Prime property markets in key UK towns set to see continued demand

Taylor Scott International News

Price growth for prime properties in key urban markets in the UK is likely to continue this year, driven by growing demand among buyers, new research suggests. In particular demand for properties in key town and city locations such as Oxford, Bath, Bristol and Cheltenham with access to good schools, transport links and amenities is expected to be high. They are attractive to buyers from London, including commuters, as infrastructure improvements make them and their amenities more accessible, according to the research from real estate firm Knight Frank. These include the electrification of the Great Western rail line to London from Bristol and Bath and the new Oxford Parkway railway station just opened to the north of the city. Annual price growth for prime properties in the Oxford city market eased to 1.3% in 2015, but the research suggests that as Oxford’s economy is diverse, led by IT, high tech manufacturing and publishing and the city’s hospitals and two universities are major employers, demand from local buyers is ever present. ‘Activity is expected to remain strong in early 2016, especially as some buyers look to complete purchases ahead of the introduction of new stamp duty rules which have the potential to impact a small section of the market,’ the report says. The report points out that annual price growth for prime properties in the Bath city market was 4.5% in 2015, compared to a 3.1% rise across the wider prime country market and this outperformance reflects the continued demand among buyers for prime properties in city centre locations. Bath is an international tourist destination home to a wealth of museums, Georgian streets and other attractions that mark it out as a desirable place to live and visit, including a compact city centre with a good retail offering. This was underlined by a 6% rise in the number of potential buyers registering their interest in purchasing a home in Bath through Knight Frank year on year, a 15% jump in sales volumes over the same period and a 43% increase in the number of people searching for homes in Bath on Knight Frank’s website. A number of these individuals were relocating or looking to relocate from the capital. Knight Frank data shows that outside of the Home Counties, Bath along with Oxford was the most popular location for Londoners looking to move in 2015. ‘The prospect of more regular services between Bath and London from 2017 as a result of improvements being made to both the track and the trains will make commuting an even more viable option,’ the report explains. Property prices in Bristol rose by 6.6% in 2015 driven by the growing trend among buyers for properties in key town and city markets with access to good schools, transport links and amenities and a lack of available properties for sale has been the biggest driver of the market in Bristol over the last year, according to the report. Stock levels were at… Taylor Scott International

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