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Ben Stephens, Partner at Stags, reflects on the West Country waterside property market.
Despite the recent inclement weather and restrictions of Lockdown 3, it is clear that the focus of buyers is already turning to the summer months and the acquisition of a coastal home.
2020 was an extraordinary year for everyone and the property market was no exception, filled with highs, lows and a great deal of uncertainty. We started the year with an average 2% year on year house price growth and encouraging levels of transactions to suddenly find that by the end of the first quarter there was virtually no activity. By June however we boarded the rollercoaster again and the last six months saw some of the busiest trading conditions that anyone can recall. Land Registry data from December 2020 shows that Devon, Dorset and Somerset saw year on year price inflation rise to around 7% with Cornwall registering a staggering 11.5%.
Looking in more detail at the Waterside Market, Stags’ own data indicates that in 2020 we sold around 40% more coastal homes than in 2019. The more specific demographic data is also changing, traditionally more than half our waterside buyers were aged 50 or over however the uptick in demand from young families has been dramatic, either relocating or seeking their ‘dream’ home by the water. The reasons behind these changing trends have been much discussed in previous articles, the fact remains that they are clear and present.
As we approach spring 2021, the waterside market is being starved of supply with excess demand resulting in competitive bidding in many transactions. Visits to Stags website in February stand at a record 212,000 with incoming calls from Rightmove some 44% ahead of the same time last year. Both of these statistics indicate that 2021 could well be a year to remember, hopefully for positive reasons.
The popular locations of the South Hams, Fowey, St Mawes, Falmouth, St Ives and North Cornwall remain ever sought after, attracting eye-watering prices. An increasing number of buyers are, however starting to spread the net to other less well known areas of the South West. Amongst these are North Devon, South East Cornwall and my personal favourites The Lizard and West Penwith. In recent times we have concluded notable deals in Coverack and Praa Sands where four properties owned by a single client changed hands for the first time in over sixty years.
Our advice is therefore simple - if you are considering a sale of your coastal home this year, start preparation now and seek the advice of an estate agent that knows the waterside market in your locality. Contact our Waterside team today.