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Dorchester housing market on the up but Weymouth and Portland on the slide
THE housing market has rallied in south and west Dorset with a rise in the number of homes sold over the past year.
The new figures from the Land Registry revealed that the housing market looked to have turned the corner with buyers returning to the sector.
Prices moved around between June 2012 and June 2013 but the number of properties sold has soared – and nearly doubled in Dorchester.
The statistics showed that the average house price for the quarter of April to June 2013 was £271,089 in the Dorchester DT1 postcode zone compared with £260,507 for the same quarter in 2012.
It was £201,962 in the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council area in April to June 2013 compared with £211,680 in the same quarter in 2012.
But the number of properties sold shot up to 267 in Weymouth from 230 over the same period. In Dorchester they nearly doubled from 70 to 133.
Estate agents in Dorchester and Weymouth said that the market had been improving with more enquiries, instructions, viewings and sales.
Maria Kemp, managing director of Dorchester-based Kemp & Co, said the market started picking up at the beginning of the year.
“From the word go it felt like a very different market and it is very exciting.
“We expect things to tail off during August but we haven’t seen that. It has been quite steady and the instructions and sales have been as good as the previous month.
“On the whole things have remained really good across the board.”
Mrs Kemp said that people have been more realistic about prices and have been doing their research before coming on to the market.
Prices in Dorchester dipped from £260,507 in the second quarter of 2012, April to June, to £255,721 in the third quarter, July to September.
They rallied to £267,531 in the fourth quarter of last year, October to December, before dipping to £251,416 in the first quarter of this year, January to March, and then rising again by £20,000 to £271,089 for April to June of this year.
The prices in Weymouth went from £211,680, to £200,670, then £199,286 and £207,037 before just dipping to the figure of £201,962 for April to June of this year.
The overall Dorset average house price for June 2013, according to the Land Registry, was £210,246 – an increase of 1.1 per cent on the year and 0.5 per cent on the month.
At their peak in the housing boom, average property prices for the county overall were shown by the Land Registry to hit £238,655 in January 2008 and £240,086 in February 2008.
Robert Wilson, of Wilson Tominey estate agents in Weymouth, said that they had become much busier and were selling more units.
He said that sellers may have been waiting to go on to the market and been spurred into action by the slight rise in the market but added that he hoped it would remain at a steady pace rather than boom.
He said: “It is not fair on the new starters. We don’t want an overpaced market place.”
The number of sales in Dorchester was 70 in the second quarter of 2012 (April to June), which increased to 101 in the third quarter and 102 in the fourth quarter.
“It slowed to 85 in the first quarter of this year before shooting up to 133 in the second quarter of April to June 2013.
In Weymouth the number of sales went from 230 to 214, 211 and 208 before rocketing up to 267 in the second quarter, April to June, of this year.
Mark Bonnett, director at Hull Gregson and Hull, said that the market had been better post Olympics – since last November – and that there was no way prices had dropped in Weymouth.
He said: “The market has been much improved in activity, enquiries, the number of offers and sales we have had.”
He added: “The market is firmer and stronger than it has been since 2009.”
Mr Bonnett said that he was hoping the market would continue to stay reasonably firm and that reasonably priced properties will continue to sell.
Coun Ray Nowak, who is the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council spokesman for housing, said it could mean that the economy was picking up with there being more jobs and more chance of people getting on the housing ladder.
Trends are reflected in the regional figures
THE trend in Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester is reflected in regional figures.
The latest RICS Residential Market Survey for July 2013 showed that the amount of potential buyers looking to enter the market rose, as a net balance of 36 per cent more chartered surveyors reported increases in demand in the region.
New figures from Right Move showed that the housing market revival is continuing despite August seeing the first dip in sellers’ asking prices this year so far.
Asking prices edged down by 1.8 per cent month-on-month to £249,199 on average – but a string of price increases seen over the last seven months means that they are still £20,000 higher now than at the start of 2013.
- April to June 2012 (Q2): £260,507 and 70 sales
- July to Sept 2012 (Q3): £255,721 and 101 sales
- Oct to Dec 2012 (Q4): £267,531 and 102 sales
- Jan to Mar 2013 (Q1): £251,416 and 85 sales
- April to June 2013 (Q2): £271,416 and 133 sales
- April to June 2013 property type breakdown: Detached house/bungalow: £354,444 Flat/maisonette: £234,508 Semi-detached house/bungalow: £276,283 Terraced house/bungalow: £219,122
- April to June 2012 (Q2): £211,680 and 230 sales
- July to Sept 2012 (Q3): £200,670 and 214 sales
- Oct to Dec 2012 (Q4): 199,286 and 211 sales
- Jan to Mar 2013 (Q1): £207,037 and 208 sales
- April to June 2013 (Q2): £201,962 and 267 sales
- April to June 2013 property type breakdown: Detached house/bungalow: £282,459 Flat/maisonette: £142,117 Semi-detached house/bungalow: £217,848 Terraced house/bungalow: £201,962
Family hoping for share of property
A FAMILY of four is hoping a shared ownership scheme might be the answer to their housing hopes.
The Lewis family have been renting for 10 years after being unable to get on the property ladder.
Now they are hoping to gain one of the new shared ownership properties in the Pemberly development of 176 new homes at Littlemoor in Weymouth.
Mum Mandy, dad Leslie and children Hayley, nine, and Demi, seven, have been living in their current rented house in Buddleia Close for two months but hope to realise their dream of a permanent home.
Mandy says they could have put all the money paid in rent over the past decade to go towards a house.
She said: “We are looking at the Pemberly development and would like to get on the list as soon as possible. It is half buy and half rent. It is the only way we can afford it at the moment.”
She added: “We are a family of four now and were in our last house for four years but had to get out. We’ve been in the place where we are now for two months.”
Mandy agreed with people who said that rents were too high. She said that only her husband works as she is disabled.
She said that if they were able to get one of the new homes at Pemberly the children wouldn’t need to move from St Andrew’s Primary School.
She added that if they were able to gain one of the properties they would hope to be able to buy the rest of the equity in it in 10 years time.
She said: “It is positive as we could eventually own it all.”
Pemberly is a Raglan Housing project being built by FH Cummings Unlimited.
It will include a mix of energy efficient one, two and three bedroom homes for affordable rent and shared ownership.
Concerns that new bubble may expand
CONCERNS have been raised about the prospect of property prices rising again and another housing bubble.
Margaret Barker, chairman of the Dorchester Poverty Action Group, said affording a home was very difficult for many in the area.
She said: “For quite a long time it has been beyond the reach of what I would have thought to be the majority of people under 35 in this area.”
She said that wages do not match the increase in house prices but also stressed that there were knock-on effects in the rental market with prices going up there too.
She said that as landlords paid more to buy properties they would have to charge more rent to cover their costs and that there was a gap between what some landlords were charging and what tenants on housing benefits could afford. Ms Barker added: “I think there should be a cap on rent.”
Campbell Robb, who is chief executive of Shelter, said: “Behind every rise in house prices is a generation of young people and families desperate to get on the housing ladder.
“For them, any rise means thousands of pounds piled onto the cost of the average home, and years stuck in unstable private renting while their dream of home-ownership drifts further out of reach.
“Unless the government takes radical action to build more homes, the reality is that many families and young couples will be left with the prospect of giving up on their dreams of a home of their own.”
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