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Thursday 2nd February 2023

House Prices - It's The Talk Of The Town.

exeter & devon conveyancingWhen we’re not discussing the weather, we Brits love a chat about house prices - even if we’re not moving ourselves. What’s my house worth? What about the one next door? Not forgetting the house I used to live in? And why not. A house purchase is the most important one most of us ever make. We all want reassurance that we did or are about to do the right thing.

Being able to access house sale prices online has only fuelled this constant curiosity. Newspapers in particularly know that any story involving house prices always generate sales. But should you believe them?

Nationally sales achieved are sliding as people hunker down to cope with rising energy and food bills. The average cost of a home fell by 1.1% in November along against a background of soaring mortgage rates.

It’s all about supply and demand, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Global real estate and investment management firm JLL, forecast that over the next four years the government’s target of 5.5 million new homes with be at least half a million short.

Reuters quote economists at Japanese bank Nomura forecasting a 15% drop overall on UK prices by the middle of next year. Meanwhile mortgage lenders Halifax predict house prices will fall by 8% this year. Whoever you believe, there is no doubt that the housing market has slowed dramatically as mortgage approvals have sunk to their lowest level since the middle of 2020.

However here in Devon the county is still regarded as a sellers’ market with property advice service Propcast saying that 55% of homes for sale are either under offer or subject to contract.

Here at Rundlewalker, based on Exeter’s Quayside, we know that the Exeter and Exe Estuary areas tell an even more optimistic story. With Exeter regularly in the top ten of cities to live, it’s not surprising that those now fleeing major cities, are seeking out smaller communities. Exeter offers a city buzzing with benefits. It’s situated in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, within easy reach of coasts, countryside and moors.

The lockdowns and restrictions during Covid changed the landscape of the UK in a number of significant ways. Working from home made many of us re-assess how and where we work. An outside space became a priority along with a designated inside space in which to work. The kitchen table didn’t cut it any longer for a serious day’s work. Gazing out of a window in a tiny city centre flat became the new hell on earth. Once again many of the  buyers we act for are either new arrivals, or existing dwellers who are often upgrading.

One example of this is the Exeter University effect. Our Conveyancing Team at Rundlewalker frequently help parents who can afford it, to buy their student children a house or a flat in the city as an investment. What often then happens is our services are engaged again a few years later as the parents have fallen in love with the city themselves. They then decide to upgrade the student pad to bigger house as a second home.

Some towns on the Exe Estuary have reinvented themselves thanks to lockdown. For example, Budleigh Salterton has been gradually shedding its retirement image. The pretty seaside town, once dubbed one of the most popular final resting places for the wealthy, has enjoyed a renaissance, partly triggered by lockdowns. The town’s beach witnessed a surge of campervans full of surfers and paddle boarders. This younger crowd has injected some vibrancy into the town with thriving shops, cafes and restaurants.

In a survey conducted in 500 UK high streets over a three year period to December 2022, footfall in Budleigh high street increased by 59%. Instead of visiting their elderly parents there, this new age group now want to live there. Nearby Sidmouth too enjoys a more dynamic cosmopolitan profile than it did a decade ago.

As Jodie Everard, a conveyancing specialist in Rundlewalker’s conveyancing team says, ‘there are many reasons why people buy a house. It’s not always the traditional three D’s, death, debt or divorce.

‘Covid and the associated restrictions changed everyone’s perspective on where and how they want to live. Our clients do the fun bit of falling in love with a property, and we make it happen. We offer a competitive, thorough and transparent service to ensure this most important of all purchases goes through safely and smoothly with a happy ending.’

For more information, call our Residential Conveyancing Team on 01392 209209 or contact us via email at solutions@rundlewalker.com.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.