'We offered £20k over and still lost out': Frantic housing market revealed

Ella Wilkinson and Tom Thurlbourn and right: Andrea and Paul Taylor

Left inset: Ella Wilkinson and Tom Thurlbourn and right: Andrea and Paul Taylor, share their experiences of trying to buy in Norfolk this year - Credit: Ella Wilkinson/Andrea Taylor/PA

House prices in Norfolk have increased by around £24,000 in just 12 months, keeping people in rented accommodation despite having hefty deposits behind them. 

The average home in the county has increased from £228,630 in 2020 to £252,848 in 2021, an increase of 10.6pc in just a year. 

In the same month - April - of 2019, the average house price was just shy of £222,000, according to HM Land Registry. 

The spike in prices was the highest in Breckland, where prices increased 12.8pc in a year from £225,511 to £254,312. 

This was closely followed by West Norfolk and King's Lynn which increased by 12.7pc from £216,105 to £243,534. 

The most expensive homes in the county remain in South Norfolk, where average prices have gone from £268,215 to £299,379. 

Sold signs

Estate agents have warned buyers to stay by the phone - Credit: PA

However the more urban constituencies of Norwich and Great Yarmouth saw the lowest level of increases - 6.9pc and 8.3pc  respectively. 

Most Read

In Norwich, this meant that homes increased from £201,507 to £215,448. 

Professor Eric Smith is a housing market expert based at the University of Essex, and said that the housing market was seeing a "musical chairs" effect with a mass exodus from the city. 

He said: "Now's the time to buy in London because everyone's just gone through a pandemic. They've spent months trapped in a one-bed flat and now with tele-commuting they don't need to be there. 

"So people are moving further out - and even those that might be in surburbia are moving further because they don't need to commute into a town or city. Some people are leapfrogging that step entirely and are moving straight from a city to a rural location."

But, he added, the market will right itself instead of popping entirely: "There's only a finite number of people who want to do this and they will run out. The market will rebalance itself and I think we'll see the prices coming down - there's no telling when that will be though." 

  • Andrea and Paul Taylor
Andrea and Paul Taylor

Andrea and Paul Taylor are looking to buy in Taverham - Credit: Andrea and Paul Taylor

When department administrator Andrea and her husband Paul moved back to the UK from Southern California this year they did not expect to battle droves of buyers for every house they viewed. 

But having offered on three houses - either at or above the asking price - Mrs Taylor has decided to continue renting in Taverham until the market calms down. 

She said: "I think prices have gone up even since January. A house we looked at was sold but then fell through - it's just been put back on the market at £20,000 more just 12 weeks later. I wouldn't say any type of house or even area is increasing faster than others - they're all just going up by a lot at the same rate.

"I'm in my 50s and my husband is in my 40s. We try not to get stressed but it does make us wonder whether we'll own our own house again - especially when we can't really get a 25-year mortgage any more. 

"We're going in at the lower end of the market so we're competing with a lot of first time buyers. As soon as something becomes available - even before it's posted online - we get calls. It's like a revolving door, buyers packing in and out in 10 minutes and then final offers by the end of the day."

  • Ella Wilkinson and Tom Thurlbourn

Having offered £20,000 more for their dream home than the asking price, visual journalist Ella Wilkinson and boyfriend Tom Thurlbourn thought the deal was done. 

But still the Norwich house was bought by someone else, leaving the couple wondering what they'd need to do in order to get a foot on the ladder. 

Miss Wilkinson said: "We started looking about a year ago just to dip our toe in the water, but we weren't in a position to buy. Now within our price bracket we can get half of what we could get when we started viewings. 

"I was gutted when we didn't get that house because we thought with an extra £20,000 it was pretty certain. We could afford it and we thought the house was worth that much so we were happy to do it. But someone offered even more - we don't know how much - and we couldn't go any higher.

"Everyone I know that's looking at the moment is getting gazumped, or they're paying way above the asking price to get on the ladder.

"After a bit of a break we've started looking again - but we've lowered our price bracket to find something which might be a bit of a project. I'm not adverse to holding off until the end of the stamp duty holiday either as I think people are upping their prices because of pent up demand."  

  • Top tips to get your offer accepted 

Jack Parr, sales manager at Abbot Fox in Norwich shares his top tips on getting your offer accepted: 

"Number one is to have everything ready. That's your proof of funds, agreement in principle from your mortgage lender, your ID, so that when you get the call from the agent you can send it over. Until the agent is in receipt of all of these the property won't be taken off the market and another offer could come in. 

"The second is to get a solicitor lined up. Usually you wouldn't need to have this agreed but because the market is moving so quickly it helps to show that you're absolutely ready to go. 

"Third is simple: don't mess about. If you've got a price in mind and that's what you're willing to pay for it then don't bother going in low and trying to negotiate. The longer you're bartering with the seller the longer it's on the market, it's having viewings, and it's having enquiries coming in. Make your best offer and have the property taken off the market, because that will stop other people putting in a bid.

"My fourth tip would be for people that are in a chain. Part of what's driving demand is that so many people have secured a buyer and are trying to find somewhere so as not to lose it. I'd say if you've had a sale agreement for a few weeks start moving it forward - even if it's just for surveys. That way you can illustrate the ball's rolling. 

"Finally - stay by the phone. Being available and moving quickly is so important. It shows the buyer you're serious and can get the property off the market before anyone else has the chance to put in an offer." 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus