'Prop Int' - Not Grim Up North (Until The Election)

I meet many key property players and I'll share their 'Property Intelligence' with readers. Here is Chris Charlton, head of the nine northern residential offices of estate agency Savills.

Journalists get endless data on the central London and Home Counties markets – where prices are highest and agents earn their biggest fees – so it was refreshing to hear Chris's views on northern England.

He deals with top-end properties of course (£250,000 to many millions) and says:

- 83% of buyers are owner occupiers, with only 5% investors and 5% second homers;

- a whopping 24% of buyers work in the public sector, making the client base vulnerable to cuts if the new government clamps down as expected on public spending;

- the North-South gap is increasing: in 2004 a typical Home Counties house cost 80% more than a typical north-east house, but now the gap is 100%;

- you get a lot of house for your money up north...posh country piles in Hull or Nottingham cost £150 per square foot or even less, while even in uber-hyped Cheshire a Footballers’ Wives-style pad is £240 psf. In Kensington & Chelsea you’d pay £1,400psf;

- buy-to-let style flats, heavily over-supplied in Nottingham and Leeds, have been valued down around 30% since 2007.

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