THE upward trend in house prices across Leeds and the Wharfe Valley last year is poised to continue its momentum throughout 2016.
In the most sought-after areas to live, we can foresee prices rising potentially by over 5% as the number of properties for sale falls to an all-time low.
With this lack of availability and limited choice, buyers need to be ready, able and willing to move quickly or risk missing out. This will be one of the years key themes.
Despite falling stock levels, it will be those properties that are competitively priced, and well presented, that will command the strongest attention. Those homes that are tired-looking will struggle to take full advantage of these positive market conditions.
Another hallmark of 2016 will be that the appeal of city centre living is likely to gather further pace.
Leeds city centre, a long-standing magnet for renters, is now undergoing a renaissance in terms of sales with a good mix of both private buyers as well as buy-to-let investors looking to benefit from an upsurge in the number of people looking to rent.
Suburban Leeds, such as the sought-after area of Horsforth with its first-rate schools, is particularly challenged by the lack of stock availability. Family homes 3-bed semi and detached houses remain very popular and there is evidence in places such as Chapel Allerton that the demand is so high that some properties are achieving in excess of asking prices.
On a more commercial level, the reappearance of constructions cranes on our skylines is a clear signal of the inward investment that is being kick-started in Leeds city centre with the launch of a number of new-build projects.
A good example of a flagship development now coming to market is Boyds Mill, a historic former Grade 2 listed mill on the fringe of Leeds city centre that has been converted into 10 boutique luxury apartments and sparking significant interest.
The year ahead will also see the property market starting to benefit from other significant investments new railway stations at Apperley Bridge and Kirkstall Forge, wedded to the opening of the new-look Leeds station, will add a new dimension for train passengers. Plus a new outer ring road proposed to East of Leeds will be a long-term future benefit for those living, or aspiring to live, in this part of the city.
With employment prospects buoyed by Leeds continuing growth as a Northern commercial centre, the long-awaited HS2 coming to fruition, and the advantages generated by the whole Northern Powerhouse concept, our citys appeal as a place to live, and work, shows no signs of diminishing.