Reflecting on the performance of the housing market in the North East of England in 2017 and looking forward to the next year, I believe that our Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, fairly reflected the views of the Office for Budget Responsibility, which predicted steady, but much lower, economic growth for our country over the next 5 years.
The problem with steady and lower growth predictions is that it is relatively boring and lacks peaks, troughs and extremes within the economy.
Having lived through the last 10 years of tremendous uncertainty and especially in the period around 2008 when the banking crisis took place, I, for one, look forward to a calmer economy and, whilst it might be less exciting than another year’s, it will be steady and, for some people, we may see tremendous growth.
The recent budget announcements are great news for the North East of England with £1 billion likely to be invested within the region, specifically in the Tyne and Wear Metro, as well as the former Steelworks in Redcar and in the culmination of a new mayor for the North of Tyne councils. These are all very significant announcements.
Combined with the removal of stamp duty for first time buyers up to £300,000 and the commitment to raising new homes being built from 217,000 this year, to 300,000 homes next year, all provides good news.
There is no doubt that the average age of those buying their first home has significantly increased in the last 10 years and it is not fair on those people between the age of 20 and 35 who cannot afford to purchase their own home. We very much hope that the continuing influence of Help to Buy will encourage those who are currently renting a home to gain their first step on the housing ladder. Sanderson Young has specialist knowledge through our mortgage and finance colleagues, as well as our new homes experts, in supporting those wanting to buy for the first time. Our new homes sites are expanding every month and I am delighted to be working with some fantastic new homes in the region already, including Smith’s Dock at North Shields and Hallgarth Mews in Winlaton. Both sites create fabulous new homes, in a modern setting, with beautiful internal features at prices from £168,950 up to luxury four bedroomed houses in Smith’s Dock at £307,500.
Next year we see the launch of many new homes sites coming on to our books and these will create perfect opportunities for first time buyers looking to own their own home and ‘castle’.
2017 has been a steady year and, whilst we have seen more demand for houses under £500,000 than the higher price levels, we have seen increased numbers of sales coming through. With a greater supply of new homes being built in the next few years, there will be a large choice and purchasers will be able to pick and choose between locations, build styles, quality and accommodation to best match their requirements. This freedom of choice is to be encouraged and this should keep prices at a sensible level without too much excessive growth which is not good for any economy and only fuels high peaks and lows within the market place.
There are many things in this current market place to be proud of within the North East and I have previously written about the good news stories which exist within the region, which are to be promoted and recognised.
As we move forward into 2018, Sanderson Young has continued to strengthen its social and new media with advanced technology and investment into our website, Facebook, Twitter and social feeds to ensure that the houses we sell have the maximum exposure throughout the marketplace. It is fair to reflect that the old days of buying a Journal Homemaker on a Saturday morning and staffing up the office to take the calls which ensued from that paper being released, have gone. Modern media and communication methods enhance the speed at which our buyers can be reached and those looking to either rent or purchase a home can often arrange to view it within an hour of us listing it online.
We are advancing our photography and our video presentations throughout the company, with good quality drone images being used in the media and superb walk-through virtual reality videos, not just of houses that exist already, but those that are due to be built. In this way, we reach out to the maximum number of buyers possible, impressing them with the quality and the vision of what is to be created in so many good locations.
We continue to invest in the old methods of marketing too, using our highly experienced, well trained and managed team of sales staff and we are looking at advanced training in the next year to ensure that our sales methods and requalification of buyers and prospective tenants happen again and again. It has always been true that nearly 50% of buyers who originally register with us end up purchasing something completely different to what they originally expected and that proves the necessity to qualify buyers on a regular basis.
As we go through into 2018, I hope that the country will continue to focus on the needs of what we require at this current time; to raise our aspirations and production to better levels than have been predicted and to ensure that through the pride of workforce we create exceptional service throughout all our industries.
Here at Sanderson Young we like to think that our clients experience the exceptional. We very much look forward to working with so many of our clients, past, present and future from here and beyond.