Property sales in East Herts and Uttlesford up 45% in first half of 2021 compared with 2019
Property sales in and around Bishop's Stortford are booming, with a 45% increase in East Herts and Uttlesford in the first half of this year.
According to latest figures from Stortford estate agent Savills, there were 5,275 agreed sales in the two districts to the end of June.
This is 45% up on the first six months of 2019 – the first half of 2020 having been distorted because of the closure of the housing market during the Covid pandemic.
The number of homes sold for more than £1 million in the same period was 293 – an increase of 102% on 2019.
At the same time, the number of homes available to buy has dropped by 21%, creating an imbalance between supply and demand.
Tim Phillips, head of residential sales at Savills' North Street office, said: "The level of activity shows just how much lifestyle choices made during lockdown have almost totally dominated decision-making over the past year. There remains a significant number of buyers still looking for larger, family homes with more space, bigger gardens and extra room to work from home.
"However, it's not just the volume of sales. The speed at which transactions have been agreed has been extraordinary. From launching a property, arranging viewings, receiving an offer and agreeing a sale... in many cases this is happening all within the space of a week.
"We've also seen a marked increase in the number of buyers who are moving into rented accommodation in the short term so that they can act quickly once they find a property they like."
Savills says prices in Stortford and surrounding areas have not necessarily risen as much as could be expected, with annual growth of just under 2% in the 12 months to the end of June – although this was the highest yearly increase since September 2014.
Average prices sit at £466,699 in Stortford, while in Much Hadham and Little Hadham they are just over £750,000 and £620,000 respectively. One of the most expensive villages in East Herts is Braughing, with an average house price of just over £800,000. Uttlesford parishes Takeley and Hatfield Broad Oak are relatively more affordable with average prices of £450,000.
The number of buyers registering with Savills' Stortford office is 92% higher than this time last year and agreed sales have risen by 56%. Of those under offer, 50% of properties received multiple bids.
Savills researchers are expecting prices in the East Herts district to rise by an average of around 5% over the next year – and by 18.7% over the next five years.
Tim said: "I think levels of demand are likely to be just as high in the second half of the year. Although the end of the stamp duty holiday may cause a little urgency to come out of the market, there remains significant unmet demand amongst buyers with the necessary financial security who will continue to underpin activity over the coming months.
"The lifestyle changes we've seen over the last year or so are not necessarily about people wanting to be far away from others. Well-connected and attractive villages with a thriving community, 15-20 minutes from Bishop's Stortford, with a decent pub and a good local store have been particularly popular. That's only likely to continue as the vaccine roll-out builds confidence and bars, shops, restaurants and theatres reopen."
Colleague Justin Godfrey said: "Whereas once upon a time we may have seen a bit of a lull over the summer, that's no longer happening. The market is not as seasonal as it once was.
"However, the relatively modest house price growth we've experienced shows that sellers still have to be pragmatic. The market remains very sensitive and buyers will not necessarily pay over the odds. Setting a realistic asking price from the start will be key to maintaining momentum as we move into the rest of 2021 and beyond."