House prices in the north catch up
With such heated activity in the market throughout the country, a number of new 'hotspots' have emerged. For example, homes in Nottingham have seen almost frenzied activity, with prices almost doubling in inner city areas such as Radford and Sneinton. Prices in certain desirable northern city suburbs have also soared. Particular popular properties include Maghull, Liverpool which has seen rises of up to 50% with parts of Jesmond in Newcastle increasing up to 30%.
Gary Verity of Bradford & Bingley Estate Agents attributes these massive increases to two main reasons – the popularity of buy-to-let investors and the current historically low interest rates which have encouraged a record number of first-time buyers to step onto the ladder. He said: “This year we have seen areas in the north and midlands begin to boom at rates to rival the southern market. First-time buyers and buy-to-let investors who until recently may have overlooked properties in inner cities such as Nottingham, have realised that there is affordable housing available. Such demand has pushed up prices.”
Looking ahead to 2003, Bradford & Bingley Estate Agents expect prices to continue to rise, but at a far more stable rate than we have experienced in 2002. Said Verity: “Employment levels tend to be a key influence on the housing market and we don't expect to see unemployment increase substantially in 2003. We also feel interest rates will remain low and therefore affordability high. With these factors in mind, it is difficult to foresee a housing market downturn during 2003 and a repeat of the early 90's boom and bust. We expect transaction levels to remain stable and house prices to rise at a more sensible 5%.”