Despite concerns over Brexit, a recent report predicted that house prices in the North East would rise by 17.6 percent over the next five years, which is one of the fastest rates predicted, far outstripping London. If this turns out to be correct, we’re set to see a fruitful period in house-buying and selling, so we sat down with experts from two North East estate agents, Finest Properties and Urban Base, to get their insights on the property market.
When it comes to choosing the best place to buy, both Ryan Eve, Managing Director of Finest Properties, and Jan Dale, Owner of Urban Base, are in agreement that location is key: making sure you’ve got all the necessary local amenities nearby, and are within range of excellent schools if you have children, is crucial. If you’re buying your first home or are moving home, Jan is a firm believer in the classic saying: ‘home is where the heart is’.
‘I have always been of the opinion that you should love your home with your heart and respect your investment with your head,’ she says. ‘If you are happy with your commuting and the lifestyle amenities nearby, then that’s the perfect place to call home. This could vary from city, village or coast, as all offer varied lifestyles and fabulous places to call home.’
With regards to investment, the same advice stands. ’In the current climate, it could be a good time to invest in property, providing you can get a good deal for something in the right location,’ explains Ryan. ‘I would always suggest purchasing a property either somewhere close to a good school, major centres of employment or particularly beautiful areas, such as National Parks or conservation areas. It’s not always easy to obtain planning permission in National Parks – so demand always outstrips supply due to lack of new-build stock – so properties in these areas should be a sound long-term investment.’
Jan suggests sticking to where the workforce is strongest in terms of investment, as key workers will offer the strongest tenancy investment – but remember, it’s always best to consult with a financial advisor if you’re considering investing in rental properties.
If you’re looking to sell your property this year, Ryan advises investing in the master bedroom and kitchen to tempt prospective buyers. ‘The most popular items on the wish list of our buyers is open-plan living, spacious master bedrooms with ensuites, open fires, and nice gardens,’ he says. ‘In addition to any improvements, ensure that the property is immaculately presented and take advice from a good estate agent before you commence works – they should know what will appeal to most buyers.’
Jan also believes the kitchen to be important. ‘The kitchen is the hub of the home for entertaining and socialising, both inside and out,’ she says. ‘And bringing the outside in remains on the wish list for most homeowners; garden kitchens with covered permanent seating, BBQ areas and outdoor fires can offer an extension to our living space.’
The North East has also seen an undeniable rise in the popularity of new-build homes, and Jan reckons they are perfect for first-time buyers. ‘Help To Buy schemes have offered major support for first-time buyers getting on the housing ladder, and Urban Base have supported many regional house builders in designing the perfect new home, with exciting new designs to come to the market in 2019.’
Ryan also sees the value in Help To Buy schemes for new buyers, and praises the modern layouts and energy efficiency of new-build properties. But both Jan and Ryan see the appeal of older, characterful properties too. ‘Some period properties offer more internal and garden space than new builds and are often well constructed,’ explains Ryan. ‘If you go for a pre-20th-century property, these often possess lots of character and have a greater appeal to buyers. There are some gems out there which have huge potential to improve, and you can add modern touches to complement the period charm.’
Regarding the future of the North East housing market, Ryan is resoundingly positive. ‘The property market in the UK is pretty resilient, as everyone has the desire to own their own home,’ says Ryan. ‘Therefore, however turbulent things seem with the uncertainty of Brexit, my view is that prices in the North will continue to grow steadily over the coming years. I personally do not envisage a boom as interest rates will likely increase. Naturally, prices will be stronger in more desirable locations, and if stamp duty is addressed for higher value properties, this well help increase the number of transactions.’
Jan also gave us her insight into what she thinks homes will look like in the future. ‘Eco-friendly and smart home are in demand,’ she says. ‘As are new emerging communities and sympathetic regeneration, such as the award-winning schemes seen in Ouseburn by Igloo, and the future proposals planned for Seaham Garden Village by Tolent. Forward-thinking companies are advancing a variety of construction methods to build ambitious development projects that reimagine everything from the wood used in our homes to the way we think about private-versus-communal space.’
Whether you’re tempted by the modern elegance of new builds, are searching for that perfect period property to call home, or are looking for the ideal investment opportunity, we’re sure that the North East is the place to be for all things property in 2019.