PORTSMOUTH has one of the highest demands for housing in the UK with demand outstripping supply, according to new research.
The city has been named second in eMoov’s national hotspots index which looks at the property market across the UK’s 150 most populated towns and cities.
Portsmouth was only behind Rugby for buyer demand in properties for sale - with estate agents saying many people from London are attracted by relatively low prices.
But while the index shows people are keen to the move to the city, concerns have been raised whether it can cope with more residents – and increased demand will lead to prices rising, possibly preventing people getting on the housing ladder.
Estate agents across the city agree there has been a high demand for properties as Portsmouth becomes more desirable, with people from London looking for cheaper housing part of the reason whyChris Mckenzie, branch manager at Pearsons in Southsea, said: ‘Demand is ever-growing even though we have low stock and fewer properties coming to the market. It is ever-increasing with local buyers and people from outside the area.
‘Portsmouth is more desirable now but we don’t have much room to build houses in a great number.
‘In the last 10 years Portsmouth has improved more and more and it’s shaken off its “rough and ready” past reputation.’
Darren Brewer, from Brewers Sales and Lettings Agents, said that Portsmouth was proving popular due to its ongoing regeneration and that events such as the America’s Cup and Victorious had raised the profile of the city, making it more attractive.
He said: ‘People want to come to this city and that has a good knock-on effect for the local economy.
‘It might make it harder for first-time buyers to get on to the property market, as supply and demand dictates property prices.
‘But it is great for business.’
Kevin Ayers, branch manager at Mann Estate Agents in North End, also said a short supply of housing is contributing to the high demand.
He said: ‘We have got busier with selling houses since 2014, when the economy started to recover after it crashed.
‘A shortage of supply is the main reason for the high property demand, as there just aren’t enough properties here in Portsmouth and there are a lot of people who want to move here.’
McAndrew Martin chartered surveyors director Ian Lee, twice a chairman of the Portsmouth Property Association, said: ‘We have been incredibly busy in the first quarter of this year with unprecedented demand for surveys, which reflects the findings of the eMoov index.
‘The buyers are out there and properties are being sold almost immediately as they come to market. It is a sellers’ market with demand outstripping supply.’
Neil Martin, secretary of the Portsmouth Property Association, said: ‘The market is really active and properties are selling within one day. There’s a shortage in market availability but very strong demand. In some cases, we have 10 buyers fighting over one property.’
eMoov’s index looks at the balance between the supply and demand for housing stock in an area and gives a percentage score based on the level of stock available, to that which has already sold.
Rugby and Portsmouth took the top two spots, and Bristol came in third.
At the other end of the scale, Aberdeen had the lowest demand with Hartlepool and Middlesbrough also seeing low levels of interest.
Leader of Portsmouth City Council Donna Jones said: ‘The right to high quality affordable housing is something all citizens should have access to.
‘The government has taken bold steps over the last five years to assist people in getting onto the housing market. In Portsmouth we have a lack of space and pressure on our roads. Any future developments in the city must be carefully planned to ensure they are not creating additional pressures.
‘We are absolutely committed to protecting the cities valuable public open spaces and green areas.’
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackon, leader of Portsmouth’s Liberal Democrat Party, said he had concerns about how to cope with an increase of population.
‘House prices in Portsmouth are lower than similar-sized cities in the country,’ he said. ‘But my worry is how much we can cope with more people wanting to live here.
‘We need the infrastructure in place and more school spaces if people want to move to Portsmouth.
‘It is good that there is an interest but we need to be able to cope with it.’
Additional reporting: Lauren Medcraff
‘IT’S THE BUSIEST I’VE KNOWN THE MARKET IN 15 YEARS’
THE Portsmouth property market is on the up – and has been for a few years.
That’s the view of Chris Bull, the director of estate agents Lawson Rose in Winter Road, Southsea, who says terraced houses in the city are in greater demand than at any time in his 15-year career.
Mr Bull, who started Lawson Rose two years ago with schoolfriend Liam Bushnell, says that people moving from London into Portsmouth are a large part of the high demand, and that prices are creeping up.
‘People come down from London and see a three-bedroom terraced house for £250,000 and can’t believe the price,’ he said. ‘There’s definitely a high demand at the moment – we are getting multiple buyers for properties. Out of 10 viewings on terraced houses we are getting three or four buyers, and those terraced houses are in the highest demand.’
Even though large swathes of Portsmouth are made up of terraces, and there are plenty of houses coming on to the market, Mr Bull says there is no let-up in buyers coming forward.
‘It feels as if the America’s Cup brought a lot of people into the city, and that things like Victorious festival mean that there are a lot of things going on in Portsmouth - there’s a good atmosphere at the moment,’ he added.
EASIER TRAVEL SEES DEMAND GROW
BETTER commuter routes and infrastructure are seeing people move further away from work.
That is the view of founder and chief executive of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk.
He said these improvements are seeing a higher demand in houses for cities like Portsmouth.
‘With many major cities becoming too expensive for homeowners in the region and travel infrastructure improvements allowing us to live further away from work, it is no surprise that places such as Portsmouth have grown in prominence among UK buyers,’ he said. ‘It isn’t just those in London who are looking outside the larger city boundaries and opting for more affordable towns in the surrounding area.’