Category: property market news

sales in SK4 by quarters

It is the time of year when we can reflect on how the last four quarters have performed. The adjacent chart splits the total number of sales for all property types into quarters. Not surprisingly, first quarter of 2016 was the strongest quarter with 189 sales (33.3%) in SK4. The last quarter of 2015 saw 184 sales, which equates to 32.5%.


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what jobs do people do in SK4?

The percentage of people employed in various industry sectors is often a good indicator of the distinct character of an area. In SK4, the largest number of jobs were in Health, taking up 14.2% of jobs. Education had the second largest number of jobs with 14.1% of jobs.


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SK4 flat and house prices

The last 18 months have seen a seismic shift in the underlying dynamics of the UK economy. While the long term effects of Brexit on property prices remain to be seen, price levels in SK4 remain robust, as the adjoining chart shows. Prices for flats have increased 15.7% since August 2015 and house prices have increased 18.0% since April 2016.



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what impact does a good primary school have on SK4?

A property’s desirability is often a popular subject when we are talking to homeowners and local investors. Sure, you will find that Kirsty and Phil are right, and it is all about “location, location, location”, but the savvy property hunter has something else on their minds these days, and that is “education, education, education”.

More and more people searching for a home are looking at a property’s proximity to a good school before signing on the dotted line. If you already have children, the importance of this cannot be taken lightly, while it is also something to think about for those who are planning on starting a family in the near future.

Ofsted report and rank all schools in the UK, with their results having a huge effect on how desirable a school is. Consequently, this has a knock-on effect on demand for nearby housing.

If you look at the league tables, you will see that Norris Bank Primary School is one of the best local primary schools in SK4.

The figures don’t lie: in the last academic year, 95% of year six students hit the nationally expected target of level four and higher in the key areas of reading, writing and maths. It was also found that 34% of pupils hit the “above national average” level five. You can’t argue with a low pupil to teacher ratio either. Norris Bank Primary School has an average class size of 24.2, which means more teacher attention for each pupil and a greater chance of child progression.

These excellent results have impacted both local schools and property prices. The 250m zone around Norris Bank Primary School has an average sold property price of £219,900 in 2016 so far, whereas 4km away the average sold property price was £187,700, a 14.6% premium.


It is not quite the same story for secondary schools but there are good reasons for this. Your average secondary school is large, much larger than a primary school, so it takes in more pupils every year. This means that its catchment zone spans further than primary school’s catchment zones. Parents do not need to live so close to a secondary school to be assured a place for their child.

The other issue is that according to the London School of Economics, the difference between the top and bottom 25% of secondary schools is not quite as dramatic as the top and bottom 25% of primary schools. A good primary school in SK4 is potentially going to have far more of an impact on a child than a good secondary school.

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the heatons landlords and tenants : what does the tenant fee banning order mean for you?

• Tenant Fees set to banned within 12 to 18 months
• Rents due to rise as those fees passed to Landlords
• Landlords won’t be worse off – and neither will tenants or agents

With our new Chancellor of the Exchequer revealing a ban on tenant fees in his first Autumn Statement on Wednesday what does this actually mean for The Heatons tenants and The Heatons landlords?

The private rental sector in The Heatons forms an important part of The Heatons housing market and the engagement from the chancellor in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement is a welcome sign that it is recognised as such. I have long supported the regulation of lettings agents which will ensconce and cement best practice across the rental industry and, I believe that measures to improve the situation of tenants should be introduced in a way that supports the growing professionalism of the sector. Over the last few years, there has been an increasing number of regulations and legislation governing private renting and it is important that the role of qualified, well trained and regulated lettings agents is understood.

Great News for The Heatons Tenants

So, let’s look at tenants … this is great news for them, isn’t it? Well before you all crack open the Prosecco, read this …

Although I can see prohibiting letting agent fees being welcomed by The Heatons tenants, at least in the short term, they won’t realise that it will rebound back on them.

First up, it will take between 12 and 18 months to ban fees, as consultation needs to take place, then it will take an Act of Parliament to implement the change. A prohibition on agent fees may preclude tenants from receiving an invoice at the start of the tenancy, but the unescapable outcome will be an increase in the proportion of costs which will be met by landlords, which in turn will be passed on to tenants through higher rents.

Published at the same time as the Autumn Statement, hidden in the Office for Budget Responsibility’s Economic and Fiscal Outlook on the Autumn Statement (The Office for Budget Responsibility being created by Government in 2010 to provide independent and authoritative analysis of the UK’s public finances), it said on Wednesday …

“The Government has also announced its intention to ban additional fees charged by private letting agents. Specific details about timing and implementation remain outstanding, so we have not adjusted our forecast. Nevertheless, it is possible that a ban on fees would be passed through to higher private rents”

The charity Shelter and Scotland

Scotland banned Letting Fees in 2012. The charity Shelter have been a big voice in persuading and lobbying the Government since it managed to persuade the Scottish Parliament to ban fees in 2012. On all the TV and radio shows at the moment, they keep talking about their Independent Research, which they said showed that,

“renters, landlords and the industry as a whole had benefited from banning fees to renters in Scotland. It found that any negative side-effects of clarifying the ban on fees to renters in Scotland have been minimal for letting agencies, landlords and renters, and the sector remains healthy.”

Going on,

“Many industry insiders had predicted that abolishing fees would impact on rents for tenants, but our research show that this hasn’t been the case. The evidence showed that landlords in Scotland were no more likely to have increased rents since 2012 than landlords elsewhere in the UK. It found that where rents had risen more in Scotland than in other comparable parts of the UK in 2013, it was explained by economic factors and not related to the clarification of the law on letting fees”

.. yet the devil is in the detail….

Only yesterday Shelter were quoting this Research from December 2013 to say rents never went up following the tenant fee ban in Q4 2012. I have read that research and I agree with that research, but it was published three years ago, only 12 months after the ban was put into place.

I find it strange they don’t seem to mention what has happened to rents in Scotland in 2014, 2015 and 2016…because that tells us a completely different story!

What really happened in Scotland to rents?

I have carried out my research up to the end of Q3 2016 and this is the evidence I have found;

In Scotland, rents have risen, according the CityLets Index
by 15.3% between Q4 2012 and today

(CityLets being the equivalent of Rightmove North of the Border – so they know their stuff and have plenty of comparable evidence to back up their numbers).

When I compared the same time frame, using Office of National Statistics figures for the English Regions between 2012 and 2016, this is what has happened to rents

• North East 2.17% increase
• North West 2.43% increase
• Yorkshire and The Humber 3.21% increase
• East Midlands 5.92% increase
• West Midlands 5.52% increase
• East of England 7.07% increase
• South West 5.82% increase
• South East 8.26% increase

• London 10.55% increase

….and let me remind you about Scotland … 15.3% increase.


Are you really telling me the Scottish economy has outstripped London’s over the last 4 years? Is anyone suggesting Scottish wages and the Scottish Economy have boomed to such an extent in the last 4 years they are now the Powerhouse of the UK? Because if they had, Nicola Sturgeon would have driven down the A1 within a blink of an eye, to demand immediate Independence.

So what will happen in The Heatons Rental Market in the Short term?

Well nothing will happen in the next 12 to 18 months … its business as usual!

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distance travelled to work

The distance travelled to work in a given area is an indicator of the area’s transportation links. It can also show if an area has job opportunities locally. In SK4, 70.0% of the local workforce travel less than 10km to get to work. This is 7.7% higher than the average in the North West region and 13.1% higher than the national average.


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sales remain steady in sk4

The changes in stamp duty and the Brexit vote have made the last 12 months an interesting one. There have been a total of 864 sales and we can see that volumes have increased by 19.3% since July 2015. This is stronger than the North West region and the national market.


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patterns in price bands emerging in sk4

Over the last year, every property that was sold in SK4 has fallen into one of seven price bands. The adjacent bar chart illustrates this interesting pattern which shows that the £100k-£200k price band had the largest number of sales (234), followed by the £200k-£300k price band (199).


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local wealth bands in sk4

In SK4 the majority of households are classified as “wealthy” (34.5% of all households). The next biggest wealth band is “more comfortable” (31.5% of all households).


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property prices in sk4 have risen by 214% since 2000

You would be forgiven for thinking that Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan was talking about the UK property market when he sang, “the times, they are a changin'”. As agents in SK4, we have seen it all in the property market. But one overarching fact is the rise of local property prices, which have seen a significant increase of 214% since 2000.

Figures show that moving up the property ladder, or getting on it in the first place, is not that easy. However, there are certain choices you can take to make the process much smoother, particularly if you listen to advice from a good agent. The young person’s dream of owning their own property is still very much within reach.

Compromise is key; sometimes it is a good idea to take stock and really think about what it is that you want from a property. SK4 is popular with homeowners and tenants, which indicates that location is still the number one factor for people moving home. Yet in our experience, some people are willing to look further afield to find a cheaper, more suitable property.

If you are already on the property ladder, moving up it is not as arduous as many initially think. Increasing house prices can actually benefit homeowners like you, assuming that you have paid off a fair amount of your mortgage. Average property prices in SK4 are now worth £245,900, which means if you bought the property 10 years ago, it would have increased by an impressive £45,700.

Some of you will be tenants who are not yet on the property ladder, but don’t worry as there is still hope. Mortgage lenders have started to loosen their purse strings, with many of them offering up to 95% mortgages. The government also offer several schemes making it easier for first-time buyers to purchase a home, including Right to Buy, shared ownership and the Help To Buy ISA.



Landlords have reasons to be cheerful, with an element of younger people in SK4 choosing to rent rather than buy. There are certainly benefits to renting, including the ability to simply call the landlord if there are any issues around your rental home, allowing you to save on large repair costs. The lifestyle of a renter also provides flexibility, which is very important to some people.

It is harder for young people to save for a deposit in an age where Apple launch a brand new product every six months, or the latest HDTV is readily available. Renting is a choice, and we are developing a mindset more akin to the Europeans with regards to it. In fact, the fascinating figures show the percentage of households privately rented in SK4 have risen from 10.2% in 2001 to 15.1%, according to the last census.

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