house prices have soared by almost £24,000, with the average house price now at circa £255,000 according to the Nationwide – that’s the strongest annual growth in 15 years! So, the market ended on a high, with annual transaction levels considerably up on pre-Covid levels. Many home-sellers and buyers will no doubt be asking “how will the property market react in 2022”?
Although the Bank has raised interest rates, they are still remarkably low and buyers can still source cheap two- and five-year fixed rate deals and importantly our 14 offices still report that buyer and seller sentiment is still very positive. Clearly there have been concerns surrounding the Omicron variant spreading so rapidly, however the early reports appear to show that this variant has more mild symptoms – but we remain vigilant of course! We will all keep an eye on inflation, but with continued short supply of fresh stock there is every expectation that house prices will continue to steadily rise in 2022 to a more modest level of between three and five per cent.
Pictured property: Fort Bovisand Development, Devon – six properties launched from £1.25 million
VG ESTATE AGENT LTD
Virginia Galloway, Director
We sell and rent a wide range of property in the beautiful Ryburn Valley, which is situated between Huddersfield and Halifax, West Yorkshire. This year is the 20th anniversary of the opening of our office in the centre of the village of Ripponden and our core business is thriving in this sought-after location.
Excellent road and rail services mean that families can enjoy the delights of our hills and valleys yet reach the M62 in a few minutes and have a choice of railway stations servicing the metropolis of West Yorkshire, Lancashire and beyond. Filming of such successful series as Gentleman Jack, Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax, to name but a few, have propelled this lovely area to a wider audience and along with the pandemic offering people a more flexible approach to living and working life, requests to purchase property in our area increased tenfold.
As a local agent in 2021 we sold our first house in excess of a million pounds, which has now been repeated several times. Every type of home has had multiple potential buyers: two-bedroom terraced cottages, family four-bedroom homes, life-style property with outside space or farmhouses and period homes.
Jewel in the crown property
A jewel in the crown from last year was the sale of the quintessential Victorian Vicarage – it was handbags at dawn, but of course professionally and sensitively managed by our experienced sales team! We also found the vendors the perfect down-size home.
The average time for a property to sell is seven days, with an average price of £275,000. A four-bedroom detached modern estate house will achieve around £450,00 a three-bedroom cottage with garden £395,000, and a terraced two-bedroom house £185,000. The average time for a property to let is seven hours! And a three-bedroom home will command a rent of £850 pcm. Demand in the rental market totally outstrips the supply. Many landlords are taking advantage of the excellent sales market and selling to cash in on the high prices achieved leaving a drought in the supply.
Pictured property: The Old Vicarage, Mill Bank, Calderdale – sold for £810,000