The Eden and district housing market continues to be buoyant despite the global coronavirus pandemic as people aspire to a new way of living with home-working now more popular than ever.
Lynne Lancaster, head of PFK Estate Agency, said: “We are seeing a significant increase in activity in the housing market since we have been able to return to work.”
She said many things had changed since the pandemic, including the attitude many have in relation to how and where they want to live and how to achieve a work-life balance.
“The demand continues for more spacious, greener living with the opportunity to have a working space at home.
“The temporary reduction in stamp duty has not only helped many second and third time buyers, but it has also helped holiday home and buy-to-let purchasers,” said Ms Lancaster.
During August, properties going on the market have increased by 45 per cent and sales have increased by 25 per cent for PFK comparing year on year.
Ms Lancaster said: “There are multiple offers for most properties on the market, and deals regularly go to best and final offers only to exceed the original guide prices.
“The lettings sector has not been left out of this frenzy as there also continues to be enormous demand for rental properties.
“Our phones have been ringing off the hook, emails have doubled, WhatsApp also and the numbers of visitors to our website and social media pages have skyrocketed.
“We don’t know how long this demand for property will last, but for buyers and sellers right now our advice is; strike now whilst the iron is hot.”
A similar picture was painted by Nick Miller, managing director at Fine & Country estate agency’s Cumbria operation, which has offices in Penrith and Carlisle.
He said: “The market has improved dramatically for buying and selling. We had a long period during the Brexit nonsense when people sat on their hands.
“There has been a knock-on from COVID and people are looking to accelerate their move out of a city or town. More people at the higher end are thinking about that now and they are coming from other parts of the UK and abroad. They are moving for lifestyle reasons — choice not need.”
He added: “We are seeing a significantly higher level of activity, with new instructions and people bringing properties back to the market as they feel more confident.
“We have seen our number of instructions more than double in the last three months compared to what we had in the first five months of this year.
“COVID’s role in that has been really significant. I can’t say prices are rocketing, but I am very happy that the market has improved. Houses that had been on the market for a long time are now selling. It is really positive.”
The most recent figures, for June, show that Eden house prices leapt by 5.4 per cent.
The significant boost contributes to the longer-term trend, which has seen property prices in the area achieve 0.3 per cent annual growth.
The average Eden house price in June was £204,666, Land Registry figures show – a 5.4 per cent increase on May.
Over the month, the picture was better than that across the North West, where prices increased 4.3 per cent, and Eden outperformed the 0.7 per cent rise for the UK as a whole.
Over the last year, the average sale price of property in Eden rose by £670 – putting the area 32nd among the North West’s 39 local authorities for annual growth.
The best annual growth in the region was in Fylde, where properties increased on average by 8.4 per cent, to £202,000. At the other end of the scale, properties in South Lakeland dropped 5.7 per cent in value, giving an average price of £227,000.
Owners of semi-detached houses saw the biggest improvement in property prices in Eden in June – they increased 5.6 per cent, to £194,331 on average. Over the last year, prices rose by one per cent.
Among other types of property, detached was up 5.2 per cent monthly; up 0.6 per cent annually with an £290,729 average: terraced was up 5.5 per cent monthly; up 0.1 per cent annually with an £160,540 average and flats were up 5.3 per cent monthly; down 3.4 percent annually with an £116,524 average.
First-time buyers in Eden spent an average of £168,400 on their property – £210 more than a year ago, and £19,250 more than in June 2015.
By comparison, former owner-occupiers paid £231,610 on average in June – 37.5 per cent more than first-time buyers.
Buyers paid 19.7 per cent more than the average price in the North West (£171,000) in June for a property in Eden. Across the North West, property prices are lower than those across the UK, where the average cost £238,000.
The most expensive properties in the North West were in Trafford – £301,000 on average, and 1.5 times as much as in Eden. Trafford properties cost 3.3 times as much as homes in Burnley (£92,000 average), at the other end of the scale.
The highest property prices across the UK were in Kensington and Chelsea, where the average June sale price of £1.4 million could buy 15 properties in Burnley (average £92,000).