Express & Star

House prices boom across West Midlands as lockdown eases

Homes in the West Midlands are going for as much as £30,000 more than their asking prices as the housing market in the region booms after the coronavirus lockdown.

House prices are booming as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease

Nationally, the cost of a house in the UK rose by a little over £3,000 last month as the property market hit new highs – with one estate agent believing it was down to homeowners 'reassessed their housing needs' while spending more time in their home during the lockdown.

House-buyers have shrugged off continued uncertainty in the economy and social distancing to send the average price of a UK home to £224,123 as restrictions ease.

The two per cent rise in August of £3,188 wiped out the losses made earlier this year as the pandemic tore through the country, according to data from building society Nationwide.

It is also the highest rise in a single month since February 2004, when prices jumped by 2.7 per cent.

Nick Berriman, a director of Berriman Eaton which has offices in Tettenhall and Wombourne, as well as Bridgnorth, said: "It is the strongest market we have seen since 2006.

Weighbridge Cottage, in Patshull, was on the market for offers around £550,000 and was under offer within 24 hours, according to Berriman Eaton estate agents

"Some properties are selling for in excess of the asking price – in one case by £30,000 more. We are getting very strong prices on lots of houses. The £300,000-to-£500,000 sector is seeing the bulk of interest."

Mr Berriman said their Tettenhall office alone had managed 50 sales last month, which was double the average for August of 20-to-25.

He said Weighbridge Cottage, Patshull, went on the market at offers around £550,000 and was under offer within 24 hours, while Elm Gables, on Springhill Park, Lower Penn, was also on the market at offers around £525,000 and saw a sale agreed in excess of the guide price.

“June was our busiest ever month and July was significantly stronger and broke the record again," he added. "August was slightly down on that level with holidays coming into play.

“During lockdowm a lot of people spent more time in their homes than they would normally spend and re-assessed their requirements for a home. Some now want to downsize, some upsize and others want a garden. People had the chance to see exactly what their house offers and found it does not meet requirements any more.

“The supply of houses is not drying up. In July we had more than 50 new instructions at the Tettenhall office – significantly higher than normal.”

Significant hike

Barrows and Forrester has branches in Lichfield and Birmingham and its managing director James Forrester said the latest Nationwide house price index showed a significant hike in house prices.

“Those questioning the resilience of the UK property market should be well and truly silenced by now, as the largest rate of monthly price growth in 16-and-a-half years is far from a coincidence or a one-off set of freak results," he said.

"In fact, it’s the latest in a long line of data-based reports that shows the market has turned quicker than a pint of milk in the mid-day sun, rebounding from the depths of pandemic decline seen early in the year to return to very good health, all things considered.”

Speaking about the new report, Nationwide's chief economist Robert Gardner said: "The bounce-back in prices reflects the unexpectedly rapid recovery in housing market activity since the easing of lockdown restrictions.

"This rebound reflects a number of factors. Pent-up demand is coming through, where decisions taken to move before lockdown are progressing.

"Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity, as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown.

Elm Gables, Springhill Park, Lower Penn, was on the market at Offers Around £525,000 and saw a sale agreed in excess of its guide price

"Our own research, conducted in May, indicated that around 15 per cent of people surveyed were considering moving as a result of lockdown."

The holiday in stamp duty means that the trend of rising prices is likely to continue in the near term, but Mr Gardner warned that a massive rise in unemployment, which is forecast by most experts, would probably send the housing market back into a slump.

Meanwhile, official figures from the Office for National Statistics showed house prices increased by 0.2 per cent in May compared with the month before.

The ONS and the Land Registry said the average price at which a home was sold was up 2.9 per cent on the year to reached £236,000 during the month, after decreasing 0.2 per cent in April.

It is a £7,000 rise on the same month last year.

Chris Sykes, at mortgage broker Private Finance, added that as Government protections for renters come to an end, more properties could start hitting the market.

“The ending of the Government’s eviction ban in September could lead to a surge in landlords trying to remove tenants from properties,” he said.

“This may cause a great deal of negative publicity, possibly suppressing appetite for new buy-to-let purchases. Landlords may even sell some of their properties to avoid potential difficulties moving forward."