As our recent articles have explored, despite periods of political and economic uncertainty, in some places the housing market appears to be returning to its former strength. In this article, our experts examine one area in particular which is often described as ‘regaining strength’ or ‘growing fast’: the North West.
In recent months, several experts and industry publications have claimed that the North West housing market is seeing a rise in house prices like no other area of the United Kingdom. In terms of house price growth, the North West was recently named the best area of the UK in a recent article by RV Invest. Indeed, Savills’ recent study projected that house prices in the region are expected to rise by 24% by 2024 – complementing their projected average rise of £35,000 per house within four years’ time. This is a positive picture for growth in the North West – but is it a complete one?
So, why the rapid growth; and is this the full picture? Our property agents have examined the region, and offer their views on the reasons behind – and future of – this particular market.
Diversified & Localised Markets
Firstly, whilst it is true that the market has undergone a period of growth, it is key to remember that the north west is a large and diverse region! Markets within the region are relatively localised, and it is difficult to link growth in disparate markets. For instance, the housing markets in Cheshire and Lancashire will naturally differ to those in Manchester, which will in turn tell a different story to the Cumbrian housing market! So, where is the growth, and how do we explain it?
Reasons behind the growth
This growth has largely been noted in the north-western cities of Manchester and Liverpool, which underwent significant property price hikes in 2019. An across-the-board national rise of 2% is forecast in 2020, with areas like Manchester predicted to rise somewhere between 2 – 4% this year: whilst London has shown signs of finally ‘bottoming out’, with a predicted rise of just 1%, as already-stretched Southern buyers reach their tolerance for ever-increasing house prices.
The appeal of the bustle and growth of both Liverpool and Manchester in particular is one reason behind the average price of properties in these regions growing by 1.34 per cent from July to October 2019. The fast development of high-rise apartments in these city centres is a contributing factor to the success story of local property value. In a sense, this strength extends outwards, but for different reasons: strong transport links to airports, metros and rail stations as well as excellent schools offer the most compelling arguments for the increasing value of residential family property, which remains strong in certain areas of Cheshire and Lancashire.
One of the biggest draws for investors purchasing property in these areas is their status as home to almost the largest student populations in the UK. Greater Manchester boasts a population of 100,000 students, thanks to its five universities – the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Salford University, the University of Bolton and University Academy 92. In the wider North West, the region has a further 20 universities and sites of Higher Education, bringing the total to approximately 400,000 students.
To meet all this demand, of course, requires the accompanying supply! As more and more properties are let out for student rentals, their value to potential investors increases enormously, particularly in areas known to be ‘student-friendly’. In addition, as student accommodation is often more affordable than residential property, investors can purchase a student property in these regions and remain confident of its popularity and lucrativity.
Some experts consider that, in effect, areas of the north west are now ‘catching up’ to the rest of Britain. Having had historically comparatively lower prices in comparison to its Southern counterparts, the north west is now the site of some of the fastest growing prices as prices head towards the national average. So, whilst this is a period of faster growth for parts of the North West, it does not necessarily signify the same national rise in property prices.
Will this trend continue?
Of course, with Brexit still to be implemented and many of its effects still to be felt, it is hard to say whether this trend will last. However the new Government has been quick to confirm its commitment to levelling up investment in the north and several major infrastructure projects. House prices, along with various other economic markers, are hugely influenced by national and global political events, making them hard to predict in such a climate. Whatever the outcome, rest assured that County Homesearch will keep you updated with the latest in the industry, and property news in general.
Comparatively however, prices in the North West remain affordable, particularly when considered in light of other high-value regions of the United Kingdom. Consequently, the region remains enormously popular with both first-time and seasoned buyers, for its rapidly increasing value amid the hustle and bustle of growing cities, vibrant market towns and attractive countryside. There is literally something for everyone! In addition to the properties listed on the north west property market, property finding services like County Homesearch often have access to unlisted properties – making them the obvious first choice for people looking to purchase in the region.
If you have a specific enquiry about property finding, in the North West or another region, simply get in touch with us and one of our experts will be more than happy to help.