CONFIDENCE in the housing market is at its highest level for some considerable time.
The figures speak for themselves — every sector of the market is showing a significant increase in activity.
Statistics in the national press show a positive trend in the housing market. Whilst the overall positive message is also true of local markets, many of the statistics will be generated from UK wide or NI wide data and the detail is often misaligned with local data. Hannath Estate Agents have analysed their own results over the past 24 months which indicate a level of confidence not experienced here for some considerable time.
Just look at the figures — across their Portadown and Lurgan offices the volume of sales transactions are up by a staggering 78 per cent in the past year. In September 2013 they reported an increase of 20 per cent on the previous year, the figures indicating just how much the momentum and confidence has grown.
Sub £75k market I + Activity: +25% Values: +15%
Looking at the sub 375k market where activity is up 25 per cent, and values are up by about 15 per cent. Some first-time buyers are active in this sector but demand is mainly Investor driven. The opportunities for Buy to Let property investment have been excellent and investors have been returning to the market to take advantage of the chance to buy solid investments with decent rental returns.
The significant volume of corporate sales Hannath Estate Agents experienced last year has started to slow. Demand currently outweighs supply and as a result this sector has shown the best performance in terms of price growth.
£75k-£125k + Activity: +127% Values: +10%
Activity in the £75—£125k sector shows a massive 127 per cent jump with values up by 10 per cent. This sector is driven mainly by first time buyers and some second time buyers and this data illustrates best the impact of confidence in a market.
For many years buyers in this sector were priced out of the market until the affordability position changed about 2-3 years ago when prices had reduced significantly.
Affordability was ok but confidence still wavered and potential buyers remained nervous about further fluctuations in the market and many were reluctant to take the final step to buying so it ended up there was a large group of potential buyers who were largely in-active. Now that the market has recovered this group have quickly returned to the market and are currently very active and acting with some urgency as buyers try to secure properties before they once again rise in value.
The market has been boosted by the availability of stock and the re-opening of development sites, meaning that there is now more good quality housing available in the £75k—£125k range.
Hannath Estate Agents are currently acting on 24 new development sites in the local area and can offer a wide range of new homes. Another significant change which underlines confidence in the past year is a return to booking “off plan” with many early phases of new development housing booked before they are even built.
£125k-£200k o Activity: +83% Values: +5%
In the £125k-£200k sector most of the activity is from second and third time buyers, although there is some interest from first time buyers. Again, this sector has been driven by the new-found confidence in the market, the activity in the lower sectors allowing the second and third time buyers to sell their properties and move up the chain.
£200k plus op Activity: +30% Values: Remains Same
The upper end of the market is always the last to feel the benefits of a recovery. Our statistics for this report are based purely on completions but we have noted a very considerable change in viewing activity and offers in this sector over the past few months and with 5 properties agreed in recent weeks we believe our next report will show higher activity levels and perhaps some price growth.
There is a shortage of good quality and appropriately priced stock in this sector which brings an important point whenever we talk about housing.
Houses are now attracting interest within days of listing and are often selling within a matter of weeks — provided they are priced appropriately. Given the high volume of sales and market evidence that this creates it is now much easier to provide accurate advice on the value of a property and its achievable price — but we cannot stress enough the importance of taking professional advice. And getting the asking price right!