2018 has mainly been a year of readjustments as the country readies itself to leave the EU next year. The housing market and its successes have been hugely dependent on geography, with some parts of the country seeing active and strong markets whilst others have seen value falls and a slowdown in transaction levels. Fortunately, for us in East Anglia, our offices in Newmarket, Haverhill, Saffron Walden, Ely and Cambridge have seen good transaction levels throughout the year, with only minor pockets of price readjustments. And it can be seen that blanket statements about property price drops or decreasing transaction levels being issued via the various house price indices are not necessarily always relevant to individual markets.
To illustrate, the Cheffins Cambridge office has seen over 40 houses sold over the £1 million mark in 2018, with around 20 per cent of these sales ending in sealed bids, which is indicative of the sheer levels of demand for the best properties in the area. Clearly one of the most important areas in the UK currently when it comes to economic growth, the Cambridge market has seen transaction levels continued undiminished in all price brackets throughout the year, with sales volumes for the last quarter of 2018 higher than those in the same time frame in 2017, which goes to show the power of the Cambridge Phenomenon. Cambridge city’s success has had a knock-on effect on Ely, Saffron Walden, Haverhill and Newmarket all of which have benefitted exponentially from its economic growth.
Whilst higher stock levels might give the impression of a drop in house prices, the fact is that the total number of houses sold throughout 2018 was on a par with 2017. The summer months did see a fall in transaction levels, as the baking hot weather and the excitement of the World Cup diverted peoples attentions throughout July and August, however activity picked up again across the board in the autumn. Favourable fixed-rate mortgage deals on offer have helped to encourage movers looking to make the most of the cheap money on offer. There have been fewer investment or buy-to-let purchasers in the market this year, however the void has been filled with first time buyers, especially in the more affordable areas we cover including Ely, Newmarket town centre and Haverhill. However, the investment buyers have not completely disappeared and we are still seeing the odd purchase, particularly for new build properties.
Forecast to 2019
Unsurprisingly, some purchasers have been reluctant to commit to buying until after the ramifications of Brexit become clearer, however this is likely to cause pent up demand which could lead to increases in value in 2019. Whilst the upper end of the market has been hit hardest by fluctuations, this is likely to be the sector which will bounce back quickest next year. Similarly, we are forecasting that sales for the best in class of rural and village homes are likely to increase as suppressed demand returns to the market. Cambridge is still set to see thousands of employees move to the area with the likes of Samsung, AstraZeneca, ARM and others, and this brings with it opportunities for all of the necklace towns and villages. Key points for success for next year will be setting realistic house prices from the outset and presentation. Increased stock levels will give buyers more choice so we would advise homeowners to ensure that their homes are presented to the best level possible in order to attract buyers.
Should you wish Cheffins to undertake a valuation on your home, please get in touch with Mark Peck, Head of Residential, on 01353 654900.