Welcome to August’s local housing market update. This is the report that spells out the facts and looks at what is really happening in the Lancaster Housing Market.
This month we begin with a really positive message, although I don’t want us all to get too excited or misled by it. Housing activity is up by almost 24% month on month. In Lancaster, we bucked the national trend. The city itself was up 10% year on year. The question is why?
First of all, we have to make reference to the weather. July was a hot sunny month. Internet activity and viewing numbers were low as people shunned house hunting, opting to choose to spend time with family and friends instead. Hot sunshine is rare in Lancaster - people really were making the most of it! Could August just be the market catching up?
I’ve spoken with agency friends across the country. Many are reporting a difficult month with one agent selling just 2 houses in Norfolk. An agent in Birmingham is reporting slumps of almost 30% whilst Leicester sounds to be booming! The Nationwide Building Society has reported the biggest slump in house prices in 6 years. Rightmove are reporting that in the Northwest alone, they have dropped by 1.8%.
In Lancaster, 78 properties reduced their asking price in August. The average reduction was just over 5%. Are house prices dropping or were the estate agents valuations over optimistic? Here is what actually happened in our city. All of the data is sourced from Rightmove and Zoopla.
How many houses actually sold in August in LA1?
In August 2018, 98 properties sold ( SSTC ). This was 9 more properties than sold in July 2017 and 23 more than the month previous. August has surprised us all. Historically it is one of the quieter months of the year due to the school holidays. Interest rates increased to 0.75%, their highest level since 2009 and Lancaster, being a university city, many of our residents have been away enjoying the holidays. Yet still, we out-performed many areas of the country.
August’s breakdown is as follows
Up to £125,000 37 properties sold ( up 10 )
£125,001 - £250,000 48 properties sold (up 10 )
£250,001 - £500,000 12 properties sold (up 3 )
Above £500,000 1 ( no change )
What happened to the higher end sales?
Back In June, we reported that the price category above £250,000 was outperforming other price sectors in the market, yet July saw this change with an activity drop of almost 45%. In August it has improved marginally. Expectations are that this price bracket will see a noticeable difference now the school holidays are over. It needs to - there was only one sale above £500,000 in August. This was on Haverbreaks.
What about the lower end of the market?
We are pleased to see the lower end of the market see a surge in sales. Sales in this price category increased by a whopping 35%. When you look closely as to what is selling - many of these properties did sell to investors. However, we need the lower end to sell, for the higher priced properties to find their buyers.
We also saw an increased number of first-time buyers return to the market. There is now little choice under £125,000 in the new build market (unless you want an affordable housing scheme property). This is helping local families get moved.
What type of property sold?
Almost half of the Lancaster sales ( 47% ) were terrace homes. This number is growing monthly. Back in June terrace properties accounted for 39% of all sales. Are the people of Lancaster falling back in love with the older period homes? The 2nd most popular home this month was the semi-detached with 28 sales. Families homes in Lancaster are always in demand given our excellent education system.
Sales by house type
Detached 10 ( up 50% )
Flats / Apartments 8 ( down 60%)
Sales by area
Once again LA1 3, was the most popular selling area of the city. This is the area of the city that covers Freehold, Ridge, Moorlands and Primrose. Half of all the property sales in this area were terrace homes,
LA1 1 4 (2 were apartments)
LA1 2 26 (15 terraces)
LA1 3 23 (8 were terraces)
LA1 4 25 (11 were semi’s)
LA1 5 20 (5 were detached)
16 different estate agents were involved with the 98 property sales across LA1 in August. At JDG we agreed 26% of the sales in the terrace market and a whopping 30% of the sales in the detached market. A great success story was a detached home in Hala. It has been on the market with another estate agent for over 12 months. We sold it in just 2 weeks. In fact, 32% of all our sales agreed actually found a buyer in under 4 weeks!
Once again online estate agents accounted for just two of the sales in August. If you would like to keep up to date with happenings in the Lancaster Housing Market, check out our website at www.jdg.co.uk or call me on 01524 843322. At JDG we are here to help.