March brought a record quarter to an exciting finish, with sales agreed in Witney at a higher level than any of us could have predicted. Savvy, well-informed home hunters were shopping around, looking at on average 7 homes before they offered, but happy to pay market value for the right property.
Property prices in Witney and the surrounding villages rose by around 2% in the first three months of 2021 with all house types and price ranges enjoying strong demand. Homes that did not find a new owner were likely to be overpriced, reductions in excess of 3.5% brought about the greatest uplift in new visitor numbers. This assumes, of course, that the asking price was close to market value initially.
The extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday and removal of the cliff-hanger ending helped lock in many sales that could have run into trouble if the incentive came to an abrupt close. I personally believe that the time of adding fiscal stimulus to an already strong market is over and we should take a position of laissez-faire to let the market find its own level over time. For a short while at least.
Overall, a very enjoyable, if a little frantic three months trading that saw many of our clients move very successfully in and around the Witney area.
On a wider note, Covid19 has changed many things in our lives. It has altered our outlook, our expectations, and our ambitions, it has changed the way we live or want to live.
Over the past year we have experienced this in an evolving list of property buyers’ aspirations. Oh, the usual essentials are still there – right price, enough room and attractive location – but now a secondary list of important requirements has appeared as buyers seek to change their lifestyles in the light of the pandemic.
Here are some of the important features being sought by post-Covid buyers today.
Zoom Room – Homebuyers are attracted by dedicated office space for home working.
Homecation Facilities Not everyone wants a pool, but room for some little luxuries is proving popular.
Multigenerational Living – With more millennials and Gen Zs moving back home, and room needed for housing elderly family members, the hunt is on for adaptable properties and those with space to extend.
Gourmet Kitchen – During the lockdown, many people brushed up on their cooking skills or even learned from scratch. Now the demand is for better-equipped kitchens.
A Garden Oasis – Lots of us have discovered gardening during the lockdown while others want the room to play and exercise. More people than ever are seeking good outside space following the strict social distancing rules, with people flocking to areas like Witney to tick this box.
The Suburbs are Back – A little more space, lower prices and happy communities are driving buyers out from big cities. But some buyers are not quite reaching the West Oxfordshire countryside.
The Health Conscious Home – Zoom fitness classes and networked exercise machines mean areas for wellness are a top priority.
Space for the Pets – Pet adoptions increased in 2020. Many homebuyers are looking for pet-friendly features. Most are thinking about cats and dogs, but some are thinking about horses.
Seating for Eating – Increased cooking expertise and a desire to spend more time with family and friends bring a stronger focus on larger dining spaces.
New Homes – A home with the patina of age is important to many. But to others, a new start often means a brand-new home where a clean slate and customised fittings can help to begin things afresh.
If you are thinking of selling your property and it has one or more of these features do call us for a chat. At Martyn Cox & Co you will find we are working in 2021, not 2019.
Simon Daughton – Branch Manager
Martyn Cox & Co