Bath market update & ONS data
The latest ONS house price index (to June 2021) shows average UK house prices increase by 13.2% so far this year – a drastic acceleration from the 9.2% shown in May and the highest annual growth in the UK since 2004. Whilst this is an attention grabbing headline which has been used with glee by many in the media, these figures should be treated with caution as they are skewed by a) low transaction numbers in the sample and b) the rush to beat the end of the extended stamp duty holiday deadline. However, with another SDLT deadline in the near future, low interest rates, an uplift in 95% mortgages and historically low supply levels, this trend is only expected by many commentators to continue.
Looking more locally, the amount of available stock is the biggest single issue driving the Bath market at present. There are currently less than 500 properties on the market across the city – a level of shortage we have not seen in the city since at least early 2017 and a 46% drop on the same time last year. Time to sell figures reinforce this view, at a historic median low of 44 days and over a quarter of currently available homes have been on the market for less than a month. However, there are indicators that the market is not all “one paced” with another quarter of available stock having been on market for more than 6 months. In addition, success rates vary across property types with significantly more flats unsold at present (44% more on market than average stock number over the preceding 5 years).
The best advice to navigate this rather tricky market remains choosing a team of real local property experts and professional advisors to represent you efficiently. This may not come cheaply but, as Benjamin Franklin once said, the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.