It goes without saying, using the familiar phrase “unprecedented times” this has been one of the most unusual quarters of the year to report on, possibly in our 27 years of operating in the property business! Never have we experienced an almost complete shutdown of the housing market. It was, therefore, hard for us to predict what might have unfolded between April and June this year, but, we have always remained confident that the housing market in Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area of Sussex will continue to remain strong.
How did our Estate Agency manage the lockdown?
At Oakley, our proactive team have done an exceptional job of maintaining business as usual as much as possible throughout lockdown. Thanks to modern technology we have been able to keep in contact with our customers and suppliers easily and frequently. Although face to face contact was put on hold, we were still able to conduct virtual viewings and have enjoyed creating interactive 3D video tours for our homes for sale, allowing the prospective buyers to explore and virtually walk around each home at any time of day as many times as they wish.
Despite a national slowdown of property professionals, we have still been able to progress sales through to completion during the lockdown where it has been essential to do so, and, now that lockdown has eased we are finding that the market is moving incredibly quickly. There is a healthy new influx of buyer enquiries since people’s wants and needs have evolved since spending so much time at home during lockdown. We are now seeing greater demand for properties with outdoor space and those that are close to local nature walks or outdoor pursuits. In addition, many families are now looking for extra space to work from home.
The post-lockdown property market in Sussex
At our Lewes Town and Country branch, July saw us sell subject to contract three beautiful homes commanding over £1 million each, all in the same week.
Director David Beaken says: “There does seem to be a real excitement and energy around the property market right now. Viewing and enquiry levels are far higher than we would usually expect at this time of the year. The rental market has also been extremely busy; it seems lockdown has given a lot of people itchy feet!”
Our Shoreham-by-Sea branch enjoyed similar success and in just four days, sold four new homes at the prestigious new The Waterfront development, plus facilitated a busy launch day at another new development of family homes in Angmering.
Branch Director Nick says: “The demand and appetite for property purchases over the past 4-6 weeks is as strong as I’ve known in the 17 years I’ve spent selling property. Prices in Shoreham and the surrounding areas remain stable and with the added stamp duty incentive now in place, we are continuing to help and assist our clients with their dreams of moving home.”
In the Lettings market, we have a healthy portfolio of houses and apartments to let across Brighton city centre in some of the most desirable areas, including North Laine, the New England quarter, and Preston Park.
Our Brighton and Hove Lettings Director Murray has seen equal enthusiasm: “The local lettings market has bounced back really well since lockdown, and we are experiencing high demand and good amounts of properties available, which is a good combination for both tenants and landlords alike. The summer is always our busiest period in Brighton due to the Universities and Hospitals having a turnover of students and staff during this time, so it is good to see that hasn’t changed too much.”
In our area demand is always high and therefore we haven’t seen a noticeable reduction in asking prices. In addition, the recent very welcome news of the Stamp Duty holiday has opened up the market to buyers who may now be able to stretch their budget a little further. Whilst mortgage lenders have tightened their criteria a little, the interest rate still remains at a record low for borrowers. Schemes like the Help to Buy Equity loan are still available too on selected new build homes. If you would like a free sales or rental valuation of your property, more information about our processes, or would like to be the first to know as soon as new homes become available, please contact your local Oakley Property branch.
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