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 West Midlands and Mid Wales in the past year. Stratford-on-Avon, Lichfield and Warwick 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 West Midlands and Mid Wales. Annual price growth is currently stronger in both the West Midlands and Wales than it was a year ago (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 West Midlands and Mid Wales
Telford, Shropshire, 5 bedrooms
The Elms is a detached character cottage, lovingly retaining a wealth of original features throughout including high skirting boards, picture rails and beams. Entering the spacious entrance hall with stairs ascending to the first floor landing. Following the accommodation around from the left – the lounge enjoys a walk-in bay window overlooking the front and further window to the side; attractive fire surround housing a Coalbrookdale Darby wood burning stove. The garden room has French doors looking over the rear garden and stairs down to the cellar with brick shelving and long working surface.
Ystrad Meurig, Ceredigion, 8 bedrooms
Situated in a semi rural location, a detached significantly extended property with adaptable eight-bedroom accommodation with far reaching views, set in 0.5 acres. A rare opportunity, within a semi rural location, to acquire a detached, significantly extended, modern residence. The property, originally built in 1979, offers adaptable accommodation, with the ground floor providing wide access to rooms.
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, 3 bedrooms
This outstanding Grade II Listed, semi detached thatched cottage enjoys an enviable position, located in the desirable village of Welford on Avon. The Owl Pen is believed to date back to the 16th Century and has been considerably and sympathetically extended in more recent years to adapt the cottage to more modern living, whilst maintaining the original period charm with flagstone floors, leaded windows, open fires and exposed timbers.
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.