The past few years have been a veritable roller coaster from the pandemic to the ‘new normal’ to raising inflation and interest rates… It all makes for a wild ride, complete with stomach-dropping twists and turns. Bristol has emerged as one of the UK’s fastest growing property markets, experts have called conditions ‘most buoyant.’ Homes took just 19 days to sell between listing and acceptance of the offer, a process which generally can take several weeks or even a few months.
It has been a 100% seller’s market – but the tide may just be turning a bit. Enough to make the goal of homeownership a reality for more people? What do you need to know when searching for houses for sale in Bristol?
The Bristol Housing Market
Zoopla experts have advised – nay, warned – homeowners in Bristol that if they are wanting to move house, they should ‘explore their options sooner rather than later.’ Now, let’s look at the lay of the land, so to speak, to understand why making a move may be becoming more pressing.
Average property prices grew by 0.1% in June 2022. Year over year, prices have risen by 8.4% but quarterly growth is sitting at 1.4%, which is the lowest levels we’ve seen since March. It seems clear that price growth is slowing, but demand hasn’t slowed up. ’ Even at the height of price growth, buyers were clamoring for properties. However, experts see buyers becoming more ‘price sensitive’ now. This could result in fewer sales.
Gráinne Gilmore, head of research with Zoopla, says, ‘Buyer demand is still strong in the housing market, but signals are emerging that the impetus may be easing, so those who want to make a move should investigate their options sooner rather than later.’
To get a sense of the market, it is important to know that the average price for a house in Bristol is £363,196. According to data from Rightmove, the majority of properties sold in the city were terraced (average price £357,796). Semi-detached homes went for an average of £385,840, and flats got scooped up for £262,905. Sales prices increased 2% from the year prior and 15% from 2019.
It is clear that getting on the property ladder in Bristol can be a challenge. However, Tim Bannister, Director of Property Science with Rightmove, says, ‘After a very strong first half of the year, it is likely that the housing affordability crunch will have a greater impact on market behaviour in the months ahead, with further interest rate rises anticipated during that period. This, alongside more choice coming on the market for buyers and the usual seasonal variations we would expect, means there are likely to be some month-on-month prices falls during the second half of the year.’
Houses for Sale in Bristol
Contemplating a move now is important – as is taking steps to follow through should you decide. When looking for houses for sale in Bristol:
- Make sure you have secured a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP). This gives you an idea of how much house you can afford and will guide you in narrowing your search. It also indicates to sellers that you are serious and that you are capable of completing a purchase.
- Scour neighbourhoods that have the features and price points you want. Beyond price, look for important features, like schools, job opportunities, walkability, access to transport, healthcare and others.
- Do not overextend yourself. Typically, you should aim for a mortgage that is about 2 to 2.5 times your gross income. Be prepared to negotiate with sellers; if prices are indeed falling, this puts you in a better position to do so.
- Consult with an experienced estate agent to help navigate the process more effectively and efficiently.
- Consider other avenues. There is more than one way to buy a house. Consider auctions, repossession sales or shared ownership situations. With share ownership, you purchase a share of the home between 10% and 75% of the total market value. You pay rent on the remaining share (owned by a landlord). You typically have to pay monthly ground rent and service charges, and you will require a deposit. Between 5% – 10% of the share you are purchasing.
When looking for houses for sale in Bristol, be sure to learn as much as you can. Knowledge is power, especially in markets like this.