• UK demand drops by 8% since February
• Demand in London has dropped 28% since February
• Demand remains level since September
• Glasgow enjoys the greatest rise in demand since February
• Westminster suffers greatest fall in demand down 42% since February

With winter having well and truly arrived it’s not just temperatures that have dropped across Britain. eMoov.co.uk have released their quarterly Property Hotspots Index review of the UK and the results show nationwide some of these Hotspots have turned to cold snaps as the property market has cooled by 8% since February.

The research conducted by Britain’s largest online estate agent eMoov.co.uk monitors the change in supply and demand for the most populated locations across the UK, by monitoring the total number of properties sold in comparison to those on sale. Having gathered and monitored this data since February, analysis of the results have shown the demand for property has fallen across the nation by 8% in comparison to previous figures.

As with most things property related in the UK in 2014, London takes the headlines with demand for property in the nation’s capital having dropped an alarming 28% since February. Although predicted to slow, it would seem the property boom in recent years that saw London house prices rocket to double the national average, has definitely begun to drop off.

Westminster, home to some of London’s most iconic landmarks, witnessed the biggest decline across the city. Demand for property in the central borough dropped by almost half (42%) in comparison to February’s figures and has declined consistently since June. With demand in December at just 17% it places Westminster 93rd in the table, 37 places behind the next London Borough.

The Borough of Westminster has the highest average property prices in the country (£1.7 million) and with the Autumn Stamp Duty reform only benefiting those paying up to £932,000, things are unlikely to pick up any time soon. Add to this the possible introduction of Mansion Tax if Labour win the next election and we could see Westminster fall ever further down the rankings.

As London’s property boom begins to fade it seems to have been joined by the capital’s Olympic legacy. The Olympic Village in Stratford brought rejuvenation and development to surrounding areas not to mention the masses of spectators and income generated through tourism. But two years down the line and although the legacy may live on, the four London Boroughs that straddle the development aren’t fairing quite as well.

All four have declined steadily since February with Hackney falling most notably with a 36% reduction in demand. Tower Hamlets and Newham also dropped by 35% and 33% respectively and although it fared slightly better there is still a 24% reduction in demand for property in Waltham Forest.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the South East, the London Borough of Bexley came out top once again with a staggering 71% demand for property. But as rising prices in the capital push more and more home-owners out of London the resulting ripple effect has seen an increase in popularity in the surrounding commuter friendly areas. As people look for that equilibrium between an affordable property and an easy commute, demand for property around and outside the M25 ring has risen.

With demand at 67% Reading had the second highest demand for property of all UK Hotspots, with Brentwood and Hillingdon also placing in the top ten with a 60% demand for property. It highlights the change the proposed Cross Rail development is having on towns due to benefit from its extension, as the commute to London will become significantly easier as a result. Sutton (65%), Watford (64%), Guildford (63%) and Medway (56%) also made the top ten as commuter friendly towns close to the capital.

Elsewhere around the country Bristol placed highly yet again at number six but demand for property in the West Country city has still fallen by 3% since February. Brighton also made the top ten with demand for property on the South coast at 62%, little surprise considering its recent coronation as the gazumping capital of the UK however even this accolade hasn’t seen demand return to the heights of last year.

With the results on the Scottish referendum breaking in September the stability of the country’s future seems to have bolstered stability in the Scottish property market. Demand for property in Scotland as a whole is up by 5% since February and the capital Edinburgh came 49th out of Britain’s hot spots, the highest of the Scottish entries. It was however Glasgow that has witnessed the most drastic turn around, demand in Scotland’s second city rose by a total of 28% since February, the biggest change across the whole of Britain.

Demand for property in Hull has risen 26% over the year closely followed by Doncaster and Bradford at 25%. Even Liverpool has enjoyed an increase of 9% in demand however not all of the major players from the North have enjoyed the same success. Demand in Leeds has dropped by 5% since February, Newcastle has dropped by 8% and demand in Manchester has plummeted by a substantial 14%.

Demand in the East Midlands see’s Derby come out on top with demand up by 3% in comparison to its rivals. At 36% it placed 43rd in the table, ten places higher than Nottingham (33%) and 12 places higher than Leicester (also 33%). Leicester continues to prop up the East Midlands in terms of yearly performance, down by 3% in comparison to its prospering adversaries with Nottingham up 1% and Derby running away with the plaudits with demand increasing by 3% since February.

Birmingham has remained almost static in its demand for property throughout the year, however as with London there has been a rise in the popularity of its surrounding areas. Coventry and Solihull both ranked higher for December demand than Birmingham although Solihull has suffered a decrease of 4% over the year as a whole. Demand in Coventry over the year has surpassed Birmingham and risen by 4%, this has increased even further in Wolverhampton (15%) and reached an impressive 18% increase in Walsall. But it is Shropshire that pips Walsall to the post with an overall increase in demand of 19% since February, the biggest change of Birmingham’s surrounding areas.

As already mentioned Brighton is enjoying high demand in December, but it’s not the only area on the South coast. Portsmouth had a 56% demand for property only two places behind Brighton and Southampton wasn’t far off the pace with 48%. However demand on the South coast has declined over the space of the year and Plymouth brings up the rear with not only the lowest property demand percentage for December (33%) but also the biggest drop over the course of the year at 19%. However for the past three years Portsmouth has been undergoing a rejuvenation project, with a similar vision to that of Southampton in previous years. The ‘Shaping the future of Portsmouth’ strategy aims to support local business growth, improve living standards and improve infrastructure and could see property demand in Portsmouth increase as a result.

Property expert Russell Quirk founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk “Our latest data goes to show that the property market in London has cooled right down, most notably in Westminster. People are starting to sacrifice the London lifestyle and opt for areas further out to commuter zones. But who can blame them with the advancements in transport making the commute to London a darn site easier, people can reach Central London quicker than they can watch an episode of Grand Designs.
This is evident with the ripple effect that’s spreading across the surrounding areas and even to the North with a staggering number of Northern locations enjoying a rise in demand. Although demand in December alone may have been lower in comparison to the South, overall the call for property in the North is increasing far greater than down South.

It’s also interesting to see those spots that may have declined in demand over the course of the year, but are very much growing in demand in the last month or so.

What will be even more interesting is when the next set of data is revealed whether or not the changes in Stamp Duty Tax have made a difference and which areas have benefited most. Our prediction is the demand for property up North will continue to increase and London will continue to drop and possibly even stagnate.”

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