The housing market has been hit by what one estate agent has described as a “perfect storm” with prices up by as much as 10-15 per cent in the last 12 months.
Estate agents are being besieged by frantic buyers with demand for homes far out-stripping supply, meaning people are bidding more than the asking price.
Paul Bottomley, who runs Whitegates in Mirfield and EweMove in Cleckheaton, said “bonkers” was the only word for the market right now.
“It’s a perfect storm and the market is just nuts,” he said. “I put five properties on the market a week last Sunday and all five had sold by the following Thursday – all above the asking price.
"I sold two the other day and one had 15 viewings and was going to best and final offers.
"The other, a first-time buyer two-bed semi property, we put on the market for £175,000. Two people wanted it and both offered above the asking price. One of them offered £10,000 above.”
A “perfect storm” of factors fuelling the housing market include:
More people working from home permanently and wanting more space.
Changing post-pandemic priorities meaning people want to move out of urban areas to more rural locations or move closer to family and friends.
The extension of the stamp duty holiday. No stamp duty has been paid on properties selling for up to £500,000 since last July. That had been due to end in March but it was extended to June 30 with a staggered return to previous rates through to the end of September.
Government-backed 95 per cent mortgages helping first-time buyers.
Continuing historically-low interest rates meaning mortgages are more affordable.
Families having more cash available or a bigger savings pot for a deposit after spending less during lockdown.
Buy-to-let landlords cashing in on sky-high prices by selling off properties to bank profits.
Paul Keighley, of Huddersfield-based Bramleys which has offices in Mirfield and Heckmondwike, said there was a “mini boom” and added: “We have sold some properties within 24 hours and some have gone even before they come onto the market.”
He said: “Lots of people are wanting good properties and there is a shortage of good quality properties coming onto the market. There’s a greater demand than supply.
“We are seeing an element of lockdown fever with people realising the properties they are in are no longer suitable for a variety of reasons.
“Also people haven’t been able to go on holiday so they have extra cash swilling about in their pockets. Even people who have been furloughed have saved a lot of money.”
Mark Watson, of Birstall-based Watsons who covers Birstall, Batley, Gomersal, Drighlington and Birkenshaw, described the market as “chaotic” and said: “There’s literally 10 or 12 people viewing each property and buyers have to move very quickly to secure the home they want.
"Due to the demand prices have increased by 10-15 per cent over the last 12 months. If you’d have asked me what would happen this time last year I would have predicted a 10-15 per cent decline and business levels to ease off.
“I think locally we have never fully recovered from the 2006-07 crash and families live such busy lives. The last year has given people time to think about what they want to do and we are now seeing the results.
“I have been selling houses locally for 35 years and I never experienced this level of demand. It’s unprecedented.”
Property hotspots in North Kirklees include Mirfield, Roberttown, Gomersal, Birkenshaw and parts of Cleckheaton.
Mark said one key driver for the local market was BBG Academy in Birkenshaw. The school is highly-regarded and parents are keen to move into the catchment area for their children.
So after the boom will there be a bust? Agents see the buying frenzy cooling and prices may level off or dip a little but the underlying conditions remain favourable to hold up the market.
Mr Bottomley said: “I don’t see a price crash. The Government aren’t going to put interest rates up as they want the public to spend on the high street and the banks have plenty of cash to lend.
"There may just be a slight price adjustment but then after the last 12 months who knows what is going to happen?”