The housing market remains busy. Compared to the last ‘normal’ market of 2019, buyer enquiries are up 31% and mortgage approvals and sales are up by 12% and 11% respectively. However, there are half as many properties available to buy and stock levels are down 55% (Rightmove, HMRC, Bank of England). The prolonged mismatch between demand and supply continues to support prices. On average, properties are selling subject to contract in just 31 days, the quickest time ever recorded. With competition for properties remaining high, Rightmove report that asking prices have hit their fourth consecutive record high in as many months.
Over 433,000 homes in the UK changed hands in the first four months of 2022, making this the third busiest start to a year since 2007. Last year was an exceptional year due to Covid-19 and 2016 saw a surge prior to the introduction of the 3% additional homes surcharge. Except for last year, April 2022 has been the busiest since 2007 (Dataloft, HMRC). More than one in every 25 properties has changed hands across the North West and North Wales in the past year. Cheshire East, Wyre and Carlisle are currently the most active housing markets in the region.
A perfect storm
Economic headwinds are gaining momentum. Expectations of global and UK economic growth have been pared back, while consumer confidence has plummeted to its lowest level since records began in 1974. Optimism is weaker than during the global financial crisis, Brexit or Covid-19 (GfK). The Covid recovery, war in Ukraine and rising energy and food prices, alongside a strong labour market and low unemployment, have created a perfect storm. Inflation is pushing a 40-year high. Thanks to fixed-rate mortgages, many households are cushioned from the impact of the latest base rate rise, but day-to-day budgets are increasingly feeling the squeeze.
Double-digit property price growth remains evident in many localities in the North West and North Wales. Annual price growth in Wales is currently stronger than it was a year ago, while price growth in the North West has moderated slightly (ONS, UK HPI). Across the region there is less than two months of available stock left to sell, down by almost half on the historical norm.
Slow gear change
For many, the question is when, not if, the property market will start to moderate. However, any gear change is liable to be slow and steady, and not an emergency brake as was the case in the global financial crisis of 2008. Forecasters still anticipate positive price growth over the course of the year. Market fundamentals remain strong. A strong desire to move remains in the minds of many and there is a shortage of properties, compounded by data indicating that new home completions remain below pre-Covid levels and short of the government’s 300,000 homes target.
Properties for sale in the North West and North Wales
Workington, Cumbria, 3 bedrooms
This charming Grade II listed terraced cottage is located in beautiful Portland Square, situated at the heart of the Workington conservation area and within easy reach of the beautiful Curwen Hall Park, making it ideal for dog walkers, nature lovers or even those who fancy laying down a blanket in the sun and reading a book! The cobbled and tree lined square provides parking for residents which is an unexpected treat and the accommodation includes a living room, inner hall, spacious kitchen/dining room (white goods available), two bedrooms, plus a bathroom to the first floor and a large bedroom and useful store room to the top floor.
This superb family home on the 'Cronton View' development in the North of Widnes is in immaculate condition throughout. The property offers generously proportioned, family sized accommodation over two floors, and is within catchment to excellent local schools and has easy reach to motorway access.
The views from this property a truly breathtaking. Sitting in the living room or on the balcony on the second floor you can soak up 180 degree views across the Conwy Estuary towards the Castle and the Marina. In the summer months you can sit out on the balcony and take in the views, or if its too chilly to sit outside you can cuddle up inside, even in the comfort of your own bed - with the master bedroom boasting views out the window from the first floor.
As property prices and demand continue to rise, sell your property with experts in the property industry this spring. Contact your local Guild Member today.