Yorkshire attracts more home buyers

Properties in South Yorkshire
Properties in South Yorkshire

Yorkshire continues to buck the trend of a stagnant or disinterested property market in many other parts of the country, with a continuing rise in house prices and strong buyer demand.

Despite the housing market remaining downbeat in southern areas of the country, house prices in Yorkshire and Humber are holding up and demand from potential buyers is rising, according to the August RICS Residential Market survey.

A north/south divide became more pronounced as house prices fell or remained flat in places such as London, the South East and East of England last month.

But 22 per cent of survey respondents in Yorkshire and the Humber reported a further rise in house prices during August.

Even though the level of new property instructions in Yorkshire and the Humber continued to dwindle last month, the demand from potential buyers increased, with 20 per cent of agents seeing a rise in buyer enquiries, up from 10 per cent in July.

Demand from would-be buyers fell or remained flat in most other parts of the country last month, including the Midlands, Wales, the South and the North East and West. 

This shows a slightly more cautious approach from property purchasers and, said RICS, is not entirely surprising in the wake of the Bank of England’s decision to increase interest rates in August.

This, set alongside the broader political and economic uncertainty that prevails is taking a toll.

Looking ahead, more than half of Yorkshire and Humber’s agents expect to see prices rise further over the coming 12-months. This is still largely due to the current lack of available housing stock.

The survey has previously reported an ongoing lack of supply in the housing market as one of the main impediments to activity, and the latest results continue to show that the average inventory of unsold stock on estate agents’ books is still close to historic lows. 

Yorkshire based Alex McNeil MRICS said: “The market has continued to be robust through the summer months with values stable and currently sustainable levels of owner/occupier demand,although there does continue to be a shortage of new housing stock.”

Turning to the lettings market, the latest numbers (which form a part of non-seasonally adjusted series) point to a fall in tenant demand, and a lack of fresh rental stock in Yorkshire and Humber .

This is a trend that has been emerging on the back of tax changes on Buy-to-Let properties. 

A shortage of rental stock is expected to push rents higher in some areas.

Some 14 per cent of respondents are expecting to see property rents continue to rise over the coming months.

Rents are expected to rise at a faster rate than house prices in the medium term, with average rental growth projections standing at around three per cent per annum over the next five years, while prices are projected to rise by around two per cent on the same basis.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said about the report’s findings: “The latest RICS study results highlight that in many parts of the country the housing market actually remains quite firm.

“While a combination of a lack of stock and some level of uncertainty, both relating to the interest rate outlook, and Brexit, has had an impact on activity in Yorkshire’s housing market, the overall picture is still encouraging. 

“London and the South East is, as has been widely recognised, rather more challenging, but it is important that this is not seen as being indicative of the wider market.”