What is the new normal for the housing market?
In April's blog, the Jackson-Stops team reflect on the challenges facing the property market.  In 2017 the Cotswolds performed remarkably well considering all the negative press coverage about the property market at both a national and local level. As always, the coverage mixed the words market, price and value in one pot which gave a confused picture. Stock levels remain the biggest challenge to the market as a whole.

Buyer frustrations

Any buyer at any price level tells us the same thing; that they are frustrated by the lack of decent quality property coming onto the market at a sensible price level. Buyers have, of course, become savvier over the years with access to information now easily available and it is only the exceptional properties that buyers will pay a premium for. The other main challenge is the process from agreed sale to exchange of contracts which can be extremely frustrating for all concerned. The due diligence that conveyancers have to go through is considerable, driven by the demands of the lenders and indeed their own rules and standards. What used to be a six to eight week period typically is now a three month process. Buyers and their advisors are less likely to take a view if there is an issue with the property or its title.

Good news

The lack of stock does, however, have an upside. I have commented before that the seasonality has gone out of the property market so spring and autumn are now no more likely to be busy sales months than any other. At the three Jackson-Stops Cotswold offices, we agreed levels of sales in February that we would normally associate with peak buying periods. Low stock levels also have the advantage of shoring up prices and although at Jackson-Stops we do not foresee in the short to medium term any significant hike in prices, we do feel that the market that we have at the moment is the new normal with steady but low levels of transactions and steady year on year price rises.