State of your local property market: March 2024

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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. 

 

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What our clients say

SUPERB SERVICE

We found the Arundel office to be both professional and enthusiastic concerning our sale. We were always kept informed and worked with us to achieve our goal. Highly recommend this whole teams approach.
Claire & Tony - Vendor - Jan 6th, 2021

EXCELLENT SERVICE

Sims Williams were able to let my property very quickly at a good rental value. They provided regular updates and provided consistent excellent customer service.
Harry - Landlord - Feb 3rd, 2021

Jane & Marilyn are the stars of the Mill Gate.

From the first meeting with Jane and Marilyn to our eventual move in at Mill Gate these two ladies have been fabulous. They could not have been more helpful and provide service with a smile. They were friendly and informative. Every company needs a Jane and Marilyn. Please send them our heartfelt thanks.
Adrian & Judy G- New Home Purchase - Aug 10th, 2022

Excellent Service

Myself and my partner were dealt with Jo and David at the Chichester branch and were beyond grateful for there help. They were very friendly and answered all questions and concerns that we may have had. There services were impeccable and we are now settled in our new home. We couldn't be more pleased.
Bethany - Tenant - Apr 26th, 2021

Couldn't of been happier with the team

John and all the team were fantastic so helpful all throughout the sale highly recommend
Mr & Mrs Haimes- Vendor - Aug 12th, 2022

Excellent Service

Rented a house through Sims Williams in Chichester and it was a seamless, easy experience thanks to the very professional (and courteous) service provided by David.
Margaret - Tenant - Jan 25th, 2023

Letting a property

We dealt with Jo Mallett who was extremely professional, courteous and understating. We did not have time to collect the keys from the Chichester office so Jo drove to Arundel. I’d give your company a five star review
Laura - Tenant - May 1st, 2022

SELLING MY PROPERTY

The whole process from start to finish was excellent service. I couldn’t recommend the team at Arundel more highly. A special mention to Emma Taylor who followed the final exchange through with much effort reviewing the chain that was below the buyers final completion. Well done with the final Result!
Robbie - Vendor - Dec 16th, 2020

THANK YOU!

I can’t thank Linda and John (and Sarah!) enough for their sheer doggedness and determination In managing both my sale and purchase. It was certainly a rollercoaster but the communication from Lin and John was exceptional throughout. I would thoroughly recommend Sims Williams!
Helen - Buyer - Dec 8th, 2020

THINKING ABOUT RENTING?

I have bought and sold houses through sims williams over the past few years, in October we decided to rent our house for a year. We were very uneasy about should we, what if etc. We called David to have a chat, he put our minds at rest and we went ahead and went on the rental market. 4 viewing within 48 hours and its rented. The Chichester branch is just brilliant and you feel they are there for you. Give him a call if you're wondering about selling/Renting.
Patricia w - Landlord - Jan 7th, 2021