There were more than 40 significant residential land transactions concluded in the North West during 2011, up from 30 in 2010, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.
In the final quarter of 2011, developers spent £50m on land, with some prime sites commanding in excess of £900,000 per net acre inclusive of all Section 106 costs and affordable housing provision. Key deals transacted in Q4 2011 included the acquisition of 15-acres on Warrington Road, Cuddington by Taylor Wimpey and the purchase by Bellway of 14 acres at Holmes Chapel.
Kieran McLaughlin, director in Jones Lang LaSalle's North West development team, said: "The strength of the market for prime sites shows no signs of abating. However, the market for 'chimney-pot' locations in areas of modest affluence still remains considerably challenging. Nonetheless, we expect this sector to begin to show signs of improvement towards the end of 2012."
The consensus from leading economic indices points to another year of stagnation. McLaughlin continued: "There is still a sufficient core of economic activity to drive movement on the higher rungs of the housing ladder."
He concluded: "The lower levels of the market will remain hampered by the constraints of the mortgage market and the continuing suppression of first time buyer activity. Consequently, developers will continue to cut their cloth accordingly and focus on acquiring sites in more affluent locations and thus sustaining a strong level of demand for these key sites."