2022 has started strongly. Sales volumes in January are predicted to be 10% higher than their long- term (2012–2021) average and, except for a year ago, are the strongest since 2007 (Dataloft, HMRC). Buyer demand remains steadfast, up 16% year-on-year (Rightmove). Property price growth continues to be sustained; annual price growth in the year to January was at its strongest in over 15 years (Nationwide). Rightmove reported the biggest monthly jump in the asking price of a newly listed property since 1994 and when asked, the majority of agents are still expecting price growth over the next three- and 12-month period.
At 12.6%, annual property price growth in the South East is considerably stronger than the 5.1% evident a year ago. The pandemic ‘search for space’ is still playing out in many markets, with prices for detached homes currently seeing the strongest growth of all property types; average prices are up over 16% year-on-year. With office returns and hybrid working now in place, there has been renewed interest in apartment living, and many town and city centre locations are seeing a rise in buyer demand.
Winds of change
Although the quantity of property for sale remains low, with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reporting stock levels per agent at a record low in January (barring the market closure in spring 2020), there are signs of change. New listings in January rose 11% year-on-year, with Rightmove noting a substantial rise in home valuation requests – an indication that many are looking to sell before they buy in current conditions. These should feed through to agents’ books over the coming months. Historically, March is the strongest time to sell, with the highest number of buyer enquiries per property for sale.
Ashford and Dartford proved the fastest-moving markets in Kent and East Sussex over the course of 2021, with more than one in every 20 privately owned properties estimated to have changed hands. 2022 has started with momentum. At 44 days, the average time taken to sell a property in the South East is over three weeks quicker than a year ago.
Sunshine and showers
Across the UK, governments are announcing their plans for ‘living with COVID’ and hybrid working is bedding in. With economic growth of 7.5% over the course of 2021, the UK economy is close to its pre-pandemic level. However, consumer confidence remains on edge due to the rising cost of living. Increases in the cost of food and clothing, along with rising fuel and energy prices, look set to squeeze many household incomes. Savings made during the pandemic might provide a cushion in the short term, and while interest rates may well rise from the current 0.5%, they remain low by historic standards.
Properties for sale in the South East region
Marden, Kent, 4 bedrooms
This well-presented semi-detached cottage is set out over three floors to provide extremely versatile accommodation, with large master bedroom suite with dressing area, three further bedrooms and family bathroom. A wealth of character graces the ground floor with large sitting room offering open fire, kitchen with Rayburn and open aspect to dining room, utility and cloakroom. Outside a large detached barn style workshop with office/hobbies room above and parking to the front.
Hastings, East Sussex, 4 bedrooms
This stunning double fronted Victorian property is situated in a sought after part of Hastings. An opportunity to own one of a limited number properties of this style and size in the area. With off road parking for multiple cars, front and rear gardens and a sizeable conservatory, the property provides two opportunities. Either the simple reinstatement of the original staircase, providing four double bedrooms and four reception rooms. Alterntaively the property can remain in it’s current form.separated into two large two bedroom flats.
Canterbury, Kent, 4 bedrooms
A striking and traditionally styled detached residence, constructed in 2008 to the very highest standards of design and craftsmanship. The property enjoys an enviable position set within an exclusive mews style setting in the highly sought-after St Stephens area of Canterbury. The property has been sensitively designed to incorporate a handsome, yet traditionally styled exterior, alongside an elegant and highly contemporary interior bringing a harmonious blend of character and modern luxury. This includes features such as underfloor heating, extensive double glazing, a bespoke kitchen, and beautifully appointed bathrooms, all finished with quality materials.
As property prices and demand continue to rise, sell your property with experts in the property industry this spring. Contact your local Guild Member today.