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Spotlight on local property markets.

Byline: By Gareth Carter

During the next six months DTZ Residential will provide an unbiased and independent analysis of the South Wales housing market focusing on the commercial centres of Cardiff, the Vale of Glamorgan, Newport, Bridgend, Swansea and the Valleys.

DTZ's first report covers the Cardiff market. In six months' time it will review the market conditions and report on emerging trends and housing statistics for each area.

Cardiff

By far, Cardiff is the most vibrant and dynamic area for residential property transactions through South-East Wales. As a capital city it has the greatest population and the largest number of residents who commute to other centres.

The Cardiff housing market is therefore seen as the trendsetter for the region. As house prices rise and fall in Cardiff, other areas will generally follow similar patterns.

Cardiff also offers the greatest range of housing stock, in both the new homes and second-hand market. Cardiff house buyers enjoy an extremely wide choice of different housing styles and sizes reflecting the continuous growth in supply from the late 1800s.

A popular choice for house buyers seeking an established home has been the Victorian terrace, and there is still plenty of choice.

Throughout the city from small two beds, non forecourted housing built prior to 1900 to three and four bedroom terrace and larger often grander villa type housing built in the period 1900 to 1920. Typically this type of housing lies close to the city centre, making it convenient to the business, retail and leisure facilities on offer.

As Cardiff spread to form suburbs in the inter-war years, there was an explosion in the provision of semi-detached housing and in more recent times expansion of major housing estates, such as Danescourt to the west, Thornhill to the north, and Pentwyn, Pontprennau and St Mellons to the east.

Cardiff, therefore offers second-hand houses to suit all sectors of the market and, to add to this choice, Cardiff continues to offer numerous locations and opportunities for those who seek a new home.

At present there are 25 new home sites under construction within the city boundary. Most new homes activity in recent years has focused on Cardiff Bay, which has provided a steady stream of waterside apartment developments since the mid 1980s. As more than 4,500 have been built in the Bay, there are fears of an oversupply. However price adjustments, incentives and discounting has now attracted back investors and occupiers.

For instance, George Wimpey City at their Waterquarter development recently had an event where they offered pounds 1,200 per month mortgage subsidy for a year, stamp duty paid and legal fees paid. For an investor, if they bought a pounds 200,000 flat with this incentive package and let the property for a further pounds 700 per month for a year, they would gross a yield of 11.4%, double what your savings will get you in your high street bank.

Recent indicators show that Cardiff house agents have the most stock available since the property slump of the late 1980s. This is partly due to multi-listing, where a vendor instructs several agencies to sell at the same time and partially due to a lack of buyers in a position to proceed.

Many more vendors are also placing their property on the market in order to find a buyer before they select another house. Again this leads to a build up of property on agents books.

Notwithstanding this, all Cardiff agents in our research agreed that a correctly priced property will always attract interest. This is an indicator of how strong the market is in Cardiff. As the city continues to grow, this is a trend that is likely to continue.

What can you buy for your money in Cardiff? A guide to typical prices for new and second-hand homes in the city.

Three bed room Victorian terrace, Cathays, Canton pounds 160,000

Four bedroom detached, Thornhill/Danescourt pounds 210,000

Three bedroom 1930s semi, Heath, Victoria Park pounds 165,000

Three bedroom council house, Llanrumney, Fairwater pounds 100,000

New homes:

One bedroom flat, Cardiff Bay, City Centre pounds 119,950

Two bedroom flat, Cardiff suburbs pounds 139,950

Three bedroom semi, St Mellons pounds 179,950

Future trends

Due to the extreme shortage of land for new homes within the Cardiff areas, until recently developers have often been forced to build flats, rather than houses.

There are however, signs of a return to more conventional house building, as some major sites within the city have been acquired by the National Volume House Builders.

At the former AWE site at Caerphilly Road, Heath, Wimpey and Barrett have jointly bought a fifteen-acre site and will provide a wide range of houses in two and three storey formats.

At the former BT site in Coryton, Bellway have knocked down the old offices and will be constructing family housing in 2006.

Other major housing schemes are proposed by Persimmon, at the former Panasonic factory in Pentwyn, Wimpey on the last greenfield site in Pontprennau. All these well located sites, will bring further variety and choice to the Cardiff house-hunter.

Add this to the availability of a wide range of second-hand houses and Cardiff can boast about the fact it has the most diverse housing stock in the region.

Next month's focus will be on Newport.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 26, 2005
Words:891
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