What's in store for Dorset's property market in 2017
PUBLISHED: 16:39 23 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:58 24 January 2017
Stamp duty changes and Brexit all impacted on the UK property market, but how has it affected Dorset? Andy Greeves gets the views of some of the county’s leading estate agents
Simon Childs, Director of RSJ Property Search
Brexit has and will bring further uncertainty to the property market and therefore a lack of good stock will remain on a national basis. The Dorset property market has mostly remained pretty flat with fewer transactions than most years but I do not see prices reducing due to the lack of good housing stock. The introduction of the additional 3% stamp on second homes did impact on the Dorset market in 2016 but there is a chance this will be reversed in the near future.
In terms of the properties that were in demand, ones with coastal views and especially in areas such as Lyme Regis were popular. 4/5 bed houses with 3/4 acres have great appeal for those wishing for a relaxed lifestyle and space to bring up their children in the country, as parents can often work remotely from home.
Dorchester has become a good centre with the development of Poundbury and Brewery Square providing improved housing stock and better amenities.
One of my predications for the Dorset market in 2017 is that we will see more buyers moving from the South East looking for coastal properties, but probably having to look more inland due the lack of stock. I can see houses in need of improvement selling well, as clients like to add their own stamp to the property.
Mark Parker, Director of Parkers and Samantha Cook Branch Manager, Parkers in Poundbury
2016 has proved to be an eventful year at Parkers. The Poundbury office were very fortunate to be involved in the proceedings when Her Majesty The Queen came to unveil the magnificent Queen Mother statue signifying the completion of Queen Mother Square and the fabulous Strathmore House. We are the sole selling agents for this prestigious building and there has been great interest, both locally and nationally, of this inspiring development. Meanwhile, our Bridport office is continuing to enjoy renewed interest nationally, due in part to the ‘Broadchurch effect’. Bridport is a clear favourite with people wanting a second home or a lifestyle change from busier city life.
The changes in stamp duty have, on the whole, had the effect the government desired - a major down turn in the amount of second homes being bought and a corresponding increase in the amount of first time buyers. A stable Dorset housing market and an opening for first time buyers resulted in the Brexit effect having considerably less impact here than in other areas of the UK.
Most working within the industry will agree that demand has far exceeded supply this year, which has been good for vendors with most achieving the desired price for their properties.
Market fluctuations, economic climate, political changes and new building opportunities are all expected to influence and shape the property market of 2017. There is one certainty and constant - Dorset continues to offer its residents and visitors alike a truly wonderful lifestyle experience. And it remains a hugely popular place to live.
Jim Doerr, Residential Operations Director of Goadsby, Bournemouth
Pre-Brexit activity on the property market definitely slowed with a lot of people unwilling to commit, however once the decision was made activity recovered and we have seen good sales and rental levels since. Our main issue continues to be a lack of overall stock, due to not enough new homes being built. Starter homes have been and always will be in great demand, from one bed flats to two bed terraced houses, but there has been a severe shortage of properties across the south under £250k, for some time now. There is also a great demand for good sized family homes circa £350k to £500k. However the lack of stock means buyers who are aspiring to purchase these homes are not motivated to commit to selling their own, so it is a vicious circle and the reason that stock levels are down.
Most satisfying sales this year would have to be a new development called Fippenny Grove at Okeford Fitzpaine that my team at Blandford have sold really well. We had a total of 22 units to sell and we have just two left, most were reserved from plan before the builds were complete. Prices here ranged from £248k to £335k for three and four bed village homes.
The current re-generation in Poole is very exciting and we have been delighted with the sale of properties at Carters Quay for Inland Homes. We are also looking forward to launching the converted houses and new builds at Stapehill Abbey for Ankers and Rawlings during 2017. These offer fantastic accommodation in a semi-rural location with some of the properties having tremendous character as they will retain a lot of the original features from the abbey.
Demand will continue to outstrip supply in 2017, which will keep prices steady. What actually happens when Article 50 is triggered is anyone’s guess, but we are a small island with a lot of people, so homes will always be in demand.
Simon Barker, Partner of Knight Frank, Sherborne & Shaftesbury
Our sales were up 32% on the previous year, while our number of new buyers registered are up by 35%, so 2016 was a good year for us. The high level of volatility we have seen in global investment markets this year is set to continue. With equities and bonds set to see a rollercoaster ride, and fluctuations in currency values creating opportunities for those willing to invest across borders, prime real estate in safe haven markets will be in demand among investors.
Good, well priced houses will continue to sell well across all spectrums in 2017. 70% of our sales this year involved properties priced between £500k and £1.2m. The South West is due a strategic transport ‘turbo boost’… in fact several, if the cluster of current plans go full speed ahead. As any urban economist would tell you, the value of property is linked not by distance but by accessibility. Flights from Exeter to London have made a big difference to the Cornish housing market. Similarly the plans to improve the rail and road networks in the South West should be a game-changer for the housing market. Dorset and Somerset are incredibly well priced compared to London and this huge differential will be re-balanced in due course.
A highlight for us was The Old Barn, Batcombe, a very unusual 14th century barn converted in 1966 by the late stage director Peter Wood and was sold by his Executors. We launched the property in May, had 21 viewings and seven offers via sealed bids. The guide price was £795,000 and it sold for £828,000. A very good result for all concerned.
Polly Greenway, Director of Domvs, Dorchester & Weymouth
2016 has definitely been the year of change. As well as major changes politically, both nationally and internationally. We have also seen changes to stamp duty levels which affected the buy-to-let market and those considering the purchase of a second home. I have seen many markets over the 30 years I have been in agency and experienced advice is absolutely key to a successful sale when the market is in flux.
The most popular kind of property in 2016 was large 4 bedroom family houses in a good size plot, particularly the classic period home or the very contemporary. Equally properties with a sea view have been much in demand with one selling off market for £1.65m to the first person who saw it!
Looking ahead, 2017 is a little difficult to predict, but what is always consistent, is that sensibly-priced, well-presented homes, always have a market. To maximise the return on any property it is important to understand who the ‘profile buyer’ is likely to be and to ensure the marketing strategy reflects that. With stunning countryside, coastal locations, well-supported towns and villages in the Dorset area, as a county we really do have a lot to offer any buyer. There are also some really exciting new developments coming up next year - one in the Weymouth area and one on the coast in particular – watch this space!
Richard Taylor, Partner at Symonds & Sampson, Sherborne & Shaftesbury
Despite the global economic turmoil we have had a satisfactory year in a challenging market and traditionally when the residential market has been tough we have performed well – professional experience coming to the fore. As with 2015 the best performing sector being sub £600k. Surprisingly Brexit has had limited impact upon our market and town houses in Dorchester and Poundbury especially have been in hot demand.
I can see good town houses performing well in 2017. Poundbury, with the recent unveiling of the statute of The Queen Mother and near completion of Queen Mother’s Square, is surging ahead. Dorset is in a good position as a county. Generally demand is likely to exceed supply which should ensure a stable and level playing field.
Morgan Evans, Branch Partner of Berkeleys, Canford Cliffs
The change to stamp duty back in April saw a surge in investors and second home purchasers in the first part of the year. Brexit brought a slump in activity on the property market but as 2016 closes we have seen some improvement.
Berkeleys specialises in the premium end of the market in BH13 and BH14. In high demand have been detached family homes priced between £750k and £1.5m, also large apartments with views have been popular towards the end of the year, as a second home or for buyers wishing to downsize to something more manageable.
A sale which has stood out for us in 2016 was an apartment in Branksome Towers, with fantastic sea views. It was notable because it came to the market the day the UK decided to leave Europe; it took just two weeks to secure a buyer at a listed price in excess of £900k, one of the highest prices achieved in this residential apartment block.
We are expecting a steady start to 2017 with the usual activity increase coming into the spring months. Areas I expect to be popular this coming year will be Canford Cliffs village and surrounding areas. Locally, exciting developments of note are Pegasus Life’s two retirement developments which are nearing completion, Woodlands and The Landing. Situated in stunning locations, both offer first class accommodation and I am sure they will be popular with local buyers looking to downsize in retirement.
Chris McCaughtey, Equity Partner at Stags, Bridport & Lyme Regis
2016 has been a mixed bag in West Dorset, the first three months were busy as purchasers of second homes were keen to complete prior to the introduction of the additional Stamp Duty. In the build up to the Referendum the market slowed down considerably. However since the vote we have seen a steady increase in activity. Our London office reported that where vendors have adjusted their prices in London and the South East they started to achieve sales, and so we are now seeing this filter through to West Dorset.
The most popular sector of the market has been in the £300k to £600k bracket with buyers wanting to be in towns or villages with good amenities. As ever homes with excellent sea views have proved popular.
I predict that we will see an increase in transaction levels as buyer and vendor expectations begin to align. In West Dorset we know there is a huge appetite for homes from buyers outside the area who are selling at a higher price in London and the South East. Due to the disparity in values they can afford to take a lower offer on their own property and still buy a lovely home in West Dorset.
Interest in Bridport and Lyme Regis will continue as buyers are keen to be part of a community. I also envisage the market for the larger homes to return as more and more people decide now is the time to relocate from London and the South East as they will no longer be holding on for the large price increases seen in that region in recent years.
Paul Cullingford, Branch Manager of YOUHome, Bournemouth
2016 has been a year of change for the property market, driven by economic and industry factors. Bournemouth has a very strong local economy resulting in continuous demand for realistically priced property to buy and rent.
Sales of properties in 2016 in Bournemouth, Ferndown and surrounding areas of the South Coast included a good representation of houses and apartments, with one bed apartments being particularly strong. The local market saw a surge in sales in March just before Stamp Duty changes were introduced which then tailed off. In Bournemouth town centre we have seen several major new developments come to the market, with buy-to-let landlords interested along with second home owners.
Demand for competitively-priced homes for families, young professionals, downsizers and retirees will remain strong in 2017.
New build will be an interesting sector to follow. Lettings will remain strong, but with the Autumn Statement government policy changes, landlords and lettings agents will need to consider evolving business transaction models.
Bournemouth’s micro-economy is a strong draw to several specific types of buyers and tenants. The universities deliver demand from students seeking rental accommodation and landlords looking to invest in buy-to-let property to meet this demand. Bournemouth’s reputation as the UK’s fastest growing digital economy means there is growing demand to buy flats from young tech-savvy professionals working in the area. In Ferndown and Christchurch retirees and downsizers are drawn to these areas because they offer wonderful lifestyle amenities such as golf, sailing, tennis, music, the arts and fine dining.
Lyndon Le Boutillier, Founder and Director of Hearnes Estate Agents, Ferndown & Wimborne
The housing market has had its ups and downs, as every year does, but overall house prices have made steady progress in an upward direction which is what everyone wants to see; no huge rises or drops - just steadiness. Brexit should have no direct impact on demand and supply in the housing market. Most people who move do so for specific reasons and those reasons will be the same next year as they are every year.
Family homes in particular of all sizes from £200k all the way up to £1.5m sold well, as did flats – especially studios and one and two beds under £200k. Generally all properties were in demand from £50k all the way up to £1.5m though.
Looking ahead to 2017, I think that top end of the market will come back as it’s the one sector which has been a bit slower this year, largely due to a correction in the central London market dating back to 2013/2014. Correctly priced properties will always sell and prices are continuing with a gentle upward trend. Properties in the BH post code will achieve good prices if they are marketed well and priced correctly, as it’s a popular area to stay in and to move to.
There are many new developments coming to the market over the next few years with Wimborne being a particular area for new homes, and Poole having some larger new home sites. Across the whole of the BH post code sector there are plenty of new home sites in planning which will become available in due course. This is exciting for the local market as they will result in homes of all descriptions, including affordable housing to help first time buyers.
Sally Gravener, Managing Director of Hearnes Estate Agents, Bournemouth
I am feeling very optimistic about 2017. We already have quite a few people waiting until after Christmas to put their property on the market. Mortgage rates have gone down, which has been a positive thing, and we’ve noticed an increase in first-time buyers, which is great news.
Looking back on 2016, July through to August saw a big spike in the sale of properties priced between £900k and £1.5m. September saw a huge demand for apartments ranging from studios from around £100,000 to two bedroom apartments up to £200k. Certainly, the buy-to-let market has been very strong. Family homes ranging £275k and £500k have been strong performers since August too. In that price sector, we’ve often had two or three clients bidding on one property!
Every single part of the property market is represented in Bournemouth from studio flat to luxury mansion, and there is a strong, first-time buyer market emerging. That coupled with the fact we have lots of new build and conversions coming to market in 2017 means that I am expecting these kinds of properties to sell exceptionally well.
Bournemouth as a whole is growing and is a very attractive area to move to. Until recently, Talbot Woods was something of a best kept secret but we’re now seeing more people buying there and other premium areas of Bournemouth and Poole. West Cliff and Westbourne are increasingly popular areas too with lots of fantastic character houses and converted properties.