Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Fewer people are moving house in Grantham

Well the dust has settled and the General Election seems a distant memory, we can get back to a more normal property market, or that is what the London based ‘Fleet Street’ journalists would lead  you to believe.  You see I have been talking to many fellow property professionals in Grantham (solicitors, conveyancers and one the best sources of info – the chap who puts all the estate agent and letting boards up in Grantham, and all of them, every last one of them told me they didn’t see any change over April in business, compared to any other month on the lead up to the Election itself.

 I am now of the opinion that maybe in the upmarket areas of Mayfair and Chelsea, the market went into spasm with the prospect of a Labour/SNP pact with their Mansion Tax for properties over £2,000,000, but in little old Grantham and the surrounding villages, there haven’t been any properties sold above £2,000,000 mark in the last 7 years , and only three above the £1,000,000 mark. 
In a nutshell, the General Election in Grantham didn’t really have any impact on people’s confidence to buy property.  As I write this article, of 380 properties that have come on to the market in Grantham  since the 2nd of April, 141 of them have a buyer and are sold subject to contract, that’s over one in three (37.11% to be precise). 

I think that things are starting to change in the way people in Grantham (in fact the whole of the country as I talk to other agents around the UK) buy and sell property.  Back in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, the norm was to buy a terraced house as soon as you left home and do it up.  Meanwhile, property prices had gone up, so you traded up to a 2 bed semi, then a 3 bed semi and repeated the process, until you found yourself in  large 4 bed detached house with a large mortgage. 

Looking into this a little deeper like I have said in previous articles Grantham people’s attitude to homeownership itself has changed over the last ten years.  The pressure for youngsters to buy when young has gone as renting, not buying, is considered the norm for 20 something’s. This isn’t just a Grantham thing, but, a national thing, as I have noticed that people buy property by trading up (or down) because they need to, not because ‘it’s what people do’.  This does means there are a lot less properties on the market compared to the last decade.

A by-product of less people moving is less people selling their property. My research shows there are a lot fewer properties each month selling in Grantham compared to the last decade.  For example, in February 2015, only 55 properties were sold in Grantham. Compare this to February 2002, and 88 properties sold and the same month in 2003, 83 properties.  I repeated the exercise on different sets of years, (comparing the same month to allow for seasonal variations) and the results were identical if not greater.   

So what does this all mean?  Demand for Grantham property isn’t flying away, but with fewer properties for sale, it means property prices are proving reasonably stable too. Stable, consistent and steady growth of property values in Grantham, year on year, without the massive peaks and troughs we saw in the late 1980’s and mid/late2000’s might just be the thing that the Grantham property market needs in the long term.

For more thoughts on the Grantham Property Market .. visit the Grantham Property Market Blog