Property Predictions for 2014.

13th Jan 2014

As lawyers involved in Conveyancing we are often asked for predictions for the property market.  After six bad years I think it is fair to say that we look forward to 2014 with optimism.  

The market has been steadily increasing for us for the last two years .  The difficulty with using this information to express the view that things are all rosy over the last couple of years has been the fact that we operate mainly in a local market.  The peculiarities of a couple of these markets shows the difficulty in seeking wider trends based on localised data.  We act for a good many first time buyers in the Manchester City Centre flat market.  This is a sector that took very large hits on values in the recession.  There is pent up demand in the City and a shortage of supply.  It is for this reason that Manchester has seen 20% rises in property values in the last 12 months.  

We are based in the Borough of Trafford, which has it’s own special factors.  The local school system and the competition to be in the catchment area of these great schools has meant that property prices for family homes in Trafford never dropped significantly in the recession.  So family properties in Trafford have proved to have been a little bubble market of their own.  

What appears to have changed significantly over the last few months is the fact that development sites have started to change hands and previously moth-balled sites are seeing houses going-up on them.  We act for a number of developers and it is fair to say that they feel that the market conditions are right for them: the governments help to buy scheme and the demand that has been created by the last few years of inactivity has helped in these decisions.

And so as far as predictions are concerned, I can see prices increasing on average by about 8%, but activity levels increasing by about 20%. (ie 30% more sales and purchases).  With other forces effecting the legal profession such as lenders requiring firms to be on the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme, I think that the number of firms offering conveyancing services will continue to fall.  This will not be a bad thing for consumers necessarily – cheap prices in the conveyancing arena has often meant a lack of quality of service and attendant delays.  So we gear-up for 2014 with optimism and look forward to a busy year in the conveyancing department!


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