2009 buoyant for UK Prime property markets – Primelocation

Yorkshire and the Humber saw price growth of 9.6% in 2009 – the highest of all the regions (excluding Scotland and Wales). This growth was driven by above average price rises in the Spring as Leeds in particular saw an extremely low level of new stock coming on to the market at a time of increasing demand.

The region’s top end rural properties, including bespoke manor houses and converted barns, have also been able to command a significant price premium throughout the downturn.

London and the South East also retained their places as the leading and most expensive Prime property markets with annual price increases of 7.9% and 6.1%. This strong performance has been fuelled by a cautious upswing in consumer confidence and bolstered by sustained demand from wealthier UK and international buyers with access to equity, cash and finance.

In the Prime Platinum tier, the East Midlands joined London and Yorkshire and the Humber to lead the price recovery. The regions recorded year on year increases of 6.1%, 10.9% and 10.8% respectively.

The Prime markets in Scotland and Wales have remained more robust than the others in 2009, affected by slightly different market forces and sustained by a number of new top-end developments as their Prime markets evolve.

The end of the year has seen Prime prices cool marginally as the market entered into a traditional and seasonal slowdown period. However, Primelocation.com data indicates that there is a high propensity among wealthy buyers to purchase property in the New Year which will boost activity and help to buoy prices.

Andrew Smith, Head of Research at Primelocation.com, said: "The UK’s Prime property markets have performed well over the course of 2009, with their strong annual price growth carving a path towards recovery for the wider UK market to follow.

"As the economy continues to rally, pulling stocks and the financial markets with it, consumer confidence is expected to return more assertively, fuelling further interest in Prime property, particularly among a group of wealthy UK and international buyers from the United States, France, Spain and the UAE.

"While we have a way to go before the underlying market foundations return to normal, London buyers seem willing to take the long-term view once again, reverting to ‘business as usual’. As a consequence, we can certainly expect to see City bonuses being channelled into the London property market in 2010, albeit at potentially lower levels than in previous years given the one-off tax introduced by the Government in the Pre Budget Report.

"Confidence has been further bolstered by Party Conference season, with voters looking forward to the possibility of a new Government in 2010, and this will filter out further to the regional Prime property markets in the New Year as sentiment and activity pick up."

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