In the year to October 2014, 1,699 of the 119,758 properties in Sunderland were sold
The best performing type of property was the semi-detached house. With an average sale price of £122,000; over 728 of them sold, representing 42.8% of the property sold in Sunderland within the year (and when you consider 44% of Sunderland property is semi-detached, these sale figures very much meet expectations)
Of the 13,749 detached houses in Sunderland, 277 changed hands in the year, showing that whilst only 11.4% of properties in Sunderland are detached, they represented a respectable 16.3% of the sales last year
However, it is the flats/apartments that seem to have performed the worst.
Whilst there are 15,986 flats/apartments in Sunderland (representing 13.3% of the housing stock), only 165 changed hands in the year, representing only 9.8% of the sales
What does this all mean for the property owners of Sunderland?
Most Sunderland homeowners start with a terraced property such as a 'cottage', aspire to move to semi detached house, then if finances allow, they move to a detached property. With the house sale percentages closely matching the proportion of available stock, this suggests the market for owner-occupiers is relatively healthy with no major bottlenecks (although there are still key shortages in Sunderland, such as a lack of affordable 3 or 4 bedroom family homes)
The majority of apartments, especially in the City Centre, were purchased by investors to rent out to tenants, so they have no need to trade up on the property ladder
Many owners are still in negative equity, and in some cases, the value of some Sunderland apartments bought at the height of the boom are 50% lower than what was paid for them between 2005 - 2007
Faced with this situation, most flat/apartment owners are holding onto their properties in the hope that they can keep them rented and that prices eventually rise back to nearer what they paid before they would considering selling
When advising investors on what to buy or where to buy we do tend to steer clear of such apartments due to the ongoing market conditions and such factors as a more transient tenant population (increasing the amount of tenant churn and the risk of the dreaded void period), only advising landlords to proceed with caution if there is a real 'distressed sale' bargain to be had
Interestingly, taking flats/apartments aside, on average, Sunderland property values are actually 0.7% up on the 2007 property boom. We are seeing signs of positivity in the market and there are plenty of decent long term investment opportunities offering healthy yields if you know where to look
If you would like to have a free, objective chat about the Sunderland property market, pop in and see me at our Frederick Street office, send me an email or call me on 0191 567 8577