- Wed 05 Aug 2020
With the country still easing itself from the lockdown that ground the economy along with the housing market to a standstill in March this year, very few people would have predicted the current activity levels only a few months on.
The West Country hasn’t seen activity at this level since before the last recession some 12 years ago, so why now and how long will it last? I put these and other questions to Bradleys Estate Agents Managing Director, Chris Baxter, for his thoughts.
Kai: Can you please give a brief update on the housing market across the region so the public can gain an insight into the current activity?
Chris: Following the easing of the lockdown in the middle of May, we have seen a consistent rise in enquiries across all areas and here at Bradleys that is from buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants, which we keep thinking has reached its peak and then it appears to keep going.
These enquiries are, in the main, extremely motivated people very keen to take action and move for a variety of reasons and whilst many are from outside the region looking to move to the West Country, the majority are actually from within the region.
The result has been an extremely busy couple of months with record levels of new properties coming to the market which then result in record numbers of enquiries, sales and lets.
Kai: So why now? What is driving the activity levels to this extent?
Chris: There are a couple of reasons that we can see, the obvious one being the pent up demand from months of being locked down and unable to take action will inevitably result in a spike of activity following that period. In addition, many people have been put in a situation where they have re-evaluated what they have, what is important to them and therefore what they wish to change and have probably had time to plan how they are going to do it too and are now putting those plans in to action.
In addition we have also seen the stamp duty holiday announced in July, which is already, and will continue to save people thousands of pounds in the moving process and therefore makes it more attractive and for many, more affordable.
Kai: As the market is really busy, what advice can you give to people thinking of buying/selling/letting to help them get ahead?
Chris: I would say to anyone thinking about a move is to be prepared! For example, if you are thinking of selling/buying the first thing you need to know is whether you can afford it. At Bradleys Estate Agents we are fortunate to have some of the best Mortgage Advisors in the region and they are all available whether that’s by telephone, zoom meeting or even a socially distant face to face meeting. Our team can access all UK lenders and will be able source the right mortgage for you and on the positive note they are reporting an increase of 90% mortgage products. Once you have sourced an Agreement in Principle (AIP) from a mortgage lender, you know you can take the next steps.
When selling, an accurate appraisal of your home will be crucial so you can make plans as to what is realistic to achieve and base your affordability upon that. It could well be that you achieve more, which is great, although start realistically, hear what evidence the agents have to support their suggestion. Don’t be attracted by a high value if it cannot be supported, it will potentially end up costing you thousands rather than making it. We’ve seen many houses sell at over their asking price where the demand is high, whereas an over-priced property may not even attract viewers!
Finally, I would advise sellers to get their conveyancer instructed at the point they market their home, not when a buyer is sourced as it is taking an increasingly long time for the conveyancing process to be completed and by doing so could save you several weeks.
For tenants, it’s the same message in that they need to know their affordability and so complete our Tenancy Registration Form on our website, which will ask multiple questions and when completed will give you an idea of whether you are likely to able to proceed with an application. Once completed and on our database, like an AIP, you are good to go.
Kai: Finally Chris, how long is this likely to last, any ideas?
Chris: Well that’s not such an easy one to answer after all we are still trying to combat this terrible virus. I believe that we are helped enormously by being situated in such a popular part of the country and combined with the stamp duty holiday I would like to think it will go on for a little while yet. We are unlikely to see the same seasonal trends due to the pandemic having changed that, so potentially it could be months, although I say that with all my fingers crossed. It is important that we, all our clients, buyers, tenants and anyone interacting with Estate Agents continue to stick to the guidelines, wear PPE, an hopefully we can all stay safe and return to some form of normality.
Following Chris’ interview, he confirmed that Bradleys Estate Agents achieved a post-recession record level for new homes coming to the market for sale along with a new record for home sales agreed. If you are thinking of selling or letting your home, contact your local Bradleys office for an accurate market appraisal by following the link below.