Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Bottoms up in Bath!

The big Christmas lights switch on with John Cleese in Bath last Thursday has signalled the official beginning of the festive period and as we know this is usually followed by the swift hibernation of the UK housing market!

However, in recent years with increasing access to property via web portals and smart-phone web apps the housing market has become far less seasonal and 2011 as a whole looks to be continuing that trend.

The early ‘New Year’ market was particularly buoyant in the southwest region and certainly out-performed the perceived stronger selling seasons of spring and early summer and this has become somewhat of a trend in recent years as quick decisions about property are made following the Christmas and New Year break.

The early autumn market too used to be a popular period for both buyers and sellers but the summer holiday hangover seems to have lasted longer in recent years and that is certainly true of 2011 in the southwest as the market didn’t really start to pick up until early October. We’re now rapidly approaching the end of November and viewing levels are still encouraging even though quality stock is in short supply and the viewing to offer ratio has come down to approximately 1 in 8 for October which was 1 in 49 in September. Activity is such that we have just released two new properties to the market, something that we would not have generally advised in years gone by and after just a few days we have had several viewings on both and an early bid on each.

It is also worthy of note that the greatest activity, particularly since the summer has centred on property below £1m and even more so on those below £500,000 suggesting that should a recovery be forthcoming it will have been supported to a greater extent from the bottom up rather than from the top down! In Bath we are particularly keen on increasing the level of city centre property that we are dealing with but we are now focusing just as much on high quality flats and apartments as we are on fine Georgian town houses due to the greater demand.

I am convinced that with just a few more positive headlines regarding the housing market we will see the return of buyers for the regions prime country houses, although in many cases significant price reviews will be needed as unrealistic pricing has been a fundamental reason for the severe lack of activity and confidence in this sector of the market in recent months.

So the Christmas parties, drinks receptions and general celebrations will have to wait at least for a few more weeks while we still have willing buyers and motivated sellers. We have all learned a great deal from the 2011 market, particularly from the vantage point of our new office here in Bath, the recovery is clearly going to be a slower process than many ‘experts’ predicted back in 2008/9 and old fashioned proactive agency together with realistically priced property will be the key to a successful 2012 and we’re eagerly anticipating a busy and productive New Year.

Patrick Brady

Residential, Bath

No comments: