There is no doubt about it - the Lancaster housing market is changing. We have felt it happening over past couple of months and despite some agents claiming to have had a great month, the reality is that as a city, buying activity has taken a nose dive. Year on year the Lancaster housing market is down by 25%.
The Telegraph newspaper has called the housing market bunged up, the BBC has called it subdued whilst HMRC is quoted as calling it resilient. I prefer the Daily Mails description which calls it "hard to read". It certainly is that. Lancaster is an interesting market. In some parts of the city, properties are still flying off the shelf and achieving great prices. In other areas, activity is almost stagnant. Accurate pricing, targeted marketing and knowing your buyers really are key now for any potential home mover. Very few homes are selling themselves!
Here is the breakdown for what happened in September.
How many houses sold in September 2018?
In September 2018, 69 properties sold in the LA1 market compared to 92 homes in September 2017. This is a 25% drop in activity year on year. Surprisingly there was a 30% drop on the month previous. The university still hasn’t fully returned from their Summer break. Interesting 60% of the sales happened in the final 2 weeks. Could the kids going back to school and families getting over the holidays also be part of the issue, or are the unknown factors surrounding Brexit beginning to cause concern?
September’s breakdown is as follows
Upto £125,000 21 ( minus 16 )
£125,001 - £250,000 39 ( minus 9 )
£250,001 - £500,000 8 ( minus 4 )
Above £500,000 1 ( no change )
What happened to the higher end market?
There was no change to the top end of the market. For the past 3 months, only 1 property each month has sold, which means just 3 house sales in this price range in 3 months. This month the highest priced house to sell was on Laurel Bank, Cannon Hill. It was priced at £675,000. What is more concerning is that only 5 properties above £300,000 found a buyer (there were 64 listed for sale )
How about the lower end?
The lower end of the market has once again been hit the worse. In August it performed very well. Investor numbers are once again down and the number of new first time buyers registered has dropped. This could be due to the new release of the brand new affordable housing that has just come to the market.
The lowest priced property to sell in Lancaster in September was a 1 bed flat for just £69,950 at Ashwood Court, Greaves.
What type of property sold in September?
Once again almost half of all the property sales in Lancaster were terrace homes. Interesting of the 38 property sales, 21 of these had just 2 bedrooms. It is, however, the larger of the 2-bed terraces that are proving popular. Ones with 2 reception rooms and good outdoor space.
Sales by house type
Detached homes 6
Semi-detached homes 12
Terrace Properties 38
Flats / Apartments 6
Sales by area
LA1 1 7 ( 3 were apartments )
LA1 2 10 ( 4 semi-detached, 6 terraces )
LA1 3 20 (14 terraces)
LA1 4 20 ( the only bungalow to sell was in LA1 4 )
LA1 5 14 ( the most expensive sale was in this area )
17 different estate agents were involved with the 69 property sales in LA1 in September. Worryingly 12 of these agents sold 3 or fewer property sales. One estate agent did not agree on a single sale. At JDG we agreed 20.2% of all the sales in LA1.
If the housing market is changing it really is now important you choose an estate agent that gets the property sold and knows how to work in a difficult market. Talk to your estate agent. Listen to them. Look at the facts. Study what is selling and find out why.
Lancaster is not one market. It is a number of micro markets. To quote a good friend, every move is different. If you want to know what is happening in your direct area, talk to me. I’ll give you an honest answer.
My name is Michelle Gallagher. Call me or my colleagues on 01524 843322 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. At JDG we are here to help!
* All figures quoted are taken from Rightmove Intel