Chester's Housing Market: where Chester people are moving

11th Oct 2023
Matthew Smith

Chester homeowners have benefitted from sizeable property rises in the last decade, but are these hikes now coming to an end? We take a look.

Major national publications splash headlines filled with pessimism about the UK housing market, citing issues such as buyer affordability caused by challenges with average salary growth not keeping up with inflation, higher interest rates also hitting buyer affordability, and the hangover of the pandemic making recruiting people hard work.

But these gloomy projections don't seem to resonate with the fact that Chester's property market activity in the past year closely mirrors the levels we saw in 2017-19.

This divergence might hint at the age-old notion: 'bad news sells newspapers'

To paint a clearer picture, let's delve deeper into Chester's property market nuances, focusing on the demographics of movers and their motivations.

Since September 2022, most property sales in Chester were semi-detached homes, selling for an average price of £303,120, with terraced properties sold for an average of £232,980 and flats fetching £181,520.

A closer look at Chester's homeowner sector in the last 12 months of housing data reveals the following:

  • 1,098 Chester households moved within the same ownership sector, implying they sold their home to purchase another.
  • 258 Chester households ended and exited home ownership (i.e., moved in with family, moved to a care home or sadly passed away).
  • 277 Chester households shifted from owning to private renting.
  • 24 Chester households moved from home ownership to social housing (i.e., Council Housing or Housing Association).
  • 584 Chester households shifted from private renting to homeownership.
  • 593 new Chester homeowner households emerged, transitioning from residing with family or friends to buying their first property without experiencing the private rental sector.

It is heartening to witness a robust influx of Chester first-time buyers securing their own homes despite the relentless doom and gloom portrayed in the media about the property market.

Remarkably, 593 of these first-time buyers have moved from a family member’s or friend’s into homeownership, showcasing the enduring spirit of people wanting to buy their home. Additionally, 584 households have left the private rented sector to become buyers, demonstrating a genuine aspiration among tenants to achieve homeownership.

This trend underscores the resilience and adaptability of aspiring homeowners amidst challenging times brought upon them by ever-peaking rental prices.

What does this data spell out for Chester's buy-to-let landlords?

On the surface, with 584 households moving from private rentals to homeownership and 277 moving the other way, there seems to be a slight contraction in the private sector.

While the number of British landlords, according to capital gains tax receipts, selling up has increased by around 45% in the last year compared to pre-pandemic levels, the number of landlords buying buy-to-let properties in Chester is only down by 19%.

There are new rental properties being created and, while numbers are lower than what we have seen in previous years, they are still growing by 177,000 households a year nationally.

So where are the opportunities for Chester landlords?

A golden opportunity for Chester's property investors lies in the 258 properties that went up for sale last year due to owners passing.

These homes are often maintained over several decades by loyal owners and feature high-capital improvements like double-glazing or central heating, but they might lack some contemporary aesthetics, having outdated decor or out-of-style fixtures from the 1980s.

Because of this, such properties often come at lower prices as many buyers overlook their potential due to dated appearances. A smart investment in renovating one of these older properties could lead to handsome profits when it comes to reselling.

It is imperative to put things in perspective. Regardless of global events - whether it's post Brexit, post-pandemic, potential political shifts in the US or China, interest rates, or stock market dynamics - Chester's property market remains robust in the mid to long-term framework.

Even if we witness minor value corrections in the upcoming 12 to 18 months, history has shown that property prices bounce back, and often with greater momentum.

This underscores the timeless advice to those venturing into the property market, be it first-time buyers, landlords, or homeowners: owning property is a marathon, not a sprint.

Commitment to the long haul invariably yields rewards - a philosophy that can be applied universally, don’t you think?