The water is great, come on in!

- Fri 25 Jan 2019

Well 2018 was certainly an interesting one for the South West Property Market with so many unusual influences all taking their toll on the market nationally but with much less influence over the South West.

Last year started with all of the usual pundits forecasting doom and gloom for the market based on uncertainty about everything. Well, all except one anyway. In this publication last year I explained about the supply of and demand for property in the South West and how that would play out through 2018. I stated then that the average house price would rise by 5% from the then current £237,000 to £250,000 by the start of 2019. I am very pleased to confirm that the Bradleys Crystal Ball was functioning correctly and today the average price of a house in the region is now £251,000 based on sales actually agreed.

It would be easy to claim to be a Property Guru but the fact of the matter is much simpler than that. It is just a case of mathematics, access to sufficient correct data and a simple understanding of influences. I am very privileged as MD of the Largest Independent Estate Agent in the South West to have access to more real data covering the area from Taunton to Penzance than anyone else and with Bradleys instructing and selling more property across all sectors than anyone else in that area my statistics are the most accurate.

Having explained how I know most accurately what has happened, how do I know what will happen next? The answer is again the interpretation of live data and in this case the data relates to the numbers of buyers looking and the number of properties for sale. It goes a bit deeper than that with demand being more accurately determined by buyers’ actions at the time, by the number of viewings being booked and the number of offers being generated and then sellers’ reactions to the buyers at the time.

Do I hear you saying stop the dribble and get on with what we all want to know? OK, so this is as I see it today.

Firstly, don’t listen to Mark Carney, he is doom and gloom merchant number 1 and what he says is completely irrelevant in the West Country!

Secondly, don’t listen to all the others who think through general uncertainty the financial world could end. The facts said differently last year and they say differently again this year.

In 2018 Bradleys increased new instructions to the market by 12% and increased sales by 4%. With sales increasing in volume through 2018 above the 2017 levels it does mean that the demand is still rising. The increased instructions available above the increased demand means that the supply has increased by more.

To interpret that, prices will continue to rise in the SW through 2019 by simple fact of the buyers are there and sales have increased which means the demand will continue. The supply has increased further though so the increase in prices will not be as much as in 2018. The level of buyers currently registering is still the same as 2018 and 2019 has already started with good levels of offers being made and good levels of new sales being agreed. Mortgage rates continue to be exceptionally low and a 5 year fixed rate is still, in my opinion, an amazing offer to be taken up by those wanting an affordable safe investment or in most cases an option to save money compared to renting. Apart from all the business reasons why to invest in South West property, there are also still all of the lifestyle reasons which also continue to contribute to the thriving market. Who wouldn’t want to live in the South West with plentiful access to beautiful clean beaches with safe bathing water or be so close to the rugged moors with so many walking opportunities? Where else can you find cottages with an abundance of quaint charm close to all the amenities of thriving towns?

So there you have it, putting your money into property will still bring you a better return than the bank and if you are buying your home then it will still be a very affordable excellent investment which will also bring a considerable amount of pleasure at the same time. My forecast based on all of the above is a further 3% increase in 2019, so at this time next year I am sure I will be confirming the average price of a South West house will be just short of £260,000. My advice is, if you are thinking of dipping a toe into the water of the property market, don’t hold back, jump on in because right now the conditions are good and will continue to be so in the South West.

Francis Marshall - Bradleys Managing Director

Francis Marshall
Bradleys Managing Director