Since I published my original feature on this subject in May 2020, there have been significant changes to the housing market in Bath, Bradford on Avon and indeed, throughout the UK. While much of the information in the original feature remains as relevant today as it was almost 18 months ago, several factors have impacted the market for both buyers and sellers.

Cobb Farr opened in 1989. Since then, we have experienced all manner of testing times which affected property prices, such as the recessions of 1989/90 and the crash in 2008/09. As I said in my original article, periods of falling property prices tend to be short and sharp followed by a boom, and we’re already seeing signs of that pattern; a recent Zoopla report, for example, stated that overall, house prices across the UK climbed by 6.1% in 2021, and the housing market is moving at its fastest pace for 5 years, with sales on homes agreed in less than 30 days, on average.

Recent changes

While the impact of the Covid pandemic over the 18 months or so has been phenomenal and totally unprecedented, there’s always been a fluctuation in property prices for some reason or other. But right now, things are, in general, picking up again and there’s an overall feeling of general stability and a very discerning market.

While we’re yet to see whether or not the UK will enter a form of post-Covid recession, what is clear is that having had more time to think laterally, people are questioning their lifestyles overall when searching for a new property. At Cobb Farr, we couldn’t have predicted the current demand for slightly out-of-town or village properties, with plenty of space and bigger gardens – whether older homes, brand new homes or even apartments, these are the properties that are attracting the most attention right now.

Even in Bath city centre, there’s a demand for modern property with space as opposed to townhouses, such as spacious homes built in the 1950s or 1970s that don’t require listed building consent, therefore making them much easier to develop and adapt to the needs of a modern family.

While we still attract many clients who are looking to move to Bath or Bradford on Avon from London (and as more people work from home on a more permanent basis, this trend is likely to increase), many families who are already based here have been moving around the city and its environs in the search for more space. School catchment areas remain as big an attraction as ever, and homes with plenty of room for a home office are likely to remain at the top of the ‘most wanted’ list for the foreseeable future.

Bath in a post-pandemic world

Stamp Duty

The end of the stamp duty ‘holiday’ in England and Northern Ireland on 30 September will of course have an impact on the market. Lots of people took advantage of the savings on offer since the tax break was introduced in July 2020, leading to a slight decrease in searches for new properties this autumn. But the fact that first-time buyers in England and Northern Ireland still won’t pay any tax on homes priced at or below £300,00 (and only 5% on properties prices between £300,001-£500,000) will continue to be impactful. Rightmove recently published a very useful reference guide on the end of the stamp duty break.

The Rental Market

Due to the overall property shortage in the UK, low supply and high demand has created a sellers’ market and the search for investment properties has spiked in recent months. A lot of people sold their properties before the stamp duty changes with a plan to move, for example, into a different school catchment area, only to find a lack of availability for a suitable permanent property in that area; such families are temporarily renting while they continue their search, leading to increased interest in new properties on the market. This article, recently published by Zoopla, offers a general overview on the subject of property supply and demand.

For further information, contact Philip Cobb at Cobb Farr on 07771 747860 or philip@cobbfarr.com