Following on from two years of frenzied housing market activity in England, the ‘mini-budget’ of September 2022 put a brake on property sales almost overnight. As the RICS reported in February, buyer demand in England had fallen to its weakest level since 2009. The rising cost of fuel, higher mortgage rates and 10% inflation all combined to make buyers understandably cautious and led to many purchasers withdrawing offers in the autumn and winter of 2022.
The city of Bath has been somewhat cushioned from the house price drops hitting other parts of the country, largely due to limited housing stock and ongoing demand from buyers moving in from London. In early March the Telegraph cited Bath as, ‘the only English city where property buyer demand has risen in the past six months,’ with demand up 11 percent.
As local surveyors, we are in regular contact with estate agents operating in and around Bath. Their opinion is broadly that if houses are priced correctly then they are still selling, but that sellers may need to be a little more pragmatic as to what sales figures can be achieved. Buyers are typically negotiating transactions that are below the listed asking price, with bigger reductions for the more expensive properties.
With spring now here the local market seems to be moving towards a period of greater stability, with a better balance between supply and demand. Bath continues to appeal to a range of buyers, from families seeking green spaces and good schools, to downsizers looking for a safe, peaceful city that has plenty of culture on offer. With mortgage rates stabilising and looking likely to gradually decline, this will hopefully instil further confidence in the market as we move further into the year.