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Understanding the property market – just what is going on?

The last 5 years have seen the domestic property market on something of a rollercoaster, with recovery from the financial crisis of 2008 punctuated by the EU Referendum in 2016 and General Elections in 2010, 2015, 2017 and - here we go again - 2019.

The underlying strength of demand in the north Hertfordshire area has ensured that the market has remained surprisingly steady throughout this turbulent period. There have been peaks and troughs, however, with quiet periods being largely attributable to too few properties coming to the market when potential sellers have lacked the confidence to contemplate a move, rather than a lack of demand from buyers. At Charter Whyman, we keep a very close eye on these trends so that we can best advise both sellers and buyers. So, what does our finger on the pulse tell us about the health of the patient?

A study of the sales of six properties located in Lawrence Avenue in Letchworth Garden City provides a summary of recent history which can be applied to the local property maret as a whole. These six broadly similar three bedroom semis represent a microcosm of the wider market from mid-2015 to the present.

The trend in prices has been largely positive, although there have been a few dips along the way and prices have been steady, rather than surging upwards. A more interesting finding from our analysis is that there has been much greater variation in the number of viewings it took to generate the offers our sellers needed to achieve a satisfactory price. This is probably as good an indicator of the health of the market as the headline price achieved, if not better.

The toughest sale took 6 viewings to produce each offer, whilst the seller who had the easiest ride only had to put up with 1.57 viewings per offer. Letchworth house sellers can take comfort from the fact that the national average is 15 viewings per offer!

The difference between the guide price and that achieved has only varied between +3.33% and -4.44%, although it does help if your agent gets the guide price right in the first place – to get the right price, get the price right!