eMoov reveals first national hotspots index for 2016 charting property demand across the UK

Leading fixed fee estate agent, eMoov.co.uk, has released the first National Hotspots Index of 2016, providing a look at how the UK property market has behaved over the first three months of the year.

The latest Property Hotspots Index, produced by eMoov.co.uk, records 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.

eMoov found that despite the rush to complete ahead of April’s stamp duty deadline, property demand across the UK as a whole fell by -5% during Q1 of 2016, now at 39% overall – although demand is up +9% when compared to the same period in 2015.

Top 10 Hottest Spots
London’s outer boroughs and commuter belt continue to outperform the rest of the country where property demand is concerned. With demand at 72%, the London Borough of Bexley remains the hottest spot in the UK once again. Bristol (68%) climbs from third to second hottest spot in the country, still the most in demand locations outside of the capital and surrounding commuter belt. Bedford (66%) jumps four places to take the third hottest spot in the UK.

Cambridge and Watford (62%) both retain their top 10 status, although both have dropped down the rankings and now sit outside the top five hottest spots. Sutton (61%) also drops one place to claim the 10th hottest spot in the UK.

However, with the London commuter belt continuing to increase in demand, Medway (63%) and Milton Keynes (61%) make a first appearance in the top 10 at fifth and ninth. Aylesbury (63%) also returns to the top 10 (sixth) for the first time since the start of 2015. However, with demand currently at 65%, Ipswich explodes into the top 10 for the first time, now the fourth hottest location for UK property demand. With a direct commute into Liverpool Street of just over an hour, Ipswich’s new found demand shows the ever increasing boundaries of the London commuter zone, as buyers search further afield for affordable property.

Top 10 Biggest Climbers (Q2Q)
The first quarter of 2016 has seen both Aberdeen and Durham resurrected from the depths of the UK property market. Although demand in both Aberdeen (15%) and Durham (27%) is still considerably lower than the UK average (39%), the previous dire state of the property market in both locations means that even the smallest green shoots of a property demand increase, have been enough to make them the first and second highest climbers in Q1 respectively.

The declining Scottish oil industry has hit Aberdeen hard, with it consistently ranking as the coldest spot for property demand in the UK. But there is hope for Aberdeen homeowners and, although demand is only at 15% currently, this +50% increase over the last quarter has seen property demand return to the same level as this time last year and move Aberdeen off the bottom spot.

Durham also seems to be flourishing under its title of one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Not only this but the region has seen some of the biggest drops in house prices in the North East, down -5% over the last year alone. This mixture of affordable housing and even more affordable living is clearly popular with buyers in the area at present, as Durham is not only the second-biggest climber in the last three months (+42%) but has also enjoyed the biggest increase in demand over the last year across the whole UK (+90%).

Stoke-on-Trent (+37%) is the third highest climber, flying the Midlands flag with Walsall (+28%) as the eighth highest climber.

It would seem the Northern Powerhouse is starting to make an impact, particularly in Yorkshire, with Wakefield (+33%) the fourth highest climber over the last quarter and fifth over the course of the last year (+53%). Wakefield is joined by Leeds (+31%) in fifth, Sunderland (+29%) sixth and Bradford (+29%) seventh in terms of growth over the last quarter, with Bradford having also made the list of most affordable cities in the UK.

Rhondda Cynon Taf (+26%) is the only Welsh entry in the top 10 highest climbers in the last quarter, with South Lanarkshire (+23%) joining Aberdeen as the second Scottish entry, completing the highest climbers over the last quarter.

Top 10 Biggest Climbers (YoY)
As well as those enjoying the largest demand increase both over the last quarter and year on year, the following locations have also enjoyed large demand increases since Q1 2015.

Second North Lanarkshire (+67%), third Barnet (+57%), fourth Sandwell (+56%), sixth Bolton (+45%), seventh Gloucester (+42%) and 10th Manchester (+40%).

Top 10 Coldest Spots
Aberdeen’s shift up the table means it is now only the fifth coldest spot in the UK (15%). It has been replaced by the boroughs of Westminster (12%) and Kensington and Chelsea (12%) as the coldest spots in the nation, as prime central London property demand remains almost non-existent.

Despite the slight resurgence in the North East by Durham and Sunderland, the area continues to perform poorly overall. With demand at 13%, North Tyneside is the third coldest spot, with Stockton-On-Tees (15%) in fourth and Northumberland (17%) in sixth remaining in the top 10 coldest spots for the second consecutive index. Sunderland (18%) in ninth is the final North East entry, although as for mentioned the area has enjoyed a big increase in the last quarter and so looks to be joining Durham as part of the North East revival.

The top 10 is completed by the London Borough of Southwark (17%) in seventh, Bradford (18%) eighth and Hammersmith and Fulham (19%) 10th, as the coldest spots for property demand across the UK.

Founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, commented:

“Interesting to see that despite the rush ahead of April’s stamp duty deadline, the UK market as a whole has cooled during the first half of the year. Although it’s undoubtedly a seasonal influence due to the festive period, it would seem that those looking to push through a second home or buy to let purchase, didn’t have the overall demand impact that many thought they would.

“Ipswich, Milton Keynes and Medway making the top 10 hottest locations for the first time highlight the expanding parameter of London’s commuter belt, as the hunt for affordable commuter friendly property continues.

“The Northern Powerhouse seems to be rearing its head particularly with the likes of Wakefield, Bradford and Leeds seeing some of the biggest increases in property demand in the last quarter. Our local property directors in both Leeds and Bradford have been rushed off their feet of late with the number of valuation requests they’ve received, so it would seem a good time to sell if you’re a homeowner in Yorkshire.

“There’s also reassuring news for homeowners in Aberdeen and Durham. Both have had a hard time of late and so the news that demand for property in each is on the up should come as welcome news to many. Neither are out of the woods just yet, but the reverse in previous downward trends is better than a slap in the face, that’s for sure.

“It’s fascinating how Bristol has remained hot for a long time now. It isn’t necessarily the first place you think of in terms of property demand outside London and the South East, but as this research proves, it clearly has the right mix of ingredients to attract strong demand from UK buyers on a consistent basis.”