Estate Agent Predictions for Housing Market in Chipping Sodbury and Yate 2015
Mince pies, mulled wine, carol singing and novelty Christmas jumpers are more the order of the day at this time of year.
But, what about the prospects, I hear you say, for the housing market in Chipping Sodbury, Yate and the surrounding South Gloucestershire countryside for 2015
We hear you, dear reader, and have rounded up, prodded and bribed with our love and never ending good wishes 5 Top Chipping Sodbury Estate Agents to give us their experiences of 2014, their predictions for the first half of 2015 and what if any impact the recent reduction in Stamp Duty may make.
Question 1: How Would You Characterise The Housing Market in in Chipping Sodbury, Yate and South Gloucestershire in 2014
2014 was definitely an interesting year according to our Estate Agents.
Paul Higgins from Milburys comments:
The first half went through the roof where there was a release from the bottleneck of buyers in the wings. This demand (due to a shortage of supply from the previous slowed-up 2013 market) meant that properties were snapped up and prices increased accordingly as Joe Public realised that they could get more money than Joe Smith did – for his identical house two doors down – the week prior.
As is always the case, when it got to the stage of appearing ‘silly’ (more the case in London or even Bristol where desperation to buy resulted in bids far above asking price, or the unprofessional bun fights with ‘Open House’ days that spiralled out of control) Joe Buyer started to hold back with words to the effect of ‘How much!? Who are you kidding?! Let’s just rent/stay where we are/wait for this to all calm down/wait for prices to come down’, and hey presto a double dip. It became very evident in June/July time that the bubble was bursting, but took till much later for sellers to recognise this and admit to themselves that news reports of ‘continued price increases’ were reflecting the early part of the year rather than what was happening on the ground.
The later part of the year still remained steady but less frantic and more careful pricing was needed. Still a good demand although a cautious one.
The Help to Buy scheme and the Governor of the Bank of England has a role to play as Stuart MacKendrick of MacKendrick Norcott noted:
In 2014 we experienced an increase in prices by 10-12% from February through to the end of July. It might be considered a small window within which such a dramatic movement in values could take place but this is the nature of the ‘Property Market’ in the internet era.
Property values have been fluctuating within a band of 20% since 2007, falling twice and recovering twice during the past seven years or so.
A further interesting observation is that during the past seven years buyers have outstripped sellers by at least three fold even when prices were falling, which, while defying the simple rule of economics, nonetheless took place.
The spark that ignited property values was the Governments ‘Help to Buy’ scheme which released a section of buyers who had thought that the opportunity to buy property had passed them by. So excited were they that their enthusiasm got the better of them and prices rose.
A halt was placed on the market only after the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney (never a fan of ‘Help to Buy’), stated the obvious that mortgage interest rates would rise. Mr Carney was not able to say when rates would rise but the statement was sufficient to effectively cause sentiment to evaporate and new sellers disappeared around August time until now.
Houses prices certainly rose quickly in the first part of 2014 as two of Estate Agent experts experienced.
Nick Cragg from Country Property
2014 started with vendors wanting the predicted 10% increase in house prices added to their asking prices! Consequently sales were slow to start but our sales have been up for 3 months of the year. The conveyancing process has been taking 2 to 6 months to complete, overall a frustrating year.
Christina Graham from David James & Partners concluded:
At the beginning of the year the prices were being consistently pushed higher and higher. Each house was going on the market slightly higher than the last. Selling readily too. Now it feels like the prices have plateaued and buyers are getting a little more reluctant to purchase at the higher prices. Sales have slowed down as have instructions.
Mike Ford from Edison Ford says:
Fragmented, the North/South divide is more prevalent than ever and the market as a whole is characterised by hot and cold spots. The local market has been warm throughout 2014.
Question 2: What would you expect house prices to do in Chipping Sodbury, Yate and South Gloucestershire in the first half of 2015?
Stuart MacKendrick offers some sound advice for those who are selling as well as buying:
A new year will bring a new market and sellers are likely to reappear. While there is a massive amount of interest and speculation regarding prices, that focus is in my opinion incorrectly set. Sellers are usually buyers and while rising prices introduces a feel good factor always remember that prices remain, in general terms, relative. Sell high and buy high, sell low and buy low. The critical factor in any market is the ability to ‘trade’. That is to say, the market needs willing buyers and willing sellers. The fact that prices are rising or falling is in truth irrelevant.
Nick Cragg thinks that prices will remain much the same, but maybe without the artificial cut off prices above £250,000 and £500,000 which have been eased significantly.
Christina Graham has a similar opinion and expects prices to remain steady, certainly initially.
Mike Ford expects the normal upturn in the first part of the year, but overall I expect the market to be steady and growth to reflect general inflation except for particular hotspots. Rental demand will stay robust.
Paul Higgins who has seen it all before asked me to pass him the duster – my crystal ball needs a buff…
Question 3. What do you think the impact will be, if any, of the reduction in Stamp Duty on the housing market in Chipping Sodbury, Yate and South Gloucestershire?
Most of the Estate Agents we asked feel the reduction in Stamp Duty will have a beneficial effect and in one instance has already lead to a sale.
Paul Higgins believes the new Stamp Duty rates have brought a fairness to the Housing Market but nevertheless remains a little wary:
The impact that the £250,000 and £500,000 extra percentage had was in some people’s minds like road works – a necessary evil. It helped curb house prices increasing beyond what was realistic in some cases. Now with the new system the savings for the “average” consumer are good – and fairer – so will help with doubt, but if too much is done to push the house market into action then the over demand will do what it always does; not enough houses, too many people wanting to buy, prices increase again, over spending/over confidence due to a low base rate, things get ‘silly’, prices need to come down again… and so on.
Stuart MacKendrick and Christina Graham agree with Paul Higgins.
Stuart MacKendrick says the Government has not gone far enough: This will be of benefit but the Government could have done more. If they had done so the whole of the national economy would benefit .
Christina Graham thinks that the impact of the stamp duty will be really positive on most of the market. The exception being the highest end. Overall most purchasers are going to pay considerably less stamp duty.
Nick Cragg is very positive: The stamp duty change has already produced a sale at just over £250,000 which had been stuck as a result of the old system, and will save the buyer over £7,000. Properties worth just over the threshold should now stand a chance of selling at their rightful prices.
Mike Ford has the only dissenting voice as he does not expect the stamp duty changes to have any significant impact locally or anywhere else for that matter. However it will impact on London and properties at the top end of the market which will be effected negatively.
What Do We Think This Means For You?
Forecasting the National Housing Market let alone the Local Housing Market has proved notoriously difficult over recent years.
Ask an Estate Agent or Conveyancing Solicitor to describe a normal Housing Market and there may well be a few intakes of breath and a scratching of heads.
Steady As She Goes...
Steady as she goes would be our interpretation of our Estate Agents views.
It is in everyone’s interest for the Housing Market to remain stable and not too frothy.
Especially when you are buying and selling, as Stuart MacKendrick urged, the price you pay for your new home and the price you receive for your existing home will be a relative one. In other words don’t set out with the idea that you can sell high and buy low and do it quickly and successfully.
We think, as most of the Estate Agents do that the reduction in Stamp Duty will have an impact.
Those people who have been put off by the high cost just for the privilege of moving may be stirred into action. Suddenly, buying a house at £300,000 will result in a saving of £4,000 from the previous Stamp Duty amount. A considerable amount of money!
General Mood of Optimism
The early anecdotal evidence is that the Housing Market has slightly stirred since the Stamp Duty announcement.
The general mood of optimism which remained relatively strong in 2014 should still be in evidence in the early part of 2015.
If you are thinking of moving, 2015, may be a very good time to consider it.
But, as our local Estate Agent experts advise – just don’t get carried away.
Steady as she goes…