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Summer Review: Market update

Ben Stephens BSc (Hons) MRICS, Partner and Truro office manager, provides an informed view of activity within the property market from someone who sits at the sharp end of agency and monitors the market behaviour on a daily basis.

Whether you are a buyer or seller, you can easily be forgiven for not fully understanding what is happening in the West Country property market at the moment. The plethora of reports all seem to paint a slightly different picture and, in many instances, are reporting historical data and trends.

I think we can all concur that the heady days of 2021 and 2022 are behind us and it is clear that the housing market has come under increasing pressure, as the Bank of England raises interest rates in response to stubbornly high inflation. The announcement of a 0.5% rise to 5% will only serve to heighten concerns. In response, as they are met by a surge in demand, a number of high street lenders have pulled mortgage deals for new borrowers.

So, on the face of it, you may expect a downbeat report; However, this is not our day to day experience. At the end of May, the number of viewings conducted by Stags was similar to pre-pandemic levels with around 1,000 new buyer enquiries in the month. Agreed sales are also encouraging, running some 22% ahead of the three-year average to 2019. All of these statistics demonstrate home-mover confidence in the West Country market. This is mirrored by a recent Office of National Statistics report that indicated prices in the South West holding up better than any other region in England.

That said, the stock of available property is now way ahead of previous years and this provides buyers with more choice. Couple this with affordability being stretched and you will see that the adoption of a correct pricing strategy is of paramount importance. Those properties correctly positioned, are still finding buyers within the all-important first few weeks. Vendors and agents with historic price expectations are finding their properties languishing and risk achieving a lower price in the long run. Take these four showcased properties as an example of how pricing a home right in the current market, can lead to a swift conclusion with a positive outcome and price.

Marketed at Guide £550,000, 21 viewings and a sale agreed within 3 weeks
Property for sale in Cornwall -

Marketed at Guide £625,000, 19 viewings and a sale agreed within 2 weeks
Property for sale in Devon -

Marketed at Guide £575,000, 20 viewings and sale agreed within 2 weeks
Property for sale in Somerset -

Marketed at Guide £725,000, 16 viewings and sale agreed in just over a week.
Property for sale in Dorset -

The marketing reach of your agent has also taken on a renewed priority, gone are the days of launching onto a portal and expecting the phone to ring incessantly. Your photography and presentation must be top notch and please ensure that marketing covers both traditional and digital media, they reach different target demographics and it is the first thing that is cut by some.

So, there we have it. A brief summary of what you can expect if you are considering a move in the current market. Take the right professional advice, don’t have your head turned by over optimistic appraisals, and ensure that your chosen agent covers all marketing bases.

If you are considering buying or selling in the West Country, your local Stags team would be delighted to hear from you and guide you through the next steps.