“Whilst the East Devon property market may not return to its pre-recession heights of activity over the course of 2014 –If the first few weeks of the year are anything to go by, we can certainly expect both an increase in house prices across the area and in part, as a result, a lot more sellers to enter the market as the year progresses – says Roger Wilkinson, of leading independent agency Wilkinson Grant & Co.
A feature of the market over recent years has been the absence of “discretionary sellers” – seller s who are selling because they want to as opposed to those that have to. Since the recession bit, the market has been driven by highly motivated “compulsory” sellers. If you are a growing family in a house that’s simply too small growing family , living in a house that you cannot afford to keep, your relationship has broken down, job move or you are the executor of someone’s estate – you pretty much have to sell and cope with whatever the market conditions.
Last year – particularly the last few months – showed a marked upturn in activity in the East Devon are and the resulting flurry of sales (at increasingly higher prices) resulted in a chronic shortage of properties – particularly in the favoured East Devon “hot spots”.
As the market across the UK recovers – at a pace, in some areas across the South of England in particular – and as many more businesses, individuals and families look to relocate to Exeter and the surrounding East side of the city , demand from out-of-area buyers is on the increase at a time when available stock is low.
As a result, we have seen some properties that have been on the market for some time going under offer and many of the properties fresh to the market attracting a great deal of interest in these early weeks of the New Year – several being snapped-up following busy Open Houses and several others attracting multiple bids within the first few weeks of marketing.
Whilst there has certainly been growing confidence in East Devon property over the last year or so, we have not experienced such a strong first few weeks of January for a long time – even more surprising given what has, after all, been a pretty cold, wet and windy start to this year.
It is in these “seller’s market” conditions that we would expect to see an increase in discretionary sellers – not so much cashing-in on higher prices ( although many will certainly benefit from the market rises) – but healthy sales activity should give sellers – who might otherwise have been cautious, or reluctant to see their hopes of selling dashed as their property sits on the market with little or no interest – the confidence to put their property on the market.
For some, it may feel a little early – especially with the Spring ahead, when gardens begin to bloom and spirits blossom – but the shortage of stock will bring many buyers plans forward as they seek out the best houses in their preferred locations for school and work.
Clearly, the best time to bring a property to market is when it looks its best but if ever the expression “the early bird catches the worm” was most applicable to the house market it is when demand is high and supply is short.
For many would-be sellers it may well be best to wait for full marketing until you can get photos that will do your property justice but we would, nonetheless, encourage anyone who is thinking of a selling this year to consider offering their property for sale “off-market” – you may well find a buyer who not only pay a good price but will be happy to wait for you to find your next property.