David Mackenzie @CJ_Bath: Resilience in local property market despite uncertainty
With the General Election finally behind us, it is a natural time to consider the possible ramifications it has had – and could still have - on Bath’s property market. Fortunately, after three consecutive years of political change and upheaval, property has proved to be inherently resilient, and consumer sentiment has shown that we are in a robust position to withstand any ongoing impact from parliamentary uncertainty.
A year ago, Brexit had an impact on Bath’s residential property market, breeding uncertainty and removing any sense of urgency among home movers. The market in Bath, particularly apartments, has taken a while to find its feet, partly because many investors had to re-think their strategy after the stamp duty on second homes was introduced in March 2016.
There is currently very good demand for properties in the core family house markets, and in areas near good schools and communication links. Undoubtedly, the market that has been hit hardest where stamp duty changes have made it more expensive to purchase, the investment market, and prime properties priced over £1million.
The village market has had a resurgence lately, no doubt because buyers get more for their money than in the centre of Bath – a fact not lost on the many downsizers in the region.
We have quite a few new developments coming forward in and around Bath, particularly on the edge of villages. We have now completed the sale of nine new townhouses in the popular village of Bathford, and all were sold either off-plan or just as they were completed. Most of the buyers were selling larger houses in the country and were looking for somewhere with a sense of community. Further sites coming forward are in Corsham, Temple Cloud, Chippenham and Beckington.
Our lettings team is seeing the greatest demand for city centre flats (up to £1,000 pcm) and family houses within a 5-mile radius of the centre of Bath (up to £2,000 pcm). Currently, stock isn’t keeping up with this demand – fewer owners are buying for investment because of stamp duty, and whereas previously the lettings market benefitted from people who would let their house because they couldn’t sell it, the appetite for buying has now improved.
Many people relocate to Bath for work or for a better way of life, and many choose to rent to avoid the stress of a chain or to test out an area before committing to it. For others, it is purely down to affordability. The profile and reach of our brand is such that we attract high quality tenants and, as such, we can achieve good rents for landlords.
Looking ahead, timing is everything with this market and we urge vendors to be exact with when they bring their property to market. We recommend that sellers choose an expert agent who has their feet on the ground when it comes to pricing. Make sure that your agent isn’t trying to tempt you to use them by overvaluing your property, as this can be very damaging and result in lost marketing time.
On the lettings side, landlords should also consider using an agent who can expertly guide them through their legal obligations – whether that’s regarding Legionnaires’ disease, tenant’s Right to Rent or the forthcoming EPC changes. Ultimately, summer into autumn is a great time to prepare a property for sale or to let, and we would urge vendors and landlords to get their photography done now, while the sun is shining, for the best possible presentation.
For further information, please contact Carter Jonas Bath on 01225 747250.