Across England's fragmented property market, there are pockets of areas where demand remains relatively high, holding house prices and, to some extent, favouring sellers. However, as prices continue to cool and sellers find it increasingly difficult to secure high prices for their homes, the battlefield becomes more even.
The latest market analysis from Sirius Property Finance highlights such areas, presenting the best opportunity for savvy homebuyers based on the underperformance of both house price growth and buyer demand when compared to the national average and, therefore, presenting the best markets for buyers at present when it comes to securing a steal.
The property market has been feeling the pinch since last September’s shambolic mini-budget and the latest figures (Dec 22) show that since September, the average house price has increased by just 0.4%.
At the same time, buyer demand levels have also fallen by -9.2%, with 48.3% of homes currently listed for sale already sold subject to contract or under offer, versus 57.5% in September.
In fact, every county of England has seen a drop in buyer demand levels since September’s mini-budget, while Dorset (-1.4%), Devon (-0.6%), London (-0.5%), Surrey (-0.1%) and Wiltshire (-0.1%) are the only counties to have seen a drop in the average house price so far. However, despite a house price drop, buyer demand levels in these counties haven’t declined as severely as in other areas.
In fact, the research by Sirius Property Finance shows that there are no less than seven counties that have not only seen demand levels fall by a greater percentage than the national average, but have also seen a lower rate of house price growth since September when compared to the national benchmark.
Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Cumbria, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight have all seen house price growth increase by less than 0.4% since September, while buyer demand levels have reduced by more than 9.2%.
This double-barrelled drop in market performance means that these counties currently present some of the best opportunities for buyers, not only due to the fact that house prices are now levelling out but also because the competition for said properties is starting to dwindle, putting the power in the hands of the buyer when it comes to negotiating.
Kimberley Gates, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Sirius Property Finance, commented: “With the market starting to cool, sellers simply aren’t securing the same high price that they may have done a few months ago and this presents a great opportunity for buyers to potentially pick up a discount when negotiating.
"This is largely down to a reduction in buyer activity levels and with fewer parties fighting it out for a given property, sellers don’t have the luxury of inciting a bidding war in order to boost their sold price.
"In many instances, they may be struggling to attract any interest at all and this change in the landscape tips the scales very much in favour of the nation’s buyers.
"Of course, it’s important to note that one pocket of the market differs from the next and while demand is down in some areas, sellers are continuing to enjoy a notable increase in the value of their homes. So when deciding on your negotiation strategy, it’s important you know what’s happening in your local market to increase your chances of success.”