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House prices up and more jobs forecast for South West

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 10, 2013

By Phil Goodwin, WMN reporter, Twitter: @Goodwin_Phil

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There was good news in the South West jobs and housing markets with rising property prices and a steady increase in recruitment predicted next year.

Surveyor expectations of increased sales activity in 2014 hit record levels last month, according to a new survey, which also revealed a ten-year high in confidence that prices would climb.

Meanwhile, a poll of 190 employers across the six-county region showed that 6% more firms are planning to 'hire than fire' over the coming 12 months.

Experts said permanent vacancies were up in Plymouth and described Exeter as "booming" but there were also warnings about the depressed state of the construction industry, which is not building anywhere near enough houses to satisfy demand.

Exeter's Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said the upturn was welcome after such a long period of "zero growth" but warned that wages were lagging far behind and there was a housing bubble "based on debt, consumer spending and property" was being created.

"The gap between real wages and housing costs in the Westcountry is now higher than ever and people on middle and low incomes are not feeling any benefit from an upturn."

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that a balance of 91% more members expect sales levels to increase from January, the largest number since the survey began 14 years ago.

Some 45% more predict prices to continue their upward trend rather than fall back over the coming three months, the highest since 2003.

RICS said that despite the lack of stock coming onto the market, the average number of homes sold per chartered surveyor in the three months to November, was 21, the highest figure since November 2007.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: "If there is not meaningful increase in new homes, the likelihood is that prices, and for that matter rents, will continue to push upwards making the cost of shelter ever more unaffordable."

In a separate poll, recruitment firm Manpower surveyed 2,100 companies nationwide, including 190 in the South West, as to their staffing plans

The region bettered by 1% the national average of 5% intending to take on staff.

But the 6%, though above the -3% found at the start of 2012, is down from 12% in the second quarter of 2013.

Andrew Shellard, operations manager, said there was a shortage of people with engineering, telesales and legal experience, but said the building industry remains "depressed".

Workers on benefits up 108%

One working person every five minutes is being forced into claiming Housing Benefit as the number of claimants in the South West doubles in four years, a report says.

The number of employed people claiming Housing Benefit in England has risen by 104% since 2009, with a further 310 added every day, at a total cost to the taxpayer of more than £12 billion over the period – or £1.7 million a day – according to the National Housing Federation (NHF).

The regional rise in employed claimants was 108%, the third highest of the nine regions after the North West and the East Midlands. Private rents are also predicted to rise by 40% and house prices 33% by 2020, putting more strain on families and the public purse.

In its Home Truths report, the NHF called on the Government to do more to build affordable homes in the capital and other growth areas where the housing market is “overheating”, warning that failure to provide homes in sought-after areas has pushed rents beyond what ordinary working families can afford.

David Orr, NHF chief executive, said: “We hear a lot about making work pay, but a decent job won’t even cover the cost of a home in England.”

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12 comments

  • westwelsh  |  March 10 2014, 8:12PM

    Agriculture is Cornwall's biggest employer, the maritime industries can also be resurgent. An independent Kernow, with strong EU ties, freed from the shackles of Westminster / English rule could flourish. A Kernow which had its own law-making and tax setting powers could bring prosperity for all Cornish people. First to go would be the second and holiday homes, bringing the price of Cornish homes down so that local people could afford to buy them.

    Rate   -12
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  • hello_world  |  December 11 2013, 4:31PM

    Rents should be coming down. Mortgage rates are still exceptionally low. Greedy landlords are a scurge on society.

    Rate   -1
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  • BS_Hater  |  December 11 2013, 3:33PM

    Rents will NOT rise 40% this is pure media panic mongering. I am a landlord, most of my rents are around the £600 per month mark for large 2 bed apartments, many including services. I have increased my rents by around £20 per month in the last 5 years 3.33% for sake of argument, well below any inflation figure for the period. So lets not bang on about landlords, if you were not renting you would be mortgaged and believe me if you try to skip a month and catch up with a mortgage company the reaction would be a lot less favorable than that of the average landlord. For a start asking your landlord to skip a month and catch up will not affect your credit record, will not attract threatening letters or bailiffs. In addition to this remember that all repairs are free, your mortgage company wont pay for your new £3k boiler.. If you do not like your landlord or his service then move on and rent elsewhere. Surprising how many tenants are quite happy to sit in an 'awful' property and moan instead of simply getting up and going...

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  • BS_Hater  |  December 11 2013, 3:31PM

    And one more point, try comparing rents here to Bournemouth for example, around £200 - £300 more for the same property..

    Rate   3
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  • BS_Hater  |  December 11 2013, 3:30PM

    Rents will NOT rise 40% this is pure media panic mongering. I am a landlord, most of my rents are around the £600 per month mark for large 2 bed apartments, many including services. I have increased my rents by around £20 per month in the last 5 years 3.33% for sake of argument, well below any inflation figure for the period. So lets not bang on about landlords, if you were not renting you would be mortgaged and believe me if you try to skip a month and catch up with a mortgage company the reaction would be a lot less favorable than that of the average landlord. For a start asking your landlord to skip a month and catch up will not affect your credit record, will not attract threatening letters or bailiffs. In addition to this remember that all repairs are free, your mortgage company wont pay for your new £3k boiler.. If you do not like your landlord or his service then move on and rent elsewhere. Surprising how many tenants are quite happy to sit in an 'awful' property and moan instead of simply getting up and going...

    Rate   2
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  • hstmtu4000  |  December 10 2013, 6:46PM

    How can rising house prices be good news for most house buyers locally in an area dominated by low wage/part time work and at time generally when wages are stagnating or falling and the cost of living is rising. Of course its good news for landlords and their "investments" as local people are then forced by the "market" to pay sky high rents. But the big problem I see is that the housing market locally is being fuelled not by locals but by people selling at grossly inflated prices in London and the Home Counties in particular who are able to move to Devon and Cornwall because they are easily able to afford the rising house prices. The coalition government continues to put its faith in market forces to solve the problem, except when it suites them to do otherwise, and of course the "market" will provide, but only at a cost and that cost is a lost generation, as house prices are pushed ever more out of many locals reach. I think we have been there before in the past but I never thought I would see those times come again in my life time. Hold on folks its going to be an increasingly rough ride to come for many in the 21st century.

    Rate   4
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  • break  |  December 10 2013, 6:22PM

    What good news,house proces have risen so now you definately can't afford that house you wanted,instead it'll go to someone who can afford it (they won't be from Cornwall then).And there's supposedly going to be more jobs available,maybe those who just lost their jobs might find other ones,or maybe these promised jobs might always just be around the next corner,like they always are.But the really bad news is,since the county of Cornwall has had the nerve of becoming so full of houses that there's no space left to build any more,you're all going to be doomed to having to sell your houses,because you can't afford to keep them,and you'll have to live in the alleyways of all these new houses,seeking out the remainder of the Cornish people that live there with you.Maybe we could live down the mines?

    Rate   3
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  • Cottage Farm Organics  |  December 10 2013, 5:29PM

    "good news in the South West jobs and housing markets with rising property prices" Really? Sounds like bad news to me. Much better for all of us if house prices come down to a level affordable on Cornish salaries. One way to achieve that would be to compulsorily purchase all second homes/ any houses occupied for less than 9 months in any one year at build cost and release them to first time buyers. So many problems solved in one go - magic!

    Rate   -9
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  • jennyplym  |  December 10 2013, 1:02PM

    BjinHelston I have a friend in the same boat her house was valued by 3 different Estate Agents at £320.000 in May 2012 she went on the market at £314.995 could not sell dropped price to £299.000 still could not sell she has now dropped price to £269.000 lots of viewings but no offers they all love the house large 4 bed det sea views large private garden 3 receptions etc in excellent order but those who would like her house cant sell either. The only houses that are selling are New Builds with Government help, or first time buyers or houses under £170.000 most houses above are not selling look in the Homeseeker same houses every week The Government should have increased stamp duty from £250.000 to £400.000 that would get the middle and top end moving. As for all these new Jobs the vast majority are either part time on low wages or Zero Contract many of them are not even permenant positions. the only people to benefit from the small recovery is the rich. Gas up Electri up Council Tax up Food prices up wages the same no rises last time I had a pay rise was 1% 3 years ago Oh and National Insurance keeps going up too, so any pay rise is snuffed out. Its all rubbish.

    Rate   9
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  • Explymouthguy  |  December 10 2013, 11:34AM

    Fantastic news! An even bigger return on my houses that i bought when the market crashed all those years ago before i left Plymouth.

    Rate   -6
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