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Will the Leeds property market face up to post-lockdown challenges?

Published: 08/07/2020

The performance of the Leeds property market in the second half of 2020 is still anyone’s guess I’m afraid. However, there are now some concrete features we can talk about. The withdrawal of lower-deposit mortgages by Nationwide says quite a lot about their expectations. The building society is clearly worried about the ability of new low equity home buyers to make their monthly mortgage payments.

It’s important not to overstate the similarities between Covid and the Credit Crunch. The former is a natural disaster; the latter was about poor financial governance. However, the housing market will be shaped by both events through the prism of mortgage lending. Both will have strengthened the position of more equity-rich movers and weakened everyone else.

So how vulnerable is Leeds? In our area, there are 36,457 people, 46 per cent of whom are economically active, i.e. have some kind of job. Average earnings in the wider district are between £20,867 and £39,718, with £28,848 as the midpoint. The most common industry of employment here is Education which accounts for 15% of workers.

With jobs in retail being quite risky at the moment it doesn't look like our housing market is too exposed, but anyone fearful of losing their job probably shouldn't stretch for a new home right now. However, if your employment position is stable, it’s worth remembering a great quote from Warren Buffet; that it is wise to be “Fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”.

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