'Great time to sell' as Norfolk property market sustains strong demand
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The arrival of spring and, with it, warmer weather and budding gardens, makes both buyers and sellers think about getting into the property market.
But as in so many respects, this year is unusual, as last year's buoyancy has remained sustained throughout winter.
“There is huge demand for homes in Norfolk, and quite simply, not enough supply to meet that demand,” says Mrs Hÿtch, residential partner at Arnolds Keys and chairwoman of the Norwich and District Association of Estate Agents (NDAEA).
“The second half of 2020 saw a real surge. Whether that was as a result of pent-up demand from when the market paused in the first lockdown, or an anticipation that the market was only going to go one way as lockdown eases, is difficult to say – probably a combination of both. Add in the stamp duty holiday, and it’s easy to see why demand is so strong.
“That means it is very much a sellers’ market. With no-one quite knowing what the autumn will bring, there is little reason for potential vendors not to come to market right now, especially with the stamp duty holiday having been extended in one form or another until September.”
To understand how Norfolk's property market is shaping up, we asked NDAEA members some key questions about the market right now – and their responses are illuminating.
How can sellers make the most of the stamp duty holiday extension?
“First and foremost it’s important for those thinking of selling to get their property on the market as soon as possible,” says Ben Rivett, joint head of residential at Savills Norwich.
“Life will go on after the stamp duty holiday ends and we are expecting demand to remain strong throughout this year and into next – in part due to the sheer volume of buyers we currently have on our books. The most recent restrictions only seem to have reaffirmed people’s desire to move and buyers are keen to complete purchases quickly. Sellers who are ready to go – with all their paperwork in place – are in the strongest position.”
But when it comes to making the most of the stamp duty holiday extension more widely, NDAEA members are agreed that getting the price right is key. “Sellers need to ensure their home is priced correctly to sell,” says Ken Shipman of Shipmans. “If it has been on the market for say a month with little interest, the market is not wanting to pay the price shown, so vendors may need to look at a price reduction.”
“It is essential that vendors list at the correct price,” says Alex Parish of Whittley Parish. “Ensure the agent has valued correctly - have they priced similar comparable properties that they have personally sold? List at a competitive price point to generate interest quickly from the onset, to hopefully enable the seller to have a choice of multiple buyers and proceed with the purchaser in the best position.”
Vendors should avoid prices just over the stamp duty thresholds, says Steve Pymm of Pymm & Co. “Make sure it fits in and around the stamp duty thresholds - £500k up to the end of June, £250k up to the end of September, so price it with these in mind. Don’t pitch it at £255k or £515k, for instance.”
With time running out, having everything in place is crucial, says Katie Mountain at Arnolds Keys. “Vendors needs to get their property onto the market asap, in the next few days,” she says. “Have all the paperwork to hand for the solicitors once a sale has been agreed to stop any delays along the process.”
What is the spring market like – is now a good time to sell?
“It is a great time to sell,” says Joanna McIntyre of Musker McIntyre. “Traditionally spring is the time when the market flourishes, this year more than any other we are seeing an upturn in good enquiries from buyers willing and able to purchase.
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“With the ‘work from home’ genie out of the bottle, there is still a strong surge of interest and demand for houses with home offices or outbuildings, and large gardens – and of course there are those who want to ‘escape to the country’.”
“Stocks are at an all-time low following such a busy 2020,” says Clive Hedges, manager of Arnolds Keys’ coastal office. “There will be a renewed enthusiasm with the gradual easing of lockdown, and time to make plans.”
Where are the property hotspots in Norfolk at the moment?
NDAEA members report many hotspots across Norfolk – but especially on the coast. “Coastal areas are seeing extremely high demand levels, significantly increasing property values,” says Alex Parish.
Clive Hedges agrees: “The coast is seeing all types of demand from families right through to retirement. Furthermore, with staycation well and truly engrained in our vocabulary, more and more investors are buying properties suitable for holiday letting.”
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Market towns are also proving popular. “Market towns, villages and areas with strong communities, even in rural areas, are in demand,” says Joanna McIntyre. “South of Norwich towards Loddon, Bungay and Beccles, as well as the market towns of Diss and Harleston.”
“In Norwich, locations with good family amenities and transport links are doing well,” says Katie Mountain, manager of Arnolds Keys’ city office. “That particularly includes city suburbs such as Thorpe St Andrew, Cringleford, Eaton, and Hellesdon.”