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111% summer boom in house sales in East Herts, according to Savills of Bishop's Stortford

House sales are booming in East Herts – up 111% compared with the same period last year.

The surge is being fuelled by the Chancellor's stamp duty holiday and householders' lockdown experiences, according to Bishop's Stortford estate agent Savills.

According to figures released by the North Street business, 456 agreed house sales across the East Herts district were recorded in the four weeks to mid-August – more than double the figure of 216 in 2019.

Head of Savills in Bishop's Stortford Justin Godfrey (42273034)
Head of Savills in Bishop's Stortford Justin Godfrey (42273034)

The hefty hike in East Herts is the fourth largest in Hertfordshire, with Broxbourne seeing a 150% rise, Stevenage 120% and St Albans 112%. The lowest increase in the county was 60% in Dacorum.

Justin Godfrey, who leads the Savills residential team in Stortford, said that despite an uncertain economic backdrop, recent experiences had encouraged people to reassess their priorities and buyers with the financial security to do so were looking for homes with more space and greater access to the countryside.

"Since the housing market reopened we have seen a surge in the number of sales being agreed. The prime regional and country house markets in particular have been especially busy," he said.

Recenty sold Clavering property (42273036)
Recenty sold Clavering property (42273036)

"Many predicted that the immediate shift in priorities seen in April was just a response to lockdown and would be short-lived, but there now appears longer-term commitment from buyers.

"Those with the financial security to be able to move are acting on their changing priorities, their requirement for more space and, in many cases, a reassessment of their work-life balance.

"The stamp duty holiday is providing additional impetus and, when combined with the experience of lockdown, is bringing forward purchases that may otherwise have happened in two or more years' time.

"Bishop's Stortford is a popular London relocation market that combines commutability, good schools and high-quality housing stock. But numbers of agreed sales have also been substantially boosted by activity in surrounding villages such as Much Hadham and Clavering, with particularly strong demand from those who want the benefit of countryside living within striking distance of a larger town."

Recenty sold Clavering property (42273038)
Recenty sold Clavering property (42273038)

Savills' data takes into account activity across all of the main property portals and compares sales agreed in the four weeks to August 16 this year with the same period in 2019.

A survey of its own clients in mid-August found that buyers' determination to avoid compromise on lifestyle factors has intensified over the summer. Some 62% of respondents said the amount of garden or outside space had become more important, up from 49% in April. Home working looks set to become a long-term phenomenon, with 56% saying they are now more inclined to work from home more regularly.

Justin said that levels of activity continue to be strong – but aligning buyers' and sellers' price expectations is key to maintaining momentum.

"Although we have seen some level of competitive bidding, buyers are keeping their feet firmly on the ground when it comes to what they're willing to pay," he said.

"The uncertain economic backdrop and the finishing of the furlough scheme at the end of October mean short-term price expectations remain cautious. Keeping buyer and seller expectations on pricing aligned will be key to maintaining the summer momentum through the autumn and beyond."

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