Market Insight: September 2020
Property activity across Wirral and Cheshire West has seen an unexpected revival since reopening in May as buyers continue to show strong confidence in the market.
A combination of transport networks and diversity in property types mean that, barring moving directly into a city, you can easily find somewhere to suit both lifestyle and employment needs.
Given the local property market continues to thrive amid global uncertainty, is the Wirral now a more desirable place to live than before?
The map (above) shows that, pre-lockdown, the majority of applicants who registered through Karl Tatler already live in Wirral and Cheshire West areas. There are also a couple of minor hotspots in Liverpool and Chester, but over 80% of all buyers already live locally.
Given the availability of public transport options and road networks to Liverpool and Chester, the Wirral provides the ideal setting for commuters without the hassle of city centre living. The other major employment hub in the North-West, Manchester, requires a much longer commute. This means that, as the data shows, far fewer applicants look at moving to the Wirral from Manchester.
Looking at the months after lockdown (May to August), there has been a significant shift in buyer activity across Wirral and Cheshire West. For a start, the volume of enquires have significantly increased as demand for Wirral property has reached unprecedented levels in recent months.
Many of these are still local residents, but we’ve witnessed much higher volumes of applicant registrations from surrounding areas than before lockdown. The map (above) shows the increase in buyer registrations from Liverpool, Chester, North Wales and even Manchester, which account for around 25% of all enquiries since lockdown.
The coronavirus continues to have an impact on the UK economy with many still opting to work from home where possible. This is certainly the case for many city centre based companies who would typically see large numbers pass through their doors each day.
As a result, locations like the Wirral have become much more appealing to buyers from these areas now the pressure of commuting has been lifted for the foreseeable future. Wirral and Cheshire West properties also provide great value when it comes to additional space; ideal for those who now have more time to spend outdoors.
The number of buyer registrations is only an indicator as to how well a market is performing, particularly given the pent-up demand created during several weeks of lockdown. Once the market was given the green light to reopen in May, would this interest turn into concrete sales activity?
According to Rightmove transaction data, the number of sales agreed across Wirral and Cheshire West have hit record levels for three months in a row (June – August). Data in the above chart highlights how sales recovered from extremely low numbers in April to a stable level much higher than the market experienced in 2019.
Pent-up demand in June and a SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) holiday announcement in July could be accountable for year-on-year sales increases of 44% and 35% respectively, but there were still question marks about how stimulated the market would be in August.
According to Rightmove data, August also saw a huge year-on-year sales increase of 41%, which means the market is only 1.1% down at this point in the year compared to 2019. Given how deflated the market became during lockdown, coupled with the ongoing economic issues, this is fantastic news to report.
It remains to be seen how long the records will continue to tumble, but given the increased demand for Wirral and Cheshire West property from the surrounding cities, plus the continued SDLT holiday scheme, it doesn’t look like slowing down just yet.