The local market here in Truro and surrounding areas have seen some peaks of high demand followed by some really tough weeks where agents across the city have reported buyers enquirers down on the same period in the previous year. So what's the really story with the housing market? I spent a bit of time looking at what is being reported to the media and the picture is very confusing.
The Office for National Statistics reported in December 2015 that the UK average house price was £288,000, up 6.7% over the year, while Land Registry reported in January 2016 that the average house price was £191,812, up 7.1% over the year. That is quite a difference! Halifax reported to the media in January 2016 that the UK average was £212,430, up 9.7% in the year, while Nationwide reported in February 2016 that the UK average was £196,930, up 4.8% in the year. Again, quite a difference.
As always, London and the South East always seems to skew the figures as prices are being inflated by heavy demand and interest from overseas buyers. That being said, the local market in Cornwall is seeing a steady increase of perhaps 2.5% - 3% year on year but is being pegged back by local wages. The rental market still seems to be buoyant and despite the recent changes in stamp duty imposed by the government BTL still looks at attractive prospect with good rates of return especially compared to the poor interest rates offered to savers.
The land registry is the only data that gives a 100% accurate picture on the state of the market and the only one I tend to trust. The data on sales transactions has just been released and shows that transactions countrywide have fallen again year on year to 0.88m in 2015. What is also shows, as fact, is that house prices here in Cornwall have risen by 3% in 2015, a positive view but well behind the national average of 6.1%.
So what's really going on locally? The best suggestion is to talk to those 'on the ground' dealing with properties in and around the city on a daily basis. The media spins its own story and can cast a confusing cloud over things.
Quality advice from a local agent, who knows the area well, is the best source of information. Some parts of Cornwall will always be high in demand and certain property types are all sought by buyers. Knowing the specific details of the local market is what makes the difference between selling your house and just listing it on Rightmove and waiting for a buyer to come along.
It really is a case of don't believe all you read on the internet!