State of your local property market: March 2024

Back to news

March – spring is officially here and so are lighter evenings, daffodils, and a whole lot of chocolate (thank you Easter bunny!) We are already seeing the spring effect entering homes across West Sussex, and we couldn’t be happier or more excited about what’s to come in 2024. 

The current landscape

We know spring is notoriously a busy time of year for estate agents but we wanted to know a bit more about what’s been happening in the local market throughout March. Who better to ask than the owner of Sims Williams, Richard Moores (MNAEA,):

“We’re delighted to see the market continue to gain strength with a high number of new properties coming to market across all our offices.

Buyer numbers are also increasing with many younger families starting the process of looking to move during the school summer holidays (yes, it will soon be upon us!).

As expected, sadly there were no giveaways in the Spring Budget, nor have we seen any reduction in Mortgage Rates in spite of the encouraging news on inflation. I rather suspect that rates will soon start to ease, and we are predicting a further increase in demand from buyers which will increase sales activity as we move into April, May and beyond.

Sellers need to be realistic in their asking prices, be competitive and you will see a higher number of viewers. Remember, nothing undersells – if activity is such and we have several interested parties we can request ‘best and final’ bids by a given date.

Set your price too high and you’ll struggle to see the required level of viewers, your property then starts to become stale and the process of reduction after reduction begins with buyers then becoming wary as to ‘why hasn’t it sold’ ‘if nobody else wants to buy it why should I’ etc.

If you are planning a move this year, get yourself move ready. Complete the necessary legal forms such as your Fixtures and Fittings list and the challenging ‘Property Information Questionnaire’ and get them lodged with your solicitor. As soon as a buyer is found, the conveyancing process can begin, it will save you so much time and stress in the long run.

For other tips and information on how to speed up the sales process, read our bespoke seller’s guide here.

We are more than happy to provide you with the required forms and happy to assist you with completing them. We can also arrange for local solicitors to provide you with a no obligation quote for your move – as we used to say in the Scouts ‘Be Prepared’!”

Mortgage rates

The current Bank of England base rate is 5.25% as of 21st March 2024. The next review is scheduled for 9th May 2024.

As of Thursday 4th April 2024, the current average mortgage rates are shown below (sourced from moneysupermarket.com):

Rental market review

There’s been a lot of focus on tenants and landlords lately given recent press discussing the renters reform bill so we wanted to provide a more detailed insight into the local lettings market to give you a very honest account of the current situation. Senior Branch Manager David Vawdrey (FARLA), did not disappoint. Here’s what he had to share:

“Both our Chichester and Bognor lettings branches have seen steady tenant demand in March.  We have seen a 38% increase in tenant registration this month, compared to March 2023. There appears to be no shortage, therefore, of people seeking rented homes. A couple of questions we are often asked by potential  landlords are “where should we consider buying and what should we consider buying”? It often depends on the particular landlord’s circumstances. We sometimes find landlords who buy in Chichester are not necessarily looking for the highest yield (given that house prices are higher in the city than most other local towns and villages). Rather, they are looking for a safe place to put their money with the security of knowing that they are likely to attract high quality tenants. Other landlords, for example buyers of student lets, are aiming to maximise yields.

If it is primarily a high yield a landlord is considering, the alternatives to Chichester include Bognor Regis. We have just agreed the sale of a flat in the town which will let for £1,150 a month and produce a yield of 8.3%, which far outstrips even the best performing cash ISAs. So are flats a good bet? Although they have lagged somewhat behind houses, in terms of capital growth, over the past 20 years, due to several factors, including service charges, that could be about to change later this year. One of the main political parties has promised to dispense with all leaseholds “within a hundred days of being in office”. This could have a dramatic effect on the potential capital growth of flats. Even if this doesn’t become reality, flats can be good investments provided the service charge is sensible and our general advice is to try and ensure that the service charge and ground rent do not exceed two months’ worth of rent.

In terms of where to buy, the six village area is a place we strongly advocate. It has some great schools both primary and secondary, plus a mainline station to London (at Barnham) and lots of shops and amenities. Rents are not that far behind Chichester, but house prices are definitely lower, so there’s great potential for strong yields. For example, we have agreed a sale to a new landlord on a property in Yapton where the yield is 5.8% and there is a good prospect of attracting long term tenants. We have also advised a new landlord on her purchase of a brand new property in Fontwell, which comes to the market next week. This will produce a healthy yield of 5.3% 

As ever, if you are seeking advice on any aspects of the rental sector, whether it’s buy to let or you have a general enquiry, please contact us. One of our experienced staff will be delighted to assist”.

The road ahead

There is a positive shift in the UK housing market, thanks to accelerated real wage growth and a more stable job market. A recent study found that people feel better about their financial situation than they have in a long time. The knock on effect of this is that consumer confidence is growing and therefore people are more likely to buy houses now compared to the last couple of years.

At the same time, the average cost of a mortgage has gone down. If you’re borrowing 75% of the home’s value and you lock in a rate for 5 years, you might pay around 4.4%. That’s a drop from about 5.8% back in June 2023.

People are expected to have more money to spend in the next year, and house prices should stay about the same.

Experts think that by the end of 2025, the Bank Rate, which affects mortgage rates, will go down to 3.5%. So, even though rates might stay around 4% or more, more people are likely to invest in property.

Sims Williams are estate and letting agents with offices in Arundel, Bognor Regis, Chichester and The Six Villages. For expert advice on all things property or for a free no obligation market appraisal, do contact your local Sims Williams office. We are here to guide you through every step of your journey, providing professional advice, support and guidance you can trust. 

 

Be kept up to date

Leave your details with us, so we can keep you fully up to date with property updates.

What our clients say

A Pleasure to Deal With

We have moved several times over the past few years & have finally settled in Barnham, the purchase of a new build. Sims Williams kept us informed throughout the process & Kirstie & the team were very professional and a pleasure to deal with.
H Brock-New Home Buyer - Oct 6th, 2022

OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE

I have recently purchased a property in Walberton and I have been incredibly impressed by the outstanding support provided by the Walberton team. They really do go above and beyond and provide a very personal service to their customers. It was a very difficult chain with many challenges along the way but Lin in particular was outstanding. She was always very professional and friendly and was clearly determined to ensure that the sale progressed. She always responded to my many phone calls or emails and provided reassurance. I know that if we ever sell again!! I would use Sims Williams.
Catherine H - Buyer -

Helpful & efficient!

SW estate agent in Arundel have been excellent throughout the protracted period of my house purchase. They were kind and helpful and responded to queries very quickly and efficiently .They even offered support once completion had taken place which I suspect is above and beyond what might be expected. I would not hesitate to recommend them and am very grateful for both their friendliness and professionalism.
Gill - Buyer - Nov 4th, 2022

Thank you to Sims Williams!

We love Sims Williams! As very happy tenants of a property in Arundel, we would like to pass on our thanks to Jo and team at Sims Williams Chichester. Jo is absolutely fab- making the rental process such a breeze and all steps a very relaxing experience. Thanks again! Marina and Edward x
Marina and Edward - Tenant - Jan 21st, 2023

Stress Free and easy to deal with

I found a property online and viewed the same day and the following day. Nothing was to much trouble, very accommodating around viewing times. The application process was straight forward and made the moving process very stress free. Would highly recommend Sims Williams and Jo, very easy to deal with.
Darren, Tenant - Oct 20th, 2021

Friendly, professional and diligent

It was a pleasure buying through Sims Williams. The Arundel team made the process as stress free as possible. They were always prompt to respond and very friendly, professional and diligent in their correspondence. We would certainly use Sims should we choose to sell in the future.
A Elliott - Buyer - Nov 24th, 2022

Absent Landlord

I live in the United States, so I cannot manage my property in West Sussex. Sim's Williams has been managing this property for just over a year now. I cannot adequately express my gratitude and pleasure in the service I have obtained. I highly recommend Sim's Williams.
Dennis - Landlord - Mar 19th, 2021

Wonderful & very helpful Agency

Wonderful service which has led me step by step to completing house agreement. Special thanks to Jo for all the professional help provided.
Ilona - Tenant - Jan 21st, 2023

Excellent - Professional and Friendly

We have just taken on a new rental property via Sims Williams and from the very first viewing to picking up the keys David and his team have been excellent in making the process as smooth as possible. Great service and highly recommended.
Kevin & Jane - Tenant - Feb 6th, 2024

The Service Is Always First Class

From initial discussions on suggested property types and values to eventual marketing and sales progression, the service is always first class. Their local knowledge means their valuations are always realistic, well researched and achievable.
Simon Arch – Owner S A Construction Ltd -