In the last half of 2020, the UK housing market was remarkably busy. Towns and small cities, including Preston, saw particularly high rates of property transactions.
The UK housing market has remained resilient in the past year. The last half of 2020 saw unprecedented levels of demand, which caused house prices to increase to a six-year high.
The stamp duty holiday has led to a surge in property transactions. Additionally, successive lockdowns has caused many people to reassess their housing priorities. With the extension and tapering end to the stamp duty holiday and the increase in mortgage availability, the housing market is seeing the strongest spring season for sellers in a decade.
Paul Coss, co-founder and specialist mortgage broker at Haysto, says: “The impact of COVID-19 changed the property market in 2020 nationwide. I believe when we come out of lockdown and the economy starts to bounce back, this could be a good year to move or get on the property ladder.
“Next month lenders are due to launch new mortgage deals with more flexible lending criteria to encourage more people to move home. It’s much-needed to support those who’ve been impacted by COVID-19 such as furloughed staff, self-employed, or people who’ve seen their credit affected by financial struggles.”
What areas performed the best?
Haysto analysed government data to find out which towns and cities saw the highest rate of property purchases in 2020. There were certain locations in the UK that saw particularly strong housing markets even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the last year, UK towns and small cities led the way. Three out of the top four towns and cities with the highest rates of property purchases are located in the north of England or the Midlands. Many buyers and investors are taking advantage of the more affordable property prices often found in these regions.
Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire saw the highest rate of property purchases with 403 transactions per 10,000 people. Pontefract, West Yorkshire followed with 328 sales. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk came in third with 320.1 purchases.
Highlight on Preston
A particularly exciting location on the list is Preston, which saw the fourth highest rate of property purchases per 10,000 people with 319.7 sales. Preston is the only city in the top 10. With a population of 99,760, there was a total of 3,189 property purchases in 2020.
Located between the major cities of Manchester and Liverpool, Preston has become an attractive city to purchase property in. Seeing significant investment and regeneration, Preston has been named the best city to live and work in the north-west for the fourth year in a row.
House prices in the city in the north-west are well below the national average. With access to a wider range of budgets, Preston is a major attraction for both first-time buyers and property investors.
Additionally, the city is home to lucrative rental yields and has become a prime property investment hotspot. Capital gains outlook also looks positive for the city. Many property investors are keen to get their foot in the door to maximise the potential price hikes.