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The start of 2023 in the world of Yorkshire Dales property has been surprisingly spritely, even more so than in previous years, including the infamous post-Covid boom we saw nationwide. Motivated sellers appear to be keen to get ahead after a premature quietening to the annual Christmas market due to the uncertainty caused by the autumn mini-budget.
In our Leyburn branch, we saw record numbers of instructions, up 120% on January 2022 and up an impressive 266% on January 2021 figures. Registered buyers have also increased, proving that there are buyers still out there looking for their perfect home, whether that be a permanent rural base, a second home for escapism or a commercial investment.
We are hopeful this buoyancy will provide some reassurance, despite the pessimistic headlines and the ever-changing mortgage market, which is slowly appearing to stabilise.
One area of uncertainty in the local market is the decision by North Yorkshire County Council to become the first local authority to introduce a 100% council tax premium on second homes – a move made to address the affordable housing crisis faced within the Dales and surrounding rural locations. The scheme will come into force from 1st April 2024 with some allowances provided, notably for second-home owners who let their properties for a minimum of 70 days per year.
While some second-home owners will start to think more commercially about their asset, I expect some will simply not make the most of their property and choose to sell. Indeed, 38% of the market appraisals we have carried out in the last three months have been second homes, with vendors questioning whether to release their properties now in a bid to avoid an anticipated mass exit later this year and into 2024.
The supply and demand balance has always been somewhat out of kilter in our area and there will undoubtedly always be a market for those looking for their dream bolthole. Therefore, we may see a slightly calmer response to the introduction of the tax premium by vendors as we move closer to the April 2024 start. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds throughout the typically busy spring/summer season. It will also be interesting to see what proportion of the properties that are released by second-home owners are bought as permanent homes.
The average house price in the Dales currently sits at £400,000 in comparison to the national average of £296,000, proving that property in the locality, whatever its purpose, is still a very valuable asset.
Should you be interested in finding out what your home is worth in the Yorkshire Dales and Richmondshire, please contact our Leyburn branch for your no-obligation free market appraisal.