Video: What is happening with York’s housing market? Five key questions answered

Simon Cartwright of Indigo Greens. Photograph: David Dunning
16 Sep 2020 @ 7.37 am
| Housing

A quarter of a million pounds.

Yes, that is the average price of a house in York according to Zoopla. Rightmove reckons it is even more, quoting over £300,000.

Other data from Zoopla reveals:

  • Demand from buyers for homes in York has risen by 28% in the last year
  • The number of homes for sale in York has increased by a third (34%) since last summer
  • The average time to sell a home in York (listing to sold subject to contract) is 27 days, mirroring the UK national average
  • House prices in York have risen cumulatively by 19.4% in the last five years, beating the UK national average of 18%
  • Three-bed semi-detached houses are the most searched-for properties in York
  • The top five most popular search terms on Zoopla for buyers in York are garden, garage, parking, detached and bungalow.

Meanwhile, the average rent for a property in York is currently £830 per calendar month. On renting Zoopla found:

  • Annual rents have risen by 4.5% in York since July 2019, one of the strongest rates of growth in the UK
  • The average time to let a property locally is 13 days
  • The number of properties available to let has increased by 11% in the last year, while tenant demand has gone up by 12%.

So what exactly is going on in the city, what is driving huge demand for properties and will it continue?

The big questions

We spoke to one estate agent, Simon Cartwright of Indigo Greens, to find out if first-time buyers being priced out, who is doing the selling and buying and will we see further boom or bust.

We asked Simon what we thought were five key questions about the property market in York.

As always there are winners and losers when prices boom. Memories of negative equity back in the 1990s are still fresh in minds of some people but it does seem that York is going just one way at the moment – up.

QUESTION 1 – What is actually happening?

Simon says the market has has been very busy since lockdown was eased. Pent-up demand means it’s been hard to keep up with the new calls and instructions.

There has been a slight slow down this week which could be due to schools going back but the summer has been non-stop. It’s the same across England although prices in London have remained flat over the past two months.

Things like the heritage in the city, the fast rail and road links, open countryside nearby and news that York could become a government hub in the north has been a great help in boosting interest and demand.

QUESTION 2 – Who is buying at the moment?

Simon says it’s a range of different people. First-time buyers with bigger deposits, families looking for more space and people looking to beat the cut off point for the stamp duty holiday. This move means buyers could save up to £15,000 in tax if they move home before the end of March 2021.

A few people are moving north out of London in the hope of a less stressful life too but Simon doesn’t think this is a huge factor. Talk of lots of buyers wanting a safer place to live, avoiding Covid-19 hot spots is, he thinks, a little premature. But there are certainly some inquiries from down south.

One of Indigo Greens’ hot York properties on Grosvenor Terrace

QUESTION 3 – Is it possible to buy in York for the first-timers now?

Yes, Simon says – some areas are more affordable, like further up Holgate Road and parts of Acomb too. But it’s all about deposits and the way mortgage lenders decide on who can and can’t have a loan.

Simon say it’s now much harder to find a deal with a low deposit now. That’s hard on first-timers especially when low interest rates mean it’s cheaper to buy than rent.

QUESTION 4 – Buyer or seller’s market?

Simon says it is a bit of both – but in the hotspots definitely a seller’s market. He argues that there are still some good deals to be had.

As is always the case a lot depends on what is driving a sale. Some people need to go quickly others can sit and wait for the asking price to be paid.

The apartment has a balcony

QUESTION 5 – What does the future hold?

This is always the hardest question for an estate agent to answer. However Simon didn’t hold back with his own personal thoughts on the subject. His view is that there is always a danger that the market could overheat, prices can collapse (not something we have seen in York for many years but many have memories of the 1990s being particularly tricky).

Prices can surge even higher too. Simon says the mortgage lenders are getting better at controlling things to try and fend off negative equity problems – one way is to increase the percentage of deposit needed. However he has been surprised at what is happening in York given the Covid crisis.

Then there is the increased interest from people who are working from home who may want to leave bigger cities like London and Manchester.

A hot property

Inside the flat. Photograph: Indigo Greens

Simon showed YorkMix round one property on his books that is in a very desirable part of York – a two bedroom flat with balcony on Grosvenor Terrace, just off Bootham, is on the market for £295,000.

It’s a beautiful property but well out of the range of most key workers in the city. Key features include a view of the Minster (in winter when the trees are bare), lots of storage space and a large living area.

It’s not that long ago that something like this would have had a price tag nearer the £100,000 mark.

More on the property we visited here.