The UK housing market is set to be buoyant in 2016. With average house prices increasing by 6.4% in 2015, now is the time to invest in property. But how is the market faring in different parts of the UK? Our agents share their opinions on the housing market in their area to help guide potential buyers towards a beautiful home that could also prove a healthy investment.
Andrew Marshall, Fine & Country Market Harborough, says: “We have noted year on year increases in sales to buyers from London and the south east. We have had a lot more London-based applicants registering their interest in the area, and we predict that this trend will continue in 2016 and beyond. Home buyers moving out of London are attracted to the high quality of life, architecture, history, setting and community spirit typically associated with market towns.
“Market Harborough already has the highest average price of Leicestershire’s market towns but is still well below that of London and the South East. We are very fortunate to have so many astonishing areas of natural beauty and un-spoilt villages, plus top schools, shops and restaurants that help to attract buyers from further south,” explains Andrew.
“With the announcement that the planned electrification of the Midland Mainline will go ahead, London will be closer than ever. Currently, trains run to London St Pancras in approx. 1 hour and that journey time is expected to significantly reduce once works are completed,” he concludes.
Simon Bradbury, Director at Fine & Country St Neots, recommends investing in Cambridgeshire. “The area in and around St Ives in Cambridgeshire offers, in my opinion, one of the best investment opportunities in the UK. Less than 20 miles from the house price hotbed that is the city of Cambridge (now even more easily accessible via the incredible and renowned Guided Busway), St Ives is also about 20 minutes from the mainline stations of St Neots and Huntingdon, which offer direct rail links to London in less than an hour.
“The charm and peacefulness of village life, combined with the convenience of easy access to the cities of Cambridge and London, make St Ives a perfect investment opportunity. I expect the villages of Hemingford’s, Houghton, and Hilton to be particularly popular in the coming year,” Simon confides.
Sarah Edmundson from Fine & Country Lakes said: “The property market in the Lake District and North Lancashire remains challenging; although activity levels are on the increase, prices on the whole have remained static. That being said, we have had enjoyed a positive start to 2016, and with the vast array of marketing tools available to us through the Fine & Country, the global network going from strength to strength and our dedicated local team, we are optimistic about the year ahead.”
Bristol has experienced a surge in demand in 2015, and local Fine & Country agent Rupert Oliver is expecting the city’s popularity to continue. “This is most notable because of the electrification of the Great Western Line, but also Bristol’s strong student population and rising growth in the legal, health and engineering sectors. These factors, coupled with the low volume of new builds, means that it’s a good city to buy property in.”
Craig Hughes from the Cheltenham branch says: “The market in Cheltenham is one of buoyancy and vibrancy. This is because there is still a lack of new instructions coming onto the market so once something does come on, interest is very high and viewings happened very quickly.
Fine and Country Cheltenham offers period regency houses within the town centre, modern executive homes and country residents with acreage and equestrian facilities. Because of this, our applicant levels are rising and weekend viewing slots are being booked and filled up well in advance. I think that house prices will hold firm in the price brackets of £500,000 to £1m with the larger property increases being seen below £500,000 and that the market in 2016 looks very strong for properties being marketed with Fine and Country.”
As Central London is becoming increasingly out of reach to many buyers, Lucy Edlin of Fine & Country Cockfosters recommends buying in the North of the capital city. “North London is one of the most sought after places to live,” Lucy says. “You have the best of both worlds here; Central London is a 30 minute tube ride away and yet the picturesque countryside surrounds you. The area attracts people from all walks of life; celebrities, working professionals, families, and investors. House prices are rising quickly here as well as in Central London, so it is a perfect time to invest,” she concludes.
Joanne Vine, Client Relationship Executive at Fine & Country Swansea, says their beautiful coastal location is one of the reasons why buyers are so attracted to the area. “We are fortunate to be located in the charming coastal village of Mumbles, situated to the west of Swansea and on the doorstep of the Gower peninsular, which is an area of outstanding beauty with many beautiful beaches and expansive countryside.
“In the Mumbles and Gower areas, property prices hold a premium due to the beach location. The area attracts a whole range of buyers from professionals, second home-owners, retirees and young families. We have a number of high performing government run schools along with a selection of independent schools.
“Another reason why Swansea and Mumbles are so popular is due to extensive investment. A new science and innovation campus has recently opened at Swansea’s university, which will create 5,000 new jobs. With plans in place for an ingenious tidal lagoon as well, the development in the area is encouraging pockets of development and expansion throughout the city, which will in turn see an increase in demand and value for properties in the area.”
Rebecca Doble, Sales & Marketing Director at Fine & Country West Midlands, said: “The New Homes team has reported excellent sales rates and have seen phenomenal success in Solihull and the surrounding areas. Birmingham and the Solihull area are seeing huge regeneration thanks to Birmingham airport being just 10 mins from Solihull town centre, which has daily flights to China starting this summer, plus the excellent highly rated schools, and superb transport links including the new Grand Central station and motorway network.”
Mark Manning from Fine & Country in Yorkshire, said: “Interestingly, we have already seen an increase in buyers arriving from the south this year as highly-skilled workers choose to leave London for buoyant city regions such as Leeds and the surrounding areas. The value for money, compared to the south for example, is exceptional.”
As seen in The Collection magazine, Spring 2016.