Spring may traditionally herald the start of the buying and selling season but it’s already in flow according to some of our top local agents.
“The market this year had a slow start partly because we had sold everything we had on the market but it’s certainly picking up now,” says Simon James of Comyn & James, who confirms eight sales in just two days prior to Easter.
“If your property is in a saleable price bracket, which is most properties under around £1m, especially property between £700,000 to £850,000 and family homes between £350,000 to £450,000, then buyer demand is there,” he adds.
“Setting the right price is still key to attracting buyers and we’re also finding buyers coming forward in better positions, perhaps with their own already under offer and more first time buyers although there’s less property available in that price range. In speaking to solicitors over the last couple of weeks, they are also reporting a lot more transactions coming through.”
As we head into the spring market Simon and his colleagues are in the process of ensuring each instruction has updated photography to reflect the new season and refresh marketing.
Comyn & James is a member of The Guild which has a reach across the UK from its network of agencies, through which they have recently upgraded their responsive website. The Pulborough agency is also extending its social media reach as Simon James explains, “We want to make sure that all the elements of marketing are used so that our properties reach as many people as possible using all media, combining traditional and new. We include the County Times and magazines as well as digital media to make sure the bases are covered, including upgrading our app.”
A full marketing mix is attracting buyers and house price indices, such as The Halifax, report prices were 3.8 per cent higher in the first quarter of this year compared to 2016.
The Nationwide reports the annual rate of house price growth slowed in March to 3.5 per cent (from 4.5 per cent in February). Prices in the ‘Outer South East’ showed an annual percentage change of 6.4 per cent.
According to the latest Land Registry figures to February, the average price in West Sussex is £314,216, with homes in the Horsham local authority averaging £374,533.
Within these average price data ranges are homes which are far from average.
At £325,000 Comyn & James is marketing a 3 bed end terrace with a low maintenance garden, as Simon James explains, “It’s a lovely little modern cottage, just one of three. It’s right in the centre of the village with everything within walking distance and has good parking so you’re not searching for an on-street space.
“And at £350,000 we have a two bedroom semi in Moat Lane, Pulborough, with a big garden. It’s tucked away on a non-estate location and needs a bit of updating but it’s in a lovely location with potential, subject to the necessary consents.”
At The Willows, Storrington, Fowlers has just taken on a three bedroom house at £329,950 with a conservatory. As one of just six properties, the end of terrace house backs on to the village pond and is set back from the road, screened by garages. “It’s well presented and the close has been cleverly designed for a little privacy and with just six houses there’s a sense of a small community,” says Marcel Hoad of Fowlers, who is also marketing an attractive two bedroom cottage at £325,000 in Amberley with outstanding views which is already generating strong interest.
Marcel also reports a busy start to the 2017 market with buyers keen to secure their next homes. “In the current market, asking prices are not rising considerably but values are starting to firm up. Offers being agreed are closer to the asking prices, so effectively sale prices are increasing slightly although it may not yet be apparent.”
The agency has recently agreed sales on two properties just under the £300,000 mark, one to a young family and another to a buyer keen to secure a home close to Storrington village centre.
“The market has been really busy this spring,” he says. “Seasonally it usually is busier at this time of year anyway but it started early this time. When the sun comes out it tends to help as everything looks its best.
“In active markets like this there can a big problem in getting stock on the market but we have had a good selection of properties, perhaps down to the fact we have a number of new homes, like the fabulous Abingworth Meadows in Thakeham by Oakford Homes. To assist people wanting to buy those new houses, we’re helping them sell their homes first.
“It’s exciting as we see more new developments coming to the market in the next few months, such as Loxwood Green by Antler Homes,” says Marcel. “We’re already building our register of interested buyers ready for when the first homes are released for sale.” t its best.