Regions fight back against slump in the market
It's not just London that is bucking the housing sales trend
Sunday 17 April 2011
Buyers and sellers alike are struggling in a stagnant market, with strict mortgage lending still proving a barrier and house prices dipping. But some parts of the UK seem more resilient. Homes in central London often buck the national trend, but new research reveals that other areas are weathering the storm too.
"There are many reasons why some postcodes feature a bustling property market," says Nigel Lewis, a property analyst at FindaProperty.com.
"This can include being underpriced compared with neighbouring areas, which is true in Chorley in Lancashire; attracting people escaping London for a quieter life, for example in Brighton; and economic success in the face of the recession, as with parts of Essex," he says.
Figures from Findaproperty.com covering areas all over the UK outside London highlight the top 50 postcodes with the highest number of sales from January 2010 to January 2011. There are a few surprises.
Brighton and Hove
The past year has been a relatively busy time for estate agents in Brighton and Hove, with postcodes in the area taking the top three slots in FindaProperty's list. There were 1,505 transactions in BN2 homes alone, compared with the average of 291 property sales per postcode in the UK as a whole.
Although the Brighton market was hit hard in the early part of the recession, the seaside resort has bounced back better than most. Land Registry figures show that average house prices in Brighton have dropped off since last July but stood at £220,550 this January, compared with £215,747 a year before.
Alex Mackay, the managing director of estate agents Mishon Mackay, attributes a busy market to a combination of pricing correctly to generate activity, and Brighton's ongoing popularity as a cosmopolitan town which is only an hour's train journey to London.
"Our figures show that 35 per cent of all our sales in quarter one were to London buyers, double what it was at the same time last year. And although I don't think this is necessarily a trend, we are focused on the London market," he says.
Staying with the South-east, ITV 2's The Only Way Is Essex hasn't done Chelmsford any harm: takes the 12th spot in the list with 1,120 transactions.
The big pull here is easy commuting access to London, but without the typical commuter town price tag. Average house prices in Chelmsford were at £190,976 in January 2011, according to the Land Registry.
"Essex in general is under-reported. The train goes straight into Liverpool Street so if you want, relatively speaking, more for your money and you work in the City, anywhere along the train line is a popular option," says Mr Lewis.
Perhaps the biggest surprise entry in FindaProperty's list is Leicester, with various postcodes featuring throughout the list, but its inhabitants may not be so shocked.
"We're a little bit forgotten here in Leicester but we've had a lot of infrastructure and regeneration change in the city which has helped the market," says Nick Owen, the managing director of Spencers estate agents.
The old, formerly run-down part of the city centre has had a makeover in the shape of the St George's cultural quarter and the new Highcross shopping centre. The buy-to-let market is particularly buoyant thanks to the university.
Average house prices were £116,377 at the beginning of this year, down from a high of £130,392 in January 2008, according to the Land Registry. LE2 areas such as Braunstone, Glenfield and Westcotes secured a healthy 1,135 sales over the year.
"If you take a big regeneration and smartening up of the city, the university element, a new shopping centre, and add in the fact that sellers are market savvy and being more realistic with prices, you will get this sort of spike," says Mr Owen.
Students and young professionals making the most of being only five miles south of Manchester city centre and 10 minutes' drive to Manchester international airport have kept the M20 village of Didsbury and neighbouring Withington afloat with 846 sales last year. In Greater Manchester, prices reached an average of only £109,960 in January 2011, although Zoopla estimates that in the M20 areas, prices are closer to £227,504. Buyers in Manchester have been reeled in by attractive deals on newly built developments around some of the business centres, many of which sprang up before the recession but have been vacant ever since. In Salford, anticipation of an influx of workers relocating to the BBC's new offices in the MediaCity complex, Salford Quays, may improve on the 783 sales it reached in 2010.
"Properties in these developments can now be snapped up for a proverbial song. However, buyers and investors interested in purchasing in these areas of increased activity need to be careful," says Nicholas Leeming of Zoopla.co.uk.
He warns that buyers shouldn't be pressured into making quick decisions and should be wary of the threat of gazumping, but says that careful investment should pay off.
"The good news for buyers is that increasing interest in an area is good for future prices, and if they invest wisely, there is a good chance their purchases will continue to appreciate in value."
In Lancashire, areas in the borough of Chorley including Adlington, Buckshaw Village, Coppull, Eccleston and Heskin had 1,051 transactions in the year from January 2010.
Prices across the county are relatively affordable, with homes selling for an average of £116,622 in January, but Buckshaw Village is worth particular mention. This has been built as a sustainable community complete with 2,000 homes aimed at families and first-time buyers, with a new primary school and a health centre.
"Buckshaw is an interesting one because it's a complete new-build village with a school, supermarket, play areas and shopping centres which were all built from scratch," says Jonathan Corless, a regional director at Bridgfords estate agents.
Funding is in place for a Buckshaw Village station too, which will secure direct rail links to Bolton, Preston and Manchester offering residents an affordable, semi-rural lifestyle but with great access to big cities.
"Pricing is extremely competitive in relation to Manchester; you pay 20 to 30 per cent more in Manchester for the same type of property," says Mr Corless.
Boasting two universities, Nottingham has always been an attractive place to buy. FindaProperty's figures show that towns in the NG9 area, including Beeston, Stapleford, Lenton Abbey and Chilwell, collectively have had 943 transactions, placing them in the top 20.
Many buyers are pulled in because of nearby headquarters for Boots and the bigger Nottingham university which is nestled in the west, near the largest hospital in the UK, Queen's Medical Centre.
"There has always been huge demand in those areas because of those three key employers – Boots, the Queen's Medical Centre and Nottingham University – as well as the students themselves," says Jonathan Simpson, the managing director of estate agents Frank Innes.
Average city of Nottingham prices dropped to £89,246 in January, according to the Land Registry. This has sparked the interest of keen investors. "Prices have hardened but are now more realistic and in those areas the buy-to-let market has seen a resurgence. You simply cannot get enough property to let in those areas," adds Mr Simpson.
Independent Partners: Get fee-free expert mortgage advice and find the right mortgage deal for you.
Simon Read: There may be trouble ahead for cohabiting couples who don’t make a will
Money Insider: Would £150 make you switch banks?
Why the City Watchdog is concerned with the credit card industry
Bargain Hunter: Find the deals that have real value beneath the Black Friday hype
Gold-plated pensions – the key to retirement freedom?
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manch...
£35000 - £450000 per annum + £3k car, £70k ote: h2 Recruit Ltd: Do you want to...
£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious financial institution seeks to...
£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Experienced operational risk professional with ban...
Day In a Page
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens