Love it or hate it most of us have had a game or two of monopoly in our time. When we first fought over the sports car and were left with that scruffy boot token, we didn’t realise we were getting our initiation into the world of property ownership.
Fast forward and it might seem, given the conflicting news of economy and market conditions, that a roll of the dice might be just as good a way to decide if this is the year to “Advance to Go” and move house or settle on a “Free Parking” mind space and put off for another 12 months.
In truth, we are living in times of rapid change, conflict, mini budgets, inflation, and uncertainty which is understandable given the cumulative impact of the past three years. It’s therefore no surprise that we might hesitate when it comes to one of the largest financial decisions we’ll make.
Now I’m not about to offer definitive assurances on the future economic outlook and the likely rise or fall of your property value. However, what I trust are experience and instincts and equally those of my colleagues and trusted contacts.
We’re experiencing a property market that has not reflected the negative headline predictions, projected by the mainstream media. By contrast we are pleased to report that quietly confident clients continue to provide a consistent level of instruction, from first time buyers to down-sizers.
That trajectory of sales volumes in our region (South West England) has continued, allowing now for a reversion to the normal pace of property transactions.
The property market’s buoyancy has been attributed to a steady migration of buyers seeking second homes and, more often now, main residences in the region. Seeking a better quality of life sees those living in or close to the capital picking out the South West due to the stunning countryside and attractive towns, villages, and cities such as Bath. We live in a fabulous part of the world, and the word is getting out, creating a demand for property all along the chain and throughout the year.
Those once predictable seasonal fluctuations have evened out across the year as our decisions over when to move are driven by personal circumstance which requires action at the moment rather than delayed suiting the time of year.
As for property values, they’ve remained consistently strong with only minor fluctuations. Apps such as Zoopla might flatter or devalue a home due to factors which are governed by their algorithm and data which may not be accurate and/or up to date. Apps can be useful tools for an overview of the available property but is only a very rough guide on pricing. If you search for “Zoopla valuation accuracy” you’ll see why it’s often more a hindrance than help.
The cost of building, renovating, and extending property has increased considerably. You will see these costs most directly when looking at “new home” developments. Given the choice between a new build and other property, you’ll need to weigh up those “in-built” premiums of both materials and labour and consider if, over time the home will appreciate sufficiently to see a positive return and avoid you being in negative equity. This is of particular concern if you are unsure as to the length of time you’ll be in this new home.
When it comes to advice, we’re able to support those at all stages of the chain however we’re particularly keen to support a group that is often overlooked.
We hear a lot about first-time buyers and the incentives and support to assist prospective homeowners to get onto the ladder but what of those who’ve made it “past Go” and are on their next roll of the dice? We’re talking about first-time sellers; they may recall their first-time buyer experience but once you’re in the chain it can be a whole new “board game”.
With age, complexities of land ownership, rights of way and numerous other factors relating to properties in the region it will pay to speak to local agents and for the transaction engage reputable local solicitors, ahem! (Yours truly and colleagues would be very happy to assist in that process). Other law firms are of course available 😉.
Our general advice for the year ahead and beyond is to concentrate on your specific circumstances, assess your needs, be clear on your financial position and make a decision that works for you. In economically challenging times, you may be fortunate and find a bargain but equally, there may be pressure to reduce the asking price from those expressing an interest in your home.
To help plan your next move as either buyer, seller or both we’ve created a handy list of tips and resources that are worth considering and help provide greater confidence.
Click here to access a few useful tips to consider when the time comes to Advance to Go on your property plans.
If you would like to discuss your property plans with me or one of the team please don’t hesitate to call 01225 750058 or email email@example.com alternatively provide a little more info by filling in the form below and we’ll get back to you promptly.