Property Market Comment

Further to my last market comment, things have now moved to a “Buyers” market; There are few times over the past five years that are as good as this period to buy a new home. There is a lot of talk about a “Buyers” market; in simple terms, it means that the weight and ability to negotiate the sale and purchase of a home has shifted to be more in favour of Buyers than Sellers, and this has mainly been driven not by stock levels, but more the prices anticipated by Vendors has become more realistic than it has been over the past years.

It is a mixed bag when it comes to the Spring market, as there are many factors that will make it an interesting time; the inflation figures remain encouraging and mortgage interest rates appear to have reached their peak. This is certainly what lenders are indicating with mortgage rates beginning to drop. However, for those who are having to re-mortgage the impact is just beginning to show and this will come out with stock levels during the early part of next year. There are mixed feelings about when the election will take place next year, but this also will have a significant impact on the market, I think it is more likely to be later in the year – but let’s see!

As ever, those with cash and who are ready to go, remain in the strongest and ideal position. The next three months are possibly the best time to buy. Houses and gardens will only get “better” over the Spring and Summer and those selling now, either must sell, or the house is attractive, well priced and exceptional enough that it will achieve its guide or more, as it would at any time of year.

Many agents will encourage Vendors to wait till the Spring, but there remains a strong level of demand for houses, both from the traditional young families moving out of London for schools or family, but also from overseas buyers; In particular, I am seeing more demand from the USA for properties in and around the Cotswolds.

I have several clients, with quite specific requirements, and stock levels now are not producing the right houses for them; this will come during the Spring – and as ever it is a case of having your finger very much on the pulse and being in a position where you can move effectively and quickly when the right property comes.

I think next year will see a lot of activity; in the case that Labour wins the election, the changes in VAT in relation to private education is going to create some new “prime” areas where there are both excellent state/grammar and private schools within close proximity. These locations will always remain a very important consideration when buying but may become something than needs further attention.

I remain confident that next year will be busy, with a lively Spring market, despite the many internal and external factors that continue to have an impact on it. 

Demand

Albeit that the press is full of doom and gloom, from what I am seeing – the demand for Property is as high as ever.

The number of overseas enquiries I am getting, (in particular from the USA), is significant; that combined with the remaining Buyers from last year – (many who have been waiting for stock levels to rise) means that the Spring is looking to be very active indeed. The more traditional exodus from London to the country – predominantly to be closer to schools or family – continues to pick up pace. So there are a lot of Buyers out there looking to move.

The downsizers also are certainly beginning to gain momentum – all encouraged by the turn of the tide to begin to lean towards a “Buyers” market.

Thinking about moving in 2023-2024

If you are even thinking about moving, now is the time to contact a Buying agent, as doing this before your property hits the market is a very good way to get everything in order – and to help plan the year or two ahead. Having have early outline brief makes all the difference when it comes to understanding what sort of o house you can aim for and what area you want to be. There are lots of questions that need to be raised that will help you navigate the year ahead and with the timings of your sale. if you would like a quick call with me to talk things through – please book a call here.

There is no question that the cost of living and significant hike in interest rates will of course affect the market, and which may impact significantly at lower price points; this however will encourage further movement for downsizers – as in the past, the limited level of high prices stock and significant demand has made a move a more difficult option.

All the agents I speak to are doing large numbers of valuations which is encouraging; furthermore, guide prices are coming more into line with the expectation for buyers. The critical young family bracket between £1.25-£2M has always been competitive and this is certainly going to continue in the early part of this year.

As every year, a lot of Vendors are waiting for the Spring; however now if an exceptional time to get your property on the market, albeit quietly with agents, as in the Spring there will be significantly more stock; right now the levels remain low.

I am viewing property now that will come on in the Spring;

This is going to be a very active year for Buying agents as volumes of cash buyers remain high – and it is a case of getting in early and being ahead of curve.

Where to be?

In terms of popular areas, the regions South of the M4 around Bath, Chippenham & Marlborough are coming into their own. The Stroud valleys continues to gain significant traction – and for those looking for perhaps more land and bigger property are finding the right homes further West along the A36 in areas around Stinchcombe and Wotton-under-Edge – where excellent access to Cheltenham and Bath schools remain an option. Cirencester, Malmesbury and Tetbury remain as popular as ever.

From the house buying perspective, we’re now in post-pandemic mode. I’ve watched the switch happening in recent months. It’s got some noteworthy twists. At the beginning of 2021, we were still all riding a knee-jerk reaction to Covid. There was a desperate (some would say panicked) rush to escape to the Cotswolds and find a haven. People wanted a second home out of the city. They were flocking out of London and from abroad.

That is still happening now, but there’s a different energy to it. A post-Pan energy. Raw, authentic, and fuelled by the honest need for something different… long term.

So, what exactly has changed? It’s interesting. Last year, people were hurrying to move away from risk. They were looking to create a new, secure space for their loved ones. Now, however, they are seeking a safe bolthole and a lifestyle change. It’s a calculated decision, not a fight or flight response. It’s less stressed, less urgent, and more determined than ever.

To put things in perspective, though, the whole work paradigm is changing. The four-day week is being debated (which day would you choose to ditch?). Those that have been asked to return to the office are saying, “No.”. There has been a structural shift in peoples’ thinking. Families are developing a sense of real value. What they’re seeking now is a quality of life that’s become possible without everyday commuting. We’re talking being at home with the children and the dog; spending time in between board meetings to weed the veggie patch; speaking to the boss on the phone whilst standing naked in the bathroom. And we’re referring to all of this, plus you’re still able do your job well.

I have always worked for myself. Much of the time my work involved travel. In the early days, I was away owning clubs and restaurants in London and Moscow. Glitzy and fun on the outside, for sure, but I was missing something. Now, I have the joy of being in the countryside with my loved ones every day, and it’s priceless. I think the whole nation is coming round to this post-Pan thinking too.

So, how is this affecting the house hunting scene? What I’m seeing now is a continuing drive for the young family with a couple of sprogs to move out of the big smoke. However, the mood has changed at a fundamental level. The post-Pan revolution is creating a new market that has little to do with Covid. Families are no longer escaping; they are actively choosing a better life. They’ve wised up to the joys and benefits of space, air, and countryside.

The spring of 2022 is looking bright but tight

The upshot is that it’s getting tougher for traditional families looking to move for schools. Their values and dreams haven’t changed, but there is a host of other post-Panners now looking to start anew. Competition for properties is stiff, therefore. But with the right know-how, they can still achieve their ambitions. And thus, I would say… fear not, home seekers, the future is still bright.

As we slowly move towards a conditional phased relaxation of the “lockdown” – we have had a long time to think about life, where we live, how we live and how we would like to live;

This desperate and horrible virus has certainly changed the way in which we think, and reset priorities and goals; it has also brought out the very best in people and this country – many of these will hopefully remain for the future.

There will certainly be a rush towards completions and moving as soon as allowed – which does mean that there will be significant pressure on solicitors, surveyors and other professional advisors, as well as moving companies.

Values?

The general consensus seems to be that there will be some dip (+/_ 5%) in house values over the remainder of this year, however due to continued shortage of stock – good houses will demand good prices; the drive to find these houses has intensified, and will continue to do so – and hence we will potentially see more bidding wars over houses that tick all the boxes as outlined below; the outlook for 2021 is that prices will increase (+10% plus) – and will see a very active 2021 given the fact that this year was “paused” just at the moment that the market was really beginning to fly!

Management of Expectation;

There is no question that the initially challenge will be the management of expectation between Vendors and Buyers; the feeling in the country will be that prices must rise as a result of this pandemic, and the urge for people to leave the bigger cities in search of a life in the countryside; likewise, buyers will be hoping that prices will be pushed down by the Covid factor.

The fact is that the shortage of supply will be the most major influence – as the number of buyer will have increased over the period of lockdown and this will maintain prices – and as said – for those that tick the boxes values will move only one way!

Is How we live changing?

The way in which we live and the demands of a home have also developed and changed; I see that we are going to see some reversion to some of the older desires of past years. The major fundamentals of what people are looking for have been focused by this terrible situation – and I think demands will be around the following major areas:

1. Internal Space

With the large majority of us working from home for the past months, and, in many case along side children trying to study, the layout of a house going forward will change; there will be a need for a home office by either extending into roof space/conversion of a bedroom, or the conversion of an Annex, stable or garage. When looking to buy – the ability to have this extra space to be able to have quiet areas separate from the main house are going to become more important.

We have until now been moving towards larger open plan rooms, with very little separation of space – this may change. Additionally companies have seen the benefits of employees working from home – and this is likely to increase going forward – so more dedicated office space at home will be important.

2. External Space

This virus has really demonstrated how important outside space is for us all – children and parents alike; previously the market was moving away from large gardens and looking for more low maintenance space outside – with entertaining being the major focus. This may also change. The desire to grow your own food, generate your own power and have space to run around and have a few chickens is how very much back on the hit list!

The ability to walk (or jog)  straight into the countryside, woodlands, or meadows along a riverside has become a real luxury and something that has moved closer to its true value and is now another major consideration when it comes to buying a home.  The possibility of a tennis court and swimming pool is also an attractive proposition that previously may not feature on the list of “wants”! Having this external space allows the ability to strive towards some kind of greener self sufficiency and the real “good Life” that Barbara and Tom enjoyed !

3. Communications and Broadband

Working from home and more time being spent “zooming” for both work and family, there is an increased necessity for excellent broadband. With the development of 5G – this should mean a strong mobile signal which will cope with the IT demands of a busy family.

4. Community – Villages and countryside

There is no question that the Virus has really shown the strengths of local community spirit; it has encouraged us all hearing stories of people looking out for one and another;  Having small villages, ideally with a community shop, a good school, a pub, a local golf course and access to the main road and rail arteries is all very high on the list.

The desires for a new home remain the same – to have something that provides the best for your family in every rerspect; however the priority and the order of targets on the wish listis changing as a result of Covid19; Onwards….

The stock of 2019 has been re-priced and has probably changed agents and there are great opportunities with houses that are now better priced; the savvy Vendors are bringing stock to the market early to catch the glut of Buyers that are waiting in anticipation of the swell of new stock that is promised with the sunshine and the daffodils!

The key now is to be ready to act clearly – new stock is coming – but get out there now ahead of the crowd and the daffodils if you want to secure the pick of the bunch!

The market is moving! There is no question that things are picking up! It has always been the case that well priced good properties sell quickly; however the speed of sales on good properties has hit new levels for the year. There is no doubt that there is a certain degree of “anticipation” that things are going to happen, whatever way it goes!  With this those that are being savvy are moving into the market right now, and making quick decisions and getting great deals that are not going to be around for much longer!

Those properties that were perhaps overpriced are also starting to move.  Offer that are well thought through are gaining traction and getting serious consideration and leading to excellent acqusitions from buyers who are ready to go.

Tetbury and Cirencester

Tetbury continues to be in great demand, and has a great supply of new builds and wonderful Georgian period properties; and Cirencester is gaining momentum into the winter – and with a number of larger new developments on the cards – looks like 2o20 will be a big year for Cirencester.  In particular those villages on the North side – the likes of Chedworth, Fosse Bridge, Barnsley, Winson and on up to Burford all performing well towards the end of this year. We have seen a significant growth in off market purchases over the past six months.

Stroud Valleys & Cheltenham

The Stroud valleys still attract all walks of life and is notorious of the bredth of character and ecletic spread of communities; there has been a large growth in interest over the Autumn for the north side of the Stroud valleys. There has been more demand nearer to Cheltenham, especially from younger families wanting the joys of countryside,  with easy access to exceptional top schools – (both state and private) on the doorstep.

Chippenham, Calne and Corsham

Chippenham, Calne, Corsham and all villages along the A420 are all selling well, in particular period houses between £900k and £2M, and Chippenham continues to grow in demand for communters nheading both East (London) and West (Bath and Bristol).

Bath

Bath is consistent and reliable as ever, with many properties never hitting the open market. The higher end of the market has been doing especially well towards the end of this year. Bath continues to attract a wide range of buyers of all ages and profiles across all price points. A city in which property prices are as reliable as the excellent education and schools that it has.

Christmas in the Cotswolds – what’s in store?

Whatever the election brings in terms of results, one thing we can be sure of is that the property market is moving and things are really heating up despite the cold weather, and the days of being able to wander into a purchase have gone!! It is time to get your skates on !

The new target of reaching nett zero emissions by 2050 can only be a good step forward, even if many consider this is not enough, and we should be aiming closer to Finland with 2035!

We are all agreed on the need for dramatic and significant change to many of the things that we take for granted and the way that we live today. The immediate considerations that come to the forefront include choices with the cars that we drive; the food that we eat (and the packaging it comes in); the amount we fly and the fuel we use to generate cooling and heating in our homes.

New technology

From a property point of view, the development of new materials and new technology means that we can today create “living environments” that are incredibly efficient and require very little energy to maintain comfortable living space. In the past, the government has come up with several different incentives to encourage the use of renewable energy, including the early stab at solar and ground source heating and many other incentives. Some of these have been a success and others a dramatic failure. On occasion, a few have created more pollution than fossil alternatives. To recap the 2050 Zero emission target things need to change.

I see that the general “trend” for Buyers looking to move, from London or abroad, into the Cotswolds is to market towns, (or nearby villages). The demand for new build houses continues to grow at all price points; initially, this was due to concerns over running costs, but this tide is turning towards environmental expenses and reduction of emissions,  rather than the hit on your pocket;

The rural dream is still alive

There will always be those who want to live in the countryside, in an old period property. One where the nearest neighbours are far enough away for you to be able to have an all-night party without upsetting anyone! To be able to light a bonfire without the village Chair sending a memo!

For those who still strive for the old Manor house with four acres and a vegetable garden that could potential take over your life, or the market town high street property built in 1721, with huge doorways and stone flagstones floors that provide a permanent trip hazard that will never be fixed, things are about to change!

House Listing

The listing system which was introduced after the second world war to protect buildings, (and other things), that were considered to have features or a building (or part thereof) with architectural value and importance. Around towns such as Bath, Corsham, Malmesbury, Tetbury, Cirencester, Nailsworth, Painswick and the Stroud Valleys, there are many many listed properties across all grades, albeit the majority that is listed are grade II.

With the stamp being put on the drive to have zero emissions by 2050, the effective insulation of housing has to be top of the list of priorities for the government; without a high level of sufficient insulation, many of the new technologies that are continually coming to market, and always developing cannot be used in these older listed properties.

Windows have always been high on the list of costly things to fix in listed properties; the need for effective insulation means that all windows should be triple glazed; in the majority of listed building single glazing is the norm, with secondary glazing,  (mostly introduced to dampen road noise in towns),  occasionally to be found in some of these houses.

Time for Change

It is highly likely that with this new drive to make our living environments capable of using the best and most effective green technologies that the listing restrictions presently in place will need to be reviewed. This can only be positive as the costs involved for repairing or replacing windows, doors, walls or roofs is very significant in buildings that are graded. This has previously put off potential buyers who are not ready to jump through all the required hoops to meet the strict criteria that some of these listings entail. The opportunity to take on these beautiful old buildings and create an environment for a house fit for purpose in 2020 and in 2050 is becoming more and more achievable – which can only be a great thing for the property market in the Cotswolds.

In the last weeks of May, the market has very much come to life, and Buyers have begun to commit to moving, and Seller’s, (albeit slow), are now beginning to recognise the opportunity and are following suit. Interest around Cirencester has grown from 2018; Tetbury and the Stroud Valleys continue its upwards growth with demand within the £750k to £925K bracket remaining strong. At the top end of the market there are a number excellent properties upwards of £1.5 million. As ever, well priced properties are moving incredibly fast. Some agents are finding that there is a lack of commitement to make offers, and this is probably due to quiet hopes that more properties will come to the market  before the Summer break, (a risky approach!);  it will probably be the case that there willbe rush of new stock, however all combined  across both sellers and Buyers,  it is very much a time to play “catch-up” as the early season Brexit delay has pused everything back a month or so. To secure the best opportunities be ready with cash on hand, as this is not a market for long chains!

The Cotswolds are on fire with property coming on at a fast rate and sales happening equally as quickly; A property that came on the 7th February was agreed at full asking price on the 15th; both Buyers and Sellers have reached the point where they are saying “enough already – lets crack on” – and that is happening! There is a definitive drive and pace to the market that, pre daffodils, we haven’t seen for sometime and it looks set to rise and develop as the spring sets in! Forget doom and gloom – this market is very much alive and kicking – and if you’re not in it ……… ? 

Albeit the cold front seems to be hitting hard as we hit the start of February, the property market couldn’t be getting much warmer!

There is no question that frustrated Buyers and “had enough of this” Vendors are all voting which way we need to go – and that is to the market! There is a steady “bubbling” up of property moving into the market, and Buyers are already doing the rounds; in the last week alone I have had eight meetings with Parties that are starting their move, and all are about to put their property on the market within the next two weeks!

Always the optimist I will say that there are those who will “remain” behind the uncertainty of the Brexit outcome – however, there is no question that the flow can only increase and the market is very much alive.

I am seeing interest growing in areas around Chippenham, with the benefit of being able to get to London, Bath and Bristol easilly by rail, while having quick and easy access to the M4 while being very much in the country; villages such as Biddestone, Hullavington (now Dyson territory which will drive demand and prices), The Somerfords all continue to attract new families; Corsham is also seeing a rise in demand, a wonderful town which has pretty much everything to offer – excellent schools, a beautiful Park and all the shopping you could want! Further North, The Stroud valleys and West of Cirencester continue to be “the place” to be – with its creative and eclectic vibe, it has a wealthy mix of artists and a growing “foodie” appeal, with some amazing properties with incredible views!

Both Tetbury and Cirencester already have some excellent property on the market, many of which I think will be sold within a couple fo weeks.

So the word is – “now” is a good time!  – get ahead and be ready – whatever happens the flow will not stop now!

If you are just thinking about a move, please give me a call. 

There is no question that these are unprecedented times! The Brexit issue remains the primary force affecting the property market, however, believe it or not, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon!

The general consensus appears to be that the market over 2019 will be reasonable flat across the whole country, with growth in Northern Markets balancing a further drop or stagnation in London and the surrounding area; Given the fact that something has to happen means that markets will move, certainly in the first six months of 2019 there will be activity, as the markets will move with developments, (whichever way they go) with Brexit; the effect this will have on the Pound and eventual impact through interest rates means that the market will be active in certain sectors!

The rental market outside London in areas around good commuting links with London will grow dramatically in the first half of 2019, as families move away from London but hold off selling the London property until after Brexit. Demand for good properties and lack of stock will maintain price levels, and good properties will sell very quickly given the level of existing buyers still waiting for new stock to come to market, which again has been delayed.

By the end of 2019 the market will improve dramatically, however the first half of the year will be flat ,(the West and North will see growth, especially in Wales), and with the only real growth being in the rental sector.

The hope is that a combination of continued demand, frustration with the need to “move-on” means that things need to change……..with change comes opportunity!

In North Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire, the effects of the move out of London will continue to grow. The increase in new work regimes involving more flexible office/home operations means that property prices along the M4 corridor, specifically around Swindon, Chippenham, Bath and Bristol, will start to gain pace. The electrification of the railway will reduce times from Bristol to London, by 17 minutes. This in turn means that the commuter belt has stretched and will continue to do so, further West and North. Demand for well priced properties in towns such as Chippenham, Malmesbury, Box, Corsham, Chipping Sodbury, Yate, Melksham and Calne will continue to grow, and with shortage of stock, will maintain values or rise between March and June.

Likewise, further North, areas around the Stroud valleys, which have seen significant increase in both value and demand over the past year will continue to grow in demand, offering significant value for money, and becoming the new Nottinghill of the Costwolds!  Especially the following towns, Cirencester, Minchinhampton, Nailsworth, Chalford, and Stonehouse. This move west, which has been growing over the last two years, means that areas such as Wotton-Under-Edge, Thornbury, and Dursley are now really starting to grow in demand.

The top end of the market, (£2.5M upwards), which is very sensitive to the movement of the pound and political unrest will remain slow for the first half of 2019; the growth will be in the mid market, between £750K to £1M, where those have taken the plunge to sell and move will commit earlier than other sectors and schooling will be important, and the target will be to get in place before schools start in September 2019. Likewise, those who have made the decision to move, want to get their roots down, but live in hope that prices may improve in London, are likely to move out and rent – with a view to sell their London property in the Spring/Summer after the Brexit fallout has started to settle.  Therefore I think around the main rail hubs, (Kemble, Chippenham, Stroud, Swindon, Bristol Parkway), we will see an increase in demand for rental properties around the £1,800 to £2,200 pcm sector – (Ie family homes).

After the summer holiday 2019, the market will begin to really come back, and there will be strong activity from September through to January 2020 – where we may see the volume of property transaction increased significantly against 2018.

What will a Stacks buying agent in The Cotswolds (South Gloucestershire), Cheltenham, South Oxfordshire, Bath, Wiltshire & Cheltenham do for you?

Professional Expertise

Craig Fuller is the buying agent covering all of Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, Bath and South Oxfordshire. Craig has an great knowledge of the whole area – with an intimate knowledge for the areas around the South Cotswolds and North Wiltshire. 

Finding a Property

Craig can help you find your perfect property by using his relationships to your advantage. Estate Agents will inform him of property they have valued or that is being marketed quietly and allow him an early viewing or details, immediately giving you a head start and putting you ahead of the competition.

Saving you Money

Time is money. Craig can save you considerable time during the search process only showing you a selection of properties that match your requirements. From Craig’s evaluation of the property he can give you his professional opinion on its true value in the current market and submit a serious offer accordingly.

Trouble Free Completion

A price agreed does not necessarily mean a property secured. Craig is there to steer the purchase as smoothly as possible through to Exchange and Completion by liaising closely and maintaining a constant dialogue with the solicitors and estate agents to overcome any problems along the way.

Call  Craig Fuller for free advice or to discuss what you are looking for.
Tel:  +44(0) 7767211707

How We Do It

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