Without doubt the two most common questions we are asked are ‘how’s the market?’ and ‘what are house prices doing?’. As you are probably aware, the housing market is a subject of acute interest to many.
Northamptonshire was the subject of a headline statistic last year following a report by Rightmove which announced the county had seen the largest price increase in the whole of England and Wales, which the company suggested was likely down to London’s unaffordable market driving purchasers further afield, but still within commuting distance.
Forecasts at the end of last year looking ahead to 2018 were muted at best though, and whilst at some points this year transaction levels have taken a bit of a dip they have subsequently bounced back. Clearly there will always be fluctuations along the way, however in the context of house price inflation and property ownership as investment, Northamptonshire property has outperformed the UK average over both the short and long term.
Using the most recent (at the time of writing) UK House Price Index (UK HPI) as a barometer, this resilience seems to continue to hold. In April 2018 the index reported an annual increase in the average house price in England of 3.7%, whereas the figure for the same period across Northamptonshire was 8.3%. This in conjunction with the previous 4 years looks like the following:
Year on Year annual increase
May 17 – April 18
May 16 – April 17
May 15 – April 16
May 14 – April 15
May 13 – April 14
As an increase across a 5 year period the average house price has risen from £154,056 to £226,982 in Northamptonshire, equating to 47.3%. This is in comparison to 34.9% over the same period across England as a whole.
Even accounting for the dramatic price falls through 2008 and 2009, over the last 10 year period Northamptonshire property has increased by an average of 36.1% as compared to 28.4% across England.
Finally, even going back 20 years to 1998, Northamptonshire property has risen by 293% compared to 279% across England.
More recently, the gap between London and the South and prices north of London has narrowed and indications are that Northamptonshire property prices benefit from the relative close proximity to London, but without necessarily being proportionately tied to the extremes and excesses of the capital.
The NN postcode is currently ranked as the 47th cheapest out of 105 in England and Wales, further enhancing the picture of a well-balanced local housing market.
12,850 properties were sold in Northamptonshire between June 17 and May 18, with the largest market share of 26.4% of properties sold priced in the £150 – 200k price bracket, totally 3,400 sales.
The main concern as a consequence of this house price performance is the squeeze on local wages making mortgage affordability harder, particularly for those yet to take their first step on to the housing ladder. Yet with continuing development across multiple sites in Northampton, Corby and Wellingborough, including the provision of more ‘affordable’ housing, this concern will hopefully be eased over time.
So, despite suggestions of a likely fragility in the UK Housing Market post-Brexit, all indications are that the appeal of property ownership, with its relative security and competitive returns, will always attract investors – even in cases where the investment is secondary to other reasons for home ownership.
Increasing access to funding, more creative house building plans, and helpful government intervention are now needed to aid those being priced out of the market, but all things considered Northamptonshire’s property market seems to continue to be both robust and resilient.