It's no secret that the property market has been frenzied in many sectors. Covid has changed our priorities, the way we want to live, and where we want to live. These are the overriding reasons for what has been a frenzied market.
So what happens next? And should would-be buyers hang on, or join in? Stacks Property Search's experts share their thoughts.
Clare Coode of Stacks Property Search in Cornwall, says: “I don't expect the speed and frenzy of this market to abate any time soon. Prices have risen across the board, the best properties sell before they make it onto the portals, supply is limited, and many properties go to best and final offers. Cornwall has now taken over London as the most searched for location on Rightmove. If you're not a serious buyer, this is not the time for window shopping. There are buyers in Cornwall who have been looking for over two years, during that time prices have risen by anything from 20% to 50%.
“Buyers need to be determined, if you see something you like you need to jump into the car to view it immediately. Waiting 24 hours will probably take you out of the running. The idea of lining up three or four properties to view at the end of the weekend is no longer an option. So if you don't need to buy this year or the early part of '22, keep a watching brief, and wait till the froth dies down. My view is that it will, but probably not in the immediate future.
“If you have an urgent need to buy in Cornwall, get your finances sorted, and put your running shoes by the door. Line yourself up an excellent solicitor, and if you're not local you'll need local eyes, ears and feet on the ground. Your best character traits in this market are determination and decisiveness.”
Ed Jephson of Stacks Property Search in Devon, agrees: “We are in unprecedented times. In the South Hams, there are well over 50 buyers for every property over £500,000. Ninety per cent of properties between £800k and £1.5k in the South Hams are going to best and final offers. Buyers with pockets full of cash and determination are pushing up prices. Some would-be sellers have been sitting on their hands, but the current situation is likely to tempt them onto the market. A bit more supply will produce a good vital market, but I just don't see demand dampening for the foreseeable future.
“The urgency doesn't end when a buyer has an offer accepted. After that, the pressure is on – to exchange as quickly as possible. It's all about having the right solicitor. If you can find an excellent local solicitor who is using London techniques to exchange quickly you increase your chances of a successful outcome dramatically. This is no market for sleepy solicitors.”
James Law of Stacks Property Search in Dorset, adds: “Second-home buyers are incredibly frustrated; like Devon and Cornwall, Dorset has seen swathes of second-home buyers determined to find a coastal or country bolthole, and primary property buyers looking for farmhouses and rectories. We're waiting for supply to increase, but many properties here change hands quietly or pass from generation to generation, and outsiders don't get a look in. Downsizers are in a very strong position and I would urge them to take advantage of a rising market.”
James Greenwood, managing director of Stacks Property Search, concludes: “We're operating in unprecedented times so there can be no certainty around the future of this market. Some of the price rises we have seen were due; country prices had lagged well behind London for years, some re-balancing was required. Buyers need to reset their expectations about what their budget will buy, and they need to be determined and serious. We could of course plunge into a post-pandemic recession. Current predictions point towards a period of inflation, so buyers who are paying a little over the odds in today's market should be protected.
“There will undoubtedly be some corrections. I wouldn't talk the bears out of holding tight and seeing what happens in a year or two, but if your life requirements involve buying now, hold tight and get on with it. Arm yourself with the best advisors at all points in the journey.”