Bristol’s house buying frenzy has been playing out before our eyes since the end of Lockdown in June last year.
So, what causes a three-bedroom end of terrace house in Fishponds to sell for £63,000, or nearly 20%, over the asking price? And I can assure you that we valued it correctly (cough).
Ok, this particular property had a spectacular large garden that offered something genuinely unique, but over the past 12 months, this scenario has not been uncommon. We are regularly booking up two open days at a property before it has even been uploaded to Rightmove and Zoopla, so, demand is unusually strong.
The signs are that ‘Best and Final’ offers, where multiple buyers all make their best offer on a property they wish to purchase, are here to stay. We are predicting that demand for Bristol property will remain strong for long after that golden tan of the stamp duty holiday has faded away.
Certainly, there is no argument from me that the Government's stamp duty holiday didn’t help encourage people who were considering a change in their home environment, to pursue that change proactively. However, for most, this tax saving was a sweetener to their move, not the catalyst. So, what else is at play?
To me, it feels like there has been a fundamental shift in many people's thinking. Born out of the strains of the pandemic, that famous saying ‘life’s too short’ is no longer just a casual remark, it’s actually shaping people's decision making.
Further to this, space, and in particular outside space, is now craved by those who don't have it, and for those who do - well, of course, many now want more. Also, those working from home would love a space that allows them to work more effectively.
So, for me, the main drivers underpinning demand in Bristol are the impact of home working and the trend towards deurbanization, which is supported by office-based workers and their employers committing to a home-based working model permanently.
Typically, we are seeing London based workers who have recently been told that they can now permanently work from home 3 or 4 days a week, selling up their £700,000 London flats and buying up Bristol’s housing stock, before many Bristolians can get a look in.
A friend of mine, who through years of hard work and dedication to his profession is fortunate to have a budget of £1 million, has been looking for his next family home for 10 months. He recently lost out (again) in the Best and Final offer stage, even though his bid was more than £100,000 over the asking price! Rightly or wrongly so, he was quick to blame those exiting the big city in favour of this wonderful ‘little big’ city we call home.
Then you have Roger, the fictional Cornish equivalent of my friend, who will be seething at the many Bristolians who are leaving our city in favour of the beautiful counties of Devon and Cornwall, pushing up prices there. However, people saying farewell to Bristol are also helping to create available housing stock here, in turn fueling the property market.
So, if you’re planning a move to buy your first or your next Bristol property soon, we are advising all our purchasers to make sure they are as attractive a purchaser as possible and to get in a proceedable purchase position, to give yourself the very best chance of success.