Solicitors join North East housing market debate

Three new starts at North East firm BHP Law say housing prices will remain 'sensible' in the region

From left, Chloe Conway Hind, Nicola Carroll and Diane Lawton, who have joined BHP Law's growing residential conveyancing team
From left, Chloe Conway Hind, Nicola Carroll and Diane Lawton, who have joined BHP Law's growing residential conveyancing team

New starts at a North East law firm have dismissed the idea of a housing bubble in the region.

As the subject of house prices continues to feature on the regional and national news agenda, experienced trio Diane Lawton, Nicola Carroll and Chloe Conway Hind have joined BHP Law’s growing conveyancing department.

And while they say the market remains buoyant, especially among first time buyers, prices in the region are remaining at “sensible” levels.

Carroll, who qualified 12 years ago and has worked for firms in Carlisle, North Shields, Newcastle and Chester-le-Street, said: “I think we will see increasing prices over the next few years but the rises will be steady.

“Like much of the rest of the country, we’re not affected by what’s been happening in London.”

Lawton, who qualified in 1986, previously worked at a rural practice in North Yorkshire, at large city firms in Leeds and Newcastle, and also handled negligence claims at the Solicitors’ Indemnity Fund.

She said: “There aren’t many firms I would have joined but BHP Law was one of them because of the amount of private client work we have. It’s a progressive firm and is growing, particularly in residential conveyancing.

“The market is strong for first time buyers, not just because of the Help to Buy scheme but also because mortgage rates are still very low and people want to secure a low fixed rate before rates go up.”

Conway, who will be based at BHP Law’s Darlington office, qualified in 2008 and has joined from a firm in Sunderland.

She said: “It’s a very exciting time to be joining BHP Law, where residential conveyancing has seen considerable growth in the last 12 months.

“The firm is highly regarded for its service to private clients and that’s what attracted us all to join.”

The new starts take BHP’s conveyancing team headcount to 26.

Their appointment follows research from Rightmove suggesting new seller asking prices for the North dropped 0.8% in June.

However, the Office for National Statistics also published figures this week, showing house prices were still rising rapidly in April, during which all regions of the UK, apart from Wales and the South West, saw bigger annual increases compared to March.

The most dramatic annual change was seen in London, where the annual increase for the year to March was 17%, rising to 18.7% by April.

The next highest riser was the South east, with 6.1% and 8.9% for the respective periods, followed by the East, with 6.6% and 8.5%.

The North East came fourth in the table of regional house price rise rises, recording a 4.1% annual rise to March and 6.8% rise to April.

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