Herts property stays strong

Types of property and their values across the year in Hertfordshire

Types of property and their values across the year in Hertfordshire - Credit: Archant

We’re often asked to speculate on where the market is going and amongst the professionals we work with on a regular basis, as well as the public, we hear the same statement-and-question combo: “House prices are still rising - how long can it go on for?”

Let’s examine the facts - worldwide population is growing by 2.5 new little people per second. Just let that sink in for a moment and count 2.5 births per second. That’s huge. Yes, the statistics of those who get to house-buying age and financial security will be a massively decreasing funnel, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore it.

Couple this with the undeniable fact that London is one of the most desired domiciles in the world. The reality is, whether red or blue, left or right, rich or poor, the United Kingdom has created a financial, social, economical and cultural beacon which gains admiration in some small way like no other City on the planet - personally, I don’t really care for the place, but that doesn’t mean I can make a wholesale denial of the fact that everyone else bloody loves it. So naturally, people from all locations, denominations, faiths, races, backgrounds and intentions want to be there.

Right now, it’s quite simple - we do not have enough available housing to meet the huge demand, and especially in areas close to the jewel in the crown of the globe (according to so many people) where everyone wants to be - so what we have here is a situation where the price will continue to grow as long as there is a supply imbalance and a soaring demand. So, sadly (if you’re a first time buyer) or thankfully (if you’re the top of the chain and retiring to Spain) the prices are steadily marching upwards. In Hertfordshire detached properties have risen from £602,498 in May to £631,167 in September. Flats have shifted up a gear from £187,493 to £196,415 in the same time frame - when you look at stock levels, these are rising too after an uncertain year which has seen an increase in the number of service providers and a concerning drop in stock levels creating a fraught environment in the property sector locally.

So, come on then - the juicy bit - what does the Crystal Ball say about what’s going to happen in the next year?

The situation remains stable - the prices are rising, but with impending tax changes for Landlords and murmurs of interest rate rises, we’re already seeing some investors take the view that they will jettison some of their lower performing stock in the next 24 months. This could send a small ripple through the lower end of the market and unless handled carefully, the perfect storm could precipitate a tumble in prices.

This isn’t going to be overnight though, and my feeling is that we’re still on the upward curve. Just last week we agreed an asking price deal on a property in deepest darkest Harpenden, which goes to show that while demand remains strong, the buyers are out there and it’s worth holding your nerve just for now, but if you’re thinking of taking the leap, I wouldn’t wait until next Christmas to make the decision.

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If you’re interested in hearing more about the new tax rules for Landlords, or you’re interested in learning about how rising population numbers is something we all need to be concerned about, you might be interested in attending St Albans Property Network which is held on the third Wednesday of every month at St Michael’s Manor Hotel. The next event is on Wednesday the 20th of January and we have some fantastic speakers lined up for the new year, including Stephen Bown from the charity ‘Population Matters’ and Kevin Griffiths of Keycrest Accounting.