A new year has begun, and all across the country people are starting to think about their goals and aspirations for the year ahead. For many people in 2018, this will include moving house and it’s difficult to know where the property hotspots of the year are. From nervous first-time buyers to downsizing retirees, everyone has their own motivations for buying or renting a house. Whatever your reason, requirements or budget, the County Homesearch Company’s property finders are here to arm you with as much knowledge as possible before you make any big decisions.
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together our predictions of property hotspots for some of the UK’s local property markets in 2018, based on our property finder experience. From a national perspective, Rightmove is currently forecasting 1% growth in England and Wales following several months of slowed growth. House prices will continue to fall by 2% in London but growth elsewhere will ensure that the overall picture remains positive.
In the year to October 2017, according to official data from the Office of National Statistics, UK house prices were 4.5% higher. London lagged behind the rest of the UK at 2.1%, in part due to the concerns of foreign investors about Brexit.
One area to watch in 2018 will be the impact of the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers, introduced with immediate effect in the Autumn budget. Applicable on properties up to £300,000, the government hopes that together with the Help to Buy scheme, it will help more young people onto the property leader.
In 2016-17, there was upward movement in new home building with 217,3500 ‘additional dwellings’ arriving on the market. This is up 20% on 2015-16 but still far below the government target which has now been set at 300,000. Furthermore, these houses aren’t necessarily being built in the most sought-after areas, such as London and the wider South East.
Outlined below are some thoughts from a few of our UK property finders, all of whom are experts in the local areas and have years of experience in the property industry.
Property Hotspot in: Oxfordshire, The Cotswolds and Berkshire
Local director Stephen Wolfenden is not expecting vast amounts of change in 2018, and certainly not any reduction in house prices- a prediction that tallies with national expectations. Interestingly, he is expecting to see a knock-on effect from the slowing London property market. Increasingly, clients looking to move away from London are struggling to sell their homes in the capital. However, Stephen believes that the gap between London and the rest of the country is now as wide as it is going to be. People wishing to leave the capital in search of larger property, schools or second homes will need to make their move sharpish before wider UK house prices strengthen and the gap narrows.
Comprehensive transport links, highly rated schools and stunning countryside will continue to ensure that property in Oxfordshire, The Cotswolds and Berkshire will always be in demand. Looking to the longer term, a proposed rail link between the university towns of Oxford and Cambridge is likely to create a property boom within the Oxford-Cambridge-London triangle.
Property Hotspots: North West
Lisa Green, Director for the North West, broadly agrees with the predictions being made by leading industry commentators, namely that the region will see the highest growth across the UK at approximately 18% over the next few years. This is more than double what is expected in London. These predictions aren’t surprising given that Manchester is leading the way in housing development. New apartment buildings are being developed on every city corner and vacant plot, and the whole city feels truly revitalised. Demand remains strong in the ever popular leafy suburbs of Altrincham, Bowdon and Hale. Of particular interest to family buyers will be the fact that Altrincham Girls’ Grammar School has recently won the position of National State Secondary School of the Year in the Sunday Times Parent Power Best Schools Guide for 2018. As a result, every address within its catchment area will be even more coveted.
Outside the two major cities of Manchester, Liverpool and their immediate suburbs, Chester is becoming an increasingly attractive option for families. With excellent schools and transport links, a vibrant culture and easy access to the countryside, this city has something to offer everyone.
Property Hotspots: Scotland
Following on from his 2017 prediction, our Director for Scotland Martin Watt believes that Aberdeen will continue to be the one to watch in 2018. Following several years of construction and slow-moving traffic, September 2017 finally saw the opening of the Queensferry Crossing which has replaced the Forth Road Bridge. As things stand at the moment, there has not been much improvement in the perennial? traffic delays but the associated new road infrastructure will come online in 2018. This will give the new bridge full motorway status. As a result, Dunfermline and the surrounding villages in West Fife will become a more attractive option for commuters who can’t afford Edinburgh house prices but may previously have been concerned about congestion.
Property Hotspots: West Midlands
In the West Midlands, Director Jayne Horton, is keen to see the impact of Birmingham’s large scale regeneration. The city is now unrecognisable from 20 years ago. Offering 8,000 acres of parks and open space, amazing entertainment venues and shopping, more buyers than ever before are relocating northwards from London. Not only do new developments provide more affordable living than in the capital, they also boast superb quality of design. From an investor’s perspective, estate agents estimate city core rents will reach £35 per sq ft by the end of 2018.
Sutton Coldfield and Solihull (listed by The Telegraph as 1 of the Top 10 Regional Hotspots to make profit from property) still retain their appeal for families seeking larger homes close to excellent schools and impressive transport links. Looking to the future, house prices will be further boosted by the arrival of HS2, which will allow journeys from the Midlands to London to be done in just 49 minutes.
With one of the fastest growing economies in the country, Warwickshire attracts companies from around the U.K. and beyond. Facilitated by great transport links, it is at the forefront of the IT and Automotive Industries and attracts many families and young professionals to its vibrant, picturesque towns.
Named as the Happiest Place to Live in 2017, Leamington Spa boasts chic shopping, live music venues and more bars and restaurants than you might think feasible to fit into such a charming town. With house prices set to surge by 13% over the next 5 years, current demand for property in Leicestershire is outstripping supply. With its close proximity to the M1, beautiful surrounding countryside and chocolate box period village properties, it has a lot to appeal for the discerning house buyer.
County Homesearch are a group of highly experienced property finders with outstanding local property market knowledge. Contact us on 0333 939 8300 to discuss how we can help you.