Here we are well on our way into 2024. It’s safe to say the property market in Ystradgynlais and SA9 has woken up along with the daffodils!

Heading into Ystradgynlais and SA9’s prime selling season, let’s look at the year so far and our thoughts as we head into spring.

Not the start to the year we Expected

January in the Ystradgynlais property market is usually a quiet time for us at Roberts Homes. It’s a chance for us to pack away the Christmas decorations for another year, tie up some completions that were scheduled for after the festive season, and generally prepare for a new year.

So imagine our surprise when barely a week back into business the activity erupted. Clearly the uncertainty of 2023 left many buyers and sellers with pent-up desires to move home. The enquiries came in thick and fast for viewings, market appraisals and new instructions. Hearing from other agents nationwide, market activity appears to have been similar across most of the UK.

Viewing numbers for the first week of February were the highest they’d been for us since October — and the first week of March peaked at double that figure. As we come towards the end of March, viewing levels remain consistent.

The First Question on Everyone’s Mind – What’s Happening with Prices?

As we’ve stressed many times, the crazed seller’s market of 2020-2022 has gone. Most sellers are beginning to understand that with everyone’s’ purse-strings being tightened by the current economic climate, buyers are much more price-sensitive. You only have to look at properties that have changed from one agent to another over the last year with little movement in price, still waiting to sell, to prove that.

As we move into the second quarter of 2024, are prices increasing? Well, not exactly.

Property prices inflated post-COVID, but they have now mostly returned to normal. Whilst we’re not seeing an increase in prices, they do seem to have stabilised. As we move into the second quarter of 2024, this trend looks set to continue, with steady buyer demand underpinning the market.

Believe it or not, the weather is still a factor

Apart from a crisp, cold snap in January, once again we’ve largely had terrible wet weather for the majority of the first quarter of 2024. It rained nearly the whole of February and sadly this continued well into March.

Last year’s traditional spring market activity was also delayed for us from its expected time of mid-March, and didn’t really start until the sun came out in mid-May, at which point we saw a significant increase in viewings and new listings.

It’s not just the practical things that bad weather affects in the property market (gardens not being at their best, trudging around with an umbrella on drizzly days) but also peoples’ moods take a toll. Brighter days foster a sense of optimism, and as buying new home is huge emotional, as well as logical decision, this plays a huge part in market activity.

Following this pattern, it’s safe to assume that based on current activity levels, we’re going to see a marked increase as and when the weather improves.

First-time Buyers are Coming Back!

With more stability in interest rates, and better mortgage rates from lenders, we’re seeing a significant increase in first-time-buyers keen to get out there to view property.

Whilst first-time buyers usually aren’t afraid of a little work, if you’re selling a property in that price range, it makes sense to prepare it for first-time buyers. An old kitchen will not likely put most buyers off, but any issues that could affect the property’s mortgageability will exclude it from large portion of the market. Addressing potential issues upfront eliminates concerns for first-time buyers who may not have the resources to tackle major repairs.

Property Moving Slowly at the Top End

Despite the flurry of activity so far this year, we have noticed that the higher end of the market (£300k+) is moving much slower than the rest.

Luxury homes naturally come with a heftier price tag, leading to a more cautious and calculated decision-making process. Higher interest rates can significantly impact the affordability of high-value mortgages. Potential buyers in this bracket may still be waiting for better deals from lenders before taking the plunge.

Additionally, buyers in this segment might be more particular about what they’re looking for. They may be searching for a property with specific features, amenities, or a unique location, leading to a longer search time. With an increased financial commitment, buyers looking in this price range are less likely to compromise.

Finally, it’s important to consider the domino effect of property chains. Families looking to upsize often need to sell their current home before they can offer on a larger one. Delays in the lower or middle market can have a ripple effect, impacting sales in the higher end as well.

While the overall market for high-end properties might show a slower pace due to these factors, it’s important to note that properties with unique features or exceptional character are still attracting interest. This indicates a continued desire for luxury in Ystradgynlais and SA9, albeit with a more cautious and discerning approach from buyers.

A Rise in buyers not ready to proceed

We’ve recently seen a large increase in buyers wishing to book viewings whose properties are not on the market.

The “find my next home first” approach is a common one, and we understand the hesitation to sell without a clear next step. However, there’s a way to navigate the market that benefits both sellers and buyers.

Many home-movers are eager find their next home before putting their own homes on the market. While this avoids some uncertainty, it can also limit your options. The perfect new home might appear, but unless you’re ready to move forward quickly, another buyer with a pre-marketed property could beat you to it.

Here’s how to be proactive without the risk:

  • Connect with a local estate agent. They can provide a market appraisal, giving you a realistic selling price for your current home. This empowers you to make informed decisions about your next move.
  • Discuss your timeline. Estate agents can estimate how long it takes to get your property listed and potentially sold. This knowledge helps you plan your search for your new home.
  • Get Ready for listing Some agents may be willing to prepare your property for sale with photographs and all the details beforehand, and simply delay the marketing until you’re ready to go.

By taking these initial steps, you’ll be well-positioned to act when the right opportunity arises. You’ll have a clear understanding of your current home’s value and avoid delays when you find your dream property.

It’s Election Year

While the UK general election can introduce a period of uncertainty, its impact on the property market is often nuanced. Historically, there’s little evidence of long-term price changes solely due to elections. However, the pre-election period might see a temporary slowdown as both buyers and sellers adopt a “wait-and-see” approach, waiting for the outcome and potential policy changes that could affect the market.

Ultimately, the most significant impact might come from the winning party’s specific housing policies, such as proposed changes to taxation, building regulations, or intervention in affordability, which can influence the market’s direction in the longer term.

Wrapping Up

It’s safe to say we’re excited about the 2024 spring property market in Ystradgynlais and SA9. We’ll be back again to see how things are going over the summer.

Categories: Blog, Property MarketPublished On: March 21, 2024

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