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West Country property market: Winter review

Mon 25 January 2021

I know that 2020 proved to be rollercoaster of a year in selling West Country property and, in my over 30 years with Stags, I can’t recall a year like it, not even the 1988 or the 2007 boom. 

The year started briskly with the positivity generated from the Brexit deal, though just as the Spring was approaching we head into the first lockdown, due to the emergence of Covid-19.  Overnight the property market was shut down, with many disappointed sellers and buyers having to sit on their hands unable to think about a property move. 

On the 22nd May the government announced that the property market was open for business and overnight all our 21 offices noticed a massive increase in activity levels, which continued throughout the Summer, into the Autumn and, indeed, towards Christmas.  During that busy period levels of activity by way of viewings, offers and sales, were 200%-300% more than the equivalent period the previous year.  Indeed, looking at interesting stats from our website, shows that the level of enquiries from our website during the Summer and Autumn of 2020 were 300% more than the norm for the previous 2 years, showing the demand for West Country property throughout the UK and abroad.

Though solicitors and agents are still working feverishly to ensure that contracts are exchanged on existing deals prior to the STLT deadline for saving expiring at the end of March, we are now in lockdown 3, which has, understandably, dampened the marketplace from what one would normally see in January.  However, the government have also made it clear that the property market is open for business as long as it is in a safe, and stringent guidelines are followed. As a result, Stags’ offices throughout the West Country are still carrying out ‘in person’ and ‘remote’ valuations of properties, as well as arranging for them to go onto the market.  Viewing activities are, understandably, lower but those who are out viewing do seem determined to acquire a property and the level of offers and sales that have been agreed is at an equivalent level for January.

It would seem that lockdown will continue for most, if not all of, February and, therefore, the house-moving regime is likely to continue.  It is, therefore, feasible for homeowners who are comfortable with this to contact their agent and arrange for a valuation and, indeed, put in steps for photography and brochure preparation so that properties can go onto the market in February and March ready for the normal buoyant time. 

I certainly predict that once the country is out of lockdown there will, again, be an unprecedented demand for properties throughout the South West, though particularly properties in coastal and rural locations and if a homeowner is considering a move during 2021, or the following year, then it is worth having a conversation with your local Stags office to agree timing that suits you.

In regards to some statistics this year, the number of properties sold by Stags were at a similar level, despite having had 2 months in the first lockdown when it was completely frozen, which is an amazing result, though the pipeline of pending transactions at the beginning of February is up 151%.  The number of viewings during 2020, despite having 2 months of a full lockdown, ended up being some 6% up on the previous year, whilst the average price of a property sold by Stags in 2020 was up by an astounding 11.6% compared to the previous year.

On behalf of all Stags’ staff, we wish you a healthy and enjoyable 2021, whatever you are doing and we are here to help in any property related matter.

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