Our quarterly review of the Sussex property market

16th October 2020

The monthly RICS UK Residential Market Survey gives us an overview of the national housing market and helps to identify and predict trends. In addition to absorbing the national state of play from this valuable data, our team also regularly take time to reflect on the Sussex property market and on our own local markets in each town and the surrounding areas that we operate in, namely Brighton and Hove, Shoreham and Southwick and Lewes and country. Whilst all part of the wider East and West Sussex area, we do find variation in these micro cultures too!

How has the pandemic and lockdown affected the Sussex housing marketing in the last 3 months?

Our last blog review of the housing market in July was following national lockdown and the near complete shut down of the estate agency industry. Despite this incredibly challenging time, we were pleased to report that once lockdown was lifted, the lettings and residential sales within our branches bounced back. Transactions were moving quickly and in volume, thanks to a change of property and location wants and needs as we all adjusted to life at a slower pace, including working from home and travel and leisure restrictions.

What is the current state of the Sussex property market?

We are delighted to report that we contribute to remain busy with instructions and that properties are in great demand within our local areas. It is the mid to top end of the market that is most in demand at the moment, with houses in the £600k-£2 million mark most in demand. We find these properties mostly in the rural and semi-rural areas of Lewes and the surrounding villages, but there are also some fantastic large properties available on Shoreham seafront and inland areas of Brighton city centre that offer a great balance of family living and working space plus access to nature.

“The last year has shown people how important their home is. When registering buyers at the moment they all want the same things, space and outlook. Town centres are fabulous but without going too far you can enjoy everything that the town offers whilst benefiting from stunning views and wide open spaces. It is no surprise that semi-rural locations are as popular as ever!” David Beaken MARLA, Director

The Stamp Duty Holiday has certainly helped the market; we are finding that has prompted some buyers to move earlier than planned, but has also made moving more affordable for families needing to upsize from their first homes.

It is worth noting that the mortgage market is less accessible to some buyer scenarios at present, due to withdrawal of high LTV products and in families where one or both earners have been furloughed. This has had a slight effect on the smaller properties under £500k but it is not an alarming impact as these types of city pads and apartments are always popular with investors, first time buyers, second home buyers and many other buyer types particularly if they are close to the coastline in Brighton, Hove or Shoreham or within easy reach of train lines to London.

“We are continuing to see a strong appetite for people wanting to move before Spring 2021 and prices remain stable, despite the on-going uncertainty we are facing in our daily lives.  We recently placed a property on the market in the centre of Shoreham for £550,000 and within 4 days, received 8 viewings and 3 offers from interested buyers.  Living by the coast is always attractive but we are finding the demand even stronger at the moment under the current restrictions we are all facing, so it has been a positive period for buying and selling property in West Sussex.” Nick Williams, Shoreham Branch Manager

Our advice to vendors and buyers

The market remains positive for both buyers and vendors and fair priced properties are performing well. For buyers, now is a great time to move to take advantage of stamp duty savings and the Help to Buy Equity loan on new properties. For vendors, there is ample demand for all types of properties and now that viewings are almost back to normal and marketing teams back in full swing, properties are gaining healthy levels of enquiries as soon as they are listed.

Our advice to Landlords and tenants

"The residential lettings market has been strong this year, and summer activity levels have matched those of last year. Prices have been stable with most rents staying the same. Demand for properties in the city centre was very high in July, August & September, which was probably caused by people being unable move easily during March, April, and May." Murray Kerr, Lettings Manager


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