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Wednesday 31 January 2024

Mum’s The Word – Moving Advice For Southampton Families

Here’s the penultimate part of our series of articles on a family’s views on selling up and moving home.

This family of five sold and moved last year, but their experiences (and emotions) are timeless.

We’ve shared the perspectives of a six-year-old, a ‘tweenager’ and a teenager, and now it’s mum’s turn.

The perfect home

“The journey to a new home began excitedly, especially when we found the ‘one’ – the property we loved and wanted.”

An emotional offer

“I felt joy and disbelief when our offer was accepted. My husband and I were delighted, yet nervous, and as parents, we wondered how our children would react to leaving their familiar surroundings.”

Kids are resilient

“To our relief, the children responded with incredible positivity, highlighting the adaptable nature of young minds, even in the face of a big change.”

Planning and dreaming

“I spent hours on Pinterest, meticulously planning every room in our new home. From paint choices to furnishings, I left no stone unturned in our quest for the perfect home.”

Facing uncertainty

“But the path to our new family home wasn’t smooth. The sale nearly collapsed a week before the exchange of contracts, creating a whirlwind of stress. I did all I could to get the sale back on track.”

The emotional weight of packing

“Amidst this uncertainty, packing became an emotional task. The fear of unpacking without moving loomed large, especially with the thought of breaking bad news to our children.”

Renewed hope and cautious progress

“Thankfully, the property chain was eventually restored, and packing resumed, albeit with a new sense of scepticism and lessened joy.”

A silver lining

“In this stressful time, decluttering the house brought unexpected joy. It was a small but significant positive during a lot of uncertainty.”

Final stages of the move

“With the exchange finally happening and moving day set, our nerves, mine in particular, began to ease, though a hint of apprehension remained.”

Emotional farewells and new beginnings

“The actual move was an emotional rollercoaster. Saying goodbye to our kids’ first home, filled with memories and milestones, was bittersweet. But anticipating new beginnings also brought a sense of pride and excitement.”

First night in the new home

“The first night in our new home was a whirlwind of emotions. The children’s excitement starkly contrasted my realisation that my detailed plans might need re-thinking, but a few months since moving in, we’re getting there.”

Motherly advice

“My advice for others on a similar path to a new family home is simple: involve and be honest with your children, understand the moving process, and always stay positive. A good removal company and an empathetic and experienced estate agent are invaluable for support during these times.”

Sunday 28 January 2024

Why You Shouldn’t Sell Your Southampton In 2024


As a seasoned estate agent serving the Southampton community, I’ve always prided myself on offering transparent, informed advice to local homeowners. Today, I’d like to provide a balanced perspective on the current housing market trends and what they could mean for those contemplating selling their Southampton homes.

The housing market is an ever-evolving landscape, and recent forecasts present a mixed bag of predictions that Southampton homeowners should consider before placing their ‘For Sale’ signs in their front gardens. According to the latest data, while the property market shows signs of recovery, it may be prudent for some sellers to exercise patience.

Current British Market Dynamics

As of the beginning of 2024, the UK property market has shown resilience against predicted downturns. Contrary to forecasts of declining house prices in early 2023, the British market experienced a modest rise. This unexpected stability can be attributed to several critical factors, including effective mortgage affordability stress testing since 2014, lender policies supporting households, and the robustness of the employment sector, all of which have cushioned the property market from significant drops.

Despite predictions of an 8-15% fall in house prices at the start of 2023, data from sources like Halifax indicated a national increase of 1.7% in 2023. This trend challenges the conventional scare scenarios often associated with market volatility.

As we look towards 2024, the market is expected to stabilise further. Some projections indicate a possible decrease in national house prices of 2% to 4%, yet others suggest a slight increase over the next 12 months. These numbers represent a market that, while not booming, is maintaining a steady pulse. Furthermore, with Bank of England interest rates potentially drifting to around 3.75% to 4% by the end of 2024 (subject to inflation), the climate is ripe for strategic decision-making.

Southampton‘s Position

In Southampton, the local housing market mirrors this national trend. The town’s rich history, excellent transport links, schools, and community spirit make it a continued area of interest for buyers. However, the anticipated continued market stability suggests that homeowners might benefit from waiting unless there’s a need to sell.

That said, life’s milestones — marriages, births, deaths, and career moves — continue to drive the need for housing transitions. Southampton’s market, known for its resilience, is no exception. As such, homeowners looking to sell due to life changes will find an audience in Southampton’s steady, albeit slower, marketplace (compared to the manic years of 2020/21/22).

A Strategic Approach to Selling Your Southampton Home

For those in Southampton considering a sale, it’s crucial to understand the current market’s nuances. Interest rates, while stabilising, still impact the average mortgage rates, affecting buyers’ purchasing power. This could influence the pricing strategy for your Southampton home.

Most of the property sales in Southampton during the last 12 months were terraced properties, selling for an average price of £306,600. Detached properties sold for an average of £544,600, with semi-detached properties fetching £389,100.

However, what a property sells for, in most instances, is almost irrelevant because if yours goes up, the one you want to buy goes up (and vice versa). The most important thing is your chances of selling and moving home.

In 2022, your chance of selling your Southampton home was 74.7%, whilst in 2023, it had dropped to 64.8%

It is interesting to compare it with the national picture of 65.38% in 2022 and 52.85% in 2023.

As with all things, it’s a matter of supply and demand, especially supply. This can be measured by the number of properties currently on the market.

On the 1st of January 2023, there were 550 properties for sale in the Southamptonarea. That had increased to 692 on the1st of January 2024 (Southampton area RG21-RG24).

Moreover, nearly half of homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages will soon face higher payments upon re-mortgaging, putting added pressure on the market. As your local expert, I can help navigate these complexities to position your Southampton home attractively in the market.

The Case for Putting Your Southampton Home on the Market

While the market might lean towards waiting, there are strategic reasons to list your home. A well-presented property, priced accurately, stands out in any market. Southampton’s unique appeal can work in favour of sellers with desirable properties.

For those looking to downsize, the current market could be particularly advantageous. The increased costs of borrowing might deter upsizers, but for downsizers, especially those who are mortgage-free, there is a potential for a beneficial sale.

Why Consider A Free Valuation Market Appraisal Of Your Home?

A free valuation market appraisal serves as a cornerstone for any selling strategy. Even if you are months and months away from considering moving, it provides a realistic picture of what your Southampton property could command in the current climate. And remember, it’s about more than just attaching a price tag to your property; it’s also about understanding your home within the fabric of Southampton’s property market.

Southampton Property Expertise That Matters

In these uncertain times, expertise and knowledge are invaluable. A thorough understanding of the macroeconomic national (and international) climate and the microcosm of Southampton’s property landscape can make all the difference. As your local estate agent, I have the insight and experience to guide you through these decisions.

Whether or not to sell your home in Southampton in 2024 is not a decision to be taken lightly. The market offers opportunities but must be navigated with care and expertise. For those considering their options, I invite you to reach out for a comprehensive free valuation market appraisal. Together, we can assess your property’s potential and make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and the market’s realities.

Remember, whether it’s to sell now or later, the key is preparation and partnering with someone who understands the market’s pulse. As a Southampton estate agent committed to your best interests, I am here to offer that partnership and ensure that you do so with confidence and clarity when you decide to sell.

Don't hesitate to get in touch on 023 8001 8222.

Monday 22 January 2024

The UK Property Market In 2024: A Robust Start With Implications For Southampton

UK Property Market in 2024

As an experienced estate and letting agent based in Southampton, I have been closely monitoring the trends in the UK property market. As of January 11th, 2024, the market has shown a solid start, a trend worth exploring, especially in how it might mirror or differ from the local market in Southampton.

In the first 11 days of 2024, the UK property market recorded 22,402 homes sold subject to contract (stc). This figure represents a significant increase compared to the first 11 days in 2023, where only 15,735 properties were sold stc.

This is an impressive 42.37% increase in the number of UK home sales year-to-date

For those of you who like your property stats, the average price of the property sold stc in the first 11 days of 2023 was £337,678 with an average of £321/sq.ft. In 2024, the average sale agreed price was almost identical at £337,972, yet the average pound per square foot was slightly higher at £326/sq.ft.

Such a surge in the property market demands a deeper analysis to understand the underlying factors and what they might mean for local markets, such as Southampton.

Key Drivers Of The UK Property Market Surge

Lowering Mortgage Rates: One of the primary catalysts for the increased activity in the property market is the reduction in mortgage rates. This development has made purchasing property affordable for a more significant population segment, boosting home sales.

Rising Wages: The rise in average wages has also played a critical role. With more disposable income, individuals are more inclined to invest in property, which is a secure and lucrative asset.

Low Unemployment Rates: The strong job market and low unemployment rates have instilled confidence in people, encouraging them to make significant life decisions such as buying a home.

Additional Factors: There are other factors at play as well, including demographic shifts, changes in housing preferences post-pandemic, and government policies that may have incentivised property purchases.

Southampton’s Property Market: A Comparative Analysis

When we turn our attention to Southampton, it’s important to recognise that local markets can behave differently from national trends. (Southampton being SO14-SO19).

As of the same period in 2024, Southampton’s property market has shown 114 sales agreed (sold stc), and in comparison, to the exact year-to-date figure of 2023, which was 70, we can draw some preliminary conclusions.

This is a 62.9% increase in Southampton home sales year-to-date.

So, reasonably like the national picture (albeit higher), it is still very much early doors so things could change.

Before diving deeper into this, I wanted to see if the types of properties selling in the first two weeks of the year in the Southampton area in 2024 differed from those in 2023.

The average price of the property that was agreed on a sale (i.e. sold stc) in the first 11 days of 2023 in Southampton was £249,297 with an average of £302/sq.ft.

In 2024, the average sale agreed price was £256,328, yet the average pound per square foot was slightly higher at £313/sq.ft.

Local Factors Influencing Southampton’s Market

The performance of Southampton’s property market could be influenced by local economic conditions, the specific demographic profile of the area, and even regional policy decisions. For instance, developments in local employment opportunities, infrastructure projects, or changes in the local landscape compared to other parts of the UK could significantly affect market dynamics. Do share your thoughts on that and reply with a comment.

Future Outlook And Advice For Homeowners And Landlords In Southampton

Looking ahead, the property market in 2024 is on a promising trajectory. However, understanding the nuances of the local market is crucial for homeowners and landlords in Southampton. It’s not just about national trends but how they interact with local and regional factors.

As a professional, I encourage Southampton property owners and prospective buyers to seek tailored advice. Understanding the current market position of your property and how to navigate the 2024 market landscape can be pivotal in making informed decisions.

While the UK property market has seen a robust start in 2024, it’s essential to fully delve into local market conditions to grasp the opportunities and challenges. For those in Southampton, I am here to provide expert insights and guidance tailored to our unique market conditions. Whether you are a homeowner looking to sell or a landlord seeking to expand or liquidate your portfolio, understanding the specifics of Southampton’s property market is critical to making strategic decisions.

Remember, the Southampton property market is dynamic, and what applies on a national level might not mirror precisely at the local level. As we move through 2024, staying informed and adapting to the changing market will be crucial for success in any property transaction.

To understand your position in the Southampton property market, or if you have any queries about potential property investments, please feel free to contact the Belvoir Southampton team on 023 8098 4041. Our expertise and local market knowledge of Southampton are at your disposal to help you navigate these exciting times in our local property market.

Monday 15 January 2024

Making A Difference In Southampton: Tips For Energy Saving Week

Energy Saving Week is taking place from 17 – 23 January.

But what is it, and why should you care?

Well, it’s a campaign encouraging UK households to become more aware of their energy use.

It’s an annual campaign started in 2012 by the Citizens Advice Bureau and government departments.

With that in mind, here are some tips on how to get more energy-smart, financially savvy and planet-friendly.

Start With Your Bills

A good starting point is to review your energy bills thoroughly. This helps you understand your consumption patterns and identify areas where you can reduce excessive use, leading to more efficient energy usage and cost savings.

Ask an expert

Seek advice and information from trusted sources on the internet. We like the Centre for Sustainable Energy, Energy Saving Trust and Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets).

These platforms offer invaluable tips on reducing energy waste and improving efficiency.

Improving home insulation

A significant focus of this year’s Energy Saving Week is upgrading home insulation. By insulating key areas like attics, walls and floors, you can retain more heat in your home, reducing the need for extensive heating. This is good for your pocket and the planet.

Play the field

Consider looking at what different energy suppliers have to offer. Switching to a provider that offers competitive rates or renewable energy sources can substantially lower your energy bills. This week is the perfect opportunity to compare options and find a better deal that works for you.

Getting help

Energy Saving Week highlights various government grants and financial assistance for those on a limited budget. These are designed to help households struggling with energy costs, ensuring that energy-saving measures are accessible to everyone.

Your Energy Saving Week Plan

Here’s a quick plan to get the most out of the week.
  1. Review what you’re spending on energy.
  2. Take an hour to check out the independent advice websites in this article.
  3. Think about areas where you can improve insulation.
  4. Compare energy suppliers and what they offer.
  5. See what help is available around energy bills.

To learn about Energy Saving Week, visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website.

Friday 12 January 2024

Mortgage War Will Save Southampton Homeowners £3,215 A Year


In a recent financial turn, Southampton residents are experiencing a wave of relief as mortgage rates across the UK take a surprising dip. This reduction, led by major lenders, signals a potential opportunity for the Southampton housing market, directly affecting homeowners, landlords and first-time buyers in the city.

Let’s delve into what this means for the local market, weighing up both the opportunities and the need for realistic expectations.

The Welcome Decline In Mortgage Rates

Leading the charge, Halifax announced on the 2nd of January a significant 0.83% cut in its re-mortgage deals, a move promptly followed by other financial institutions.

These cuts are not just numbers; they translate to substantial monthly savings for homeowners. For instance, on a £200,000 mortgage, this reduction could mean savings of £138 per month. As these lower rates become the new norm, they herald a brighter outlook for those looking to re-mortgage or enter the housing market.

For Southampton homeowners eyeing the market, this is a particularly opportune moment. The lowered rates could make transitioning to a new home more feasible, easing the financial burden often accompanying such a move.

Additionally, previously daunted by high entry costs, first-time buyers might find the market more welcoming, spurring a rejuvenation of property transactions in the area.

For example,

The average terraced house in Southampton in the last 12months sold for £260,716.

The mortgage on a typical 85% loan-to-value mortgage would be £221,609 (meaning a 15% deposit of £39,107).

If a Southampton first-time buyer bought their house last summer, when the average five-year fixed rate was 6.3%, the mortgage payments would be £1,308.55 per month (for the next five years).

At the time of writing this article, Halifax were offering an 85% loan-to-value, five-year fixed rate at 4.57%, yet HSBC were offering something even better, a 4.44%, 85% loan-to-value mortgage on a five-year fixed rate.

That means their mortgage payments would only be £1,040.56 per month.

The average Southampton first-time buyer purchasing a terraced house is, therefore, saving £267.99 per month or £3,215.87 over the year because of the fall in mortgage rates over the last six months.

As you can see, the drop in mortgage interest rates makes quite a difference and will be a welcome saving to most Southampton household budgets.

Economic Indications And Market Predictions

The trend of falling rates is expected to continue, fuelled by competitive market dynamics and a general anticipation of further interest rate cuts by the Bank of England. Financial experts are betting on a substantial drop in Bank of England base interest rates throughout 2024, with the money markets believing base rates will slowly reduce in small steps from the current 15-year peak of 5.25% down to 3.75% by the year’s end, making mortgages more affordable and possibly boosting the property market’s health.

However, amidst the optimism, Southampton homeowners must adopt a tempered view. While the cuts are substantial, the rates are still relatively high compared to the historically low rates in previous years. Homeowners looking to sell should be particularly mindful of this. Setting realistic pricing, reflective of the current economic conditions and buyer capabilities, will be crucial to successful transactions.

Advice For Southampton Homeowners And Buyers

For those considering a move or entering the Southampton property market, it’s an opportune time to reassess your options. Seeking financial advice and comparing the market can ensure that you benefit from the best available rates. The market is fluid, and staying informed will be vital to making financially sound and beneficial decisions in the long term.

Advice For Southampton Landlords

In Southampton, falling interest rates herald a prosperous time for landlords. As financing costs decline, the burden of mortgages and loans diminishes, enhancing profitability. Concurrently, rents are escalating at a rate outpacing inflation, often in double digits, amplifying income streams significantly. This dual boon means landlords can enjoy reduced operational costs while benefiting from increasing rental revenues, bolstering their investment returns in the vibrant Southampton property market. This positive shift in financial dynamics offers a promising outlook for existing and prospective landlords in the area.

Final Words On This Mortgage War

The recent drop in mortgage rates brings a fresh wave of optimism to Southampton’s property market. It opens doors for homeowners looking to move and incentivises first-time buyers. However, a balanced, well-informed approach will be essential, with economic indicators suggesting varied outcomes. Whether you’re planning to buy, sell or re-mortgage, understanding the market and setting realistic expectations will be crucial to making the most of this financial shift. Southampton’s property landscape is evolving and with careful consideration and strategic planning, residents can navigate this change effectively and advantageously.

If you are a Southampton homeowner, landlord or first-time buyer and you have any questions about buying or selling in Southampton in 2024, please call us on 023 8098 4041.

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Southampton's Guide To Mortgage Independence: Removing A Name From A Joint Mortgage


In Basingstoke’s dynamic property market, understanding the nuances of changing your mortgage, such as removing a name from a joint mortgage, is essential.

This guide simplifies the process for Basingstoke homeowners looking to navigate this potentially complex situation.

The Two-Step Process For Basingstoke Homeowners

Step 1 – The Mortgage Part:

This resembles remortgaging. Review your current mortgage to see if it’s still favourable or if switching lenders could offer better terms.

The lender will reassess the remaining party’s creditworthiness and ability to afford the repayments on their own. This is often the most challenging part, as Bank’s and Building Society’s affordability criteria might have changed since you originally purchased the property.

Step 2 - The Legal Part:

If all parties agree and the lender agrees, the process is straightforward. A conveyancing solicitor in Basingstoke can manage the legalities with minimal hassle for about a couple of hundred pounds.

Disagreements complicate matters, leading to costly and time-consuming legal challenges that are best avoided if possible.

Critical Considerations for Basingstoke Residents

Before removing a name from a joint mortgage, consider the financial implications. The party removed is no longer financially responsible for the mortgage, which could strain the remaining party, mainly if the departing individual contributed significantly to the payments.

Finally, while removing a name from a joint mortgage in Basingstoke can be straightforward, it’s vital to approach it with a clear understanding of the legal and financial implications. Being informed is critical to a smooth transition, whether you’re dealing with divorce, investment changes, or a simple buyout.

Monday 8 January 2024

Why Guppies Make Good Tenants And How You Can Attract Them

If you’re wondering what Guppies are (and we’re not talking about fish here) and what they’ve got to do with the property sector, let us explain.

The term ‘Guppies’ refers to tenants in the 18 – 39 age bracket who see themselves staying in the rental market for the long term.

The nickname comes from the phrase ‘Given Up on Property’ because Guppies don’t see home ownership on the cards for them for at least the next decade.

For some, this is because of the high cost of buying a property and the struggle to get a decent deposit together.

But for others, it’s about lifestyle. Some Guppies don’t want to be tied to a 40-year mortgage and the other demands of home ownership, such as repairs and maintenance.

Others in this group would rather rent in an area they love than move further afield to a more affordable (but perhaps less desirable) location.

So, How Big Is Generation Guppie? 

Zoopla estimates that 42% of Brits under 40 who don’t own a property have no plans to do so for at least ten years – hence they’re Guppies.

The property platform also notes that 40% of Guppies earn more than £60,000 annually.

Do Guppies Make Good Tenants?

We wouldn’t be doing our job as letting agents if we didn’t state that all landlords should follow a rigorous tenant selection process (with relevant credit and reference checks).

But given that many Guppies are on good incomes and looking to rent for the long term, they could make ideal tenants.

So, What Do Guppies Want?

High-standard properties – Guppies seek a place to call home, not stop-gap accommodation. It’s important to them that a property is well-maintained and has a modern interior.

Responsive landlord – Young people (and from our point of view, anyone under 40 falls into this bracket) are tech-savvy and prefer to communicate through channels such as WhatsApp. When they raise an issue, they don’t expect to be waiting days for a response.

Pet-friendly homes – While many in Generation Guppie may not have children, they may want a pet or already be a doting pet owner. Flexibility around the issue of pet ownership will be seen as a real plus.

Upkeep – As we said earlier, for some Guppies, the lure of renting is not having to worry about the cost or stress of repairs and maintenance. This doesn’t mean they don’t care about these things, but they expect the landlord to be diligent and proactive.

If you need help managing a rental property and sourcing good-quality tenants, contact our team at Belvoir Southampton today.

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Why didn’t Southampton House Prices Crash in 2023?


As I review the performance of the Southampton property market in 2023, it's evident that despite the challenges, the housing sector in the city has shown remarkable resilience.

At the beginning of the year, many commentators in January 2023 suggested house prices would drop like a stone in 2023. The Halifax thought there would be an 8% drop, Savills suggested 10%, and the respected Nomura Bank 15%, yet according to the Land Registry, they ended 0.5% higher. Looking at the Land Registry figures for Southampton…

Southampton house prices are only 0.1% lower than a year ago.

The final quarter (Q4) of 2023 recorded above average levels of new property sales in the UK, 11.1% higher than the year before (221,996 homes sold stc in Oct/Nov/Dec ’23 in the UK compared to 199,807 for the same three months in 2022).

What was of particular interest was a drop of 25.4% in the number of sale fall throughs (sale fall through being home sales agreed yet cancelled before legal exchange and completion), dropping from 75,033 in Q4 in 2022 to 56,761 in Q4 2023.

Looking at the local figures for Southampton (SO14-SO19) …

In Q4 2022, 821 Southampton properties had a sale agreed on, but 345 property sales fell through, meaning there were 476 net property sales.

Looking at Q4 2023, 887 Southampton properties had a sale agreed on them, yet only 238 property sales fell through, meaning there were 649 net property sales.

This surge in activity is a testament to the enduring value and attraction of homeownership.

Market sentiment has been bolstered by rising incomes and an initial decline in mortgage rates, making property investment increasingly feasible for many.

Demand is also considerably higher, up 19% according to Zoopla's property searches from last year.

Coupled with an increase of 20.7% in available properties for sale (633k in Q4 ’23 vs 524k in Q4 ‘22) compared to last year, the property market has seen an increase in choice, supporting robust sales.

This pricing alignment between buyers and sellers has reduced the downward pressure on values.

So, why didn’t Southampton house prices fall by 8% to 15% as predicted in 2023?

Despite average mortgage rates climbing from just over 2% to over 6% in the last two years, house prices haven't plummeted as anticipated. This defiance against more significant falls is attributed to several key factors:

  1. Labour Market & Earnings: The UK's robust labour market and a 7.3% growth in average earnings have provided British households the financial stability needed to sustain mortgage repayments, even amidst rising rates.
  2. Lender Restraint: Lenders have adopted policies to support many British households struggling with repayments, effectively reducing the number of forced sellers and maintaining market stability.
  3. Mortgage Affordability Testing (Stress Testing): Perhaps the most influential factor has been the introduction of stricter mortgage affordability ‘stress testing’ (the Mortgage Market Review tests) for new borrowers since April 2014.

These ‘stress test’ regulations were designed to prevent British households from taking on excessive levels of mortgages during periods of low mortgage rates. They have been pivotal in preventing a significant housing crash because, like 1988 and 2008, when borrowers borrowed too much in the years before, that caused rapid house price inflation (due to over-borrowing). The added advantage to stress tests is the built in resilience for higher mortgage rates, enabling many households to manage the transition to higher mortgage rates more effectively.

For instance, even though the average rate all new mortgage borrowers have paid has dropped from around 4% in the autumn of 2014 to just under 2% in the autumn of 2021, borrowers have had to prove they could afford a 6.5% to 7% mortgage rate to secure that mortgage during that time frame. As interest rates have risen in the last couple of years, the stress levels have increased to an average of 8.7% (i.e. borrowers now need to prove they can afford to pay a mortgage of 8.7%).

Impact on Southampton's property market in 2024.

As an estate agent witnessing these trends first-hand in Southampton, I've seen our local market reflect this national resilience. The regulatory constraints on buying power, while capping the purchasing ability up to and post-pandemic, have, on reflection, maintained a steady demand for quality homes.

Southampton first-time buyers are still buying plenty of homes yet approaching the market with slightly more caution and greater financial preparedness than a couple of years ago. They are adapting to the current economic climate by opting for smaller Southampton homes to offset the elevated costs associated with borrowing. Interestingly, another reason for higher first-time buyer demand is rising rental prices, which have risen at nearly double-digit annual percentage increases since 2021.

As I anticipate the future, it's crucial to understand that while base rates may start to fall later in 2024, the regulatory constraints on buying power continue to hold. While ensuring market stability, these limitations suggest that house prices are unlikely to rise sharply in 2024 and are more likely to drift slightly downwards by 1% and 3%.

For homeowners and prospective buyers in Southampton, there's an opportunity to plan and navigate your property decisions with a long-term perspective.

As the housing market navigates through fluctuating mortgage rates, there's cautious optimism that a slight ease in these rates might boost buyer confidence. This shift could encourage more individuals to proceed with buying homes.

Those ready to ascend the property ladder may leverage the buyers' market depending on the type and location of their second or third home in Southampton, presenting offers lower than the asking price in hopes of securing a deal.

Additionally, those looking to relocate would welcome any dips in fixed-rate mortgages. A significant decrease in two-year rates has already been observed, potentially enticing a segment of buyers to re-enter the market.

Buy-to-let Southampton landlords are facing a mixed scenario.

While they may be experiencing notable increases in rental income, the financial pressure from elevated interest rates, insurance costs, and taxation is real. There's plenty of speculation in the press that these factors may lead to a reduction in the number of rental properties as landlords potentially exit the market, which could further impact the availability of rental stock. However, as the number of British landlords selling up has increased by 55% (over the last couple of years) and the number of landlords buying has only decreased by 22% (again in the previous two years), the net numbers of British buy-to-let properties are still very marginally growing!

Final thoughts to Southampton homeowners.

To all Southampton homeowners considering a move in 2024, I encourage you to view this period as an opportune time to evaluate your options. With a comprehensive understanding of the local and national property landscape, I am committed to guiding you through every step of your property journey.

Whether you want to buy or sell or want to discuss your options, I invite you to connect with me. There's no cost or obligation – just a straightforward conversation to help you make informed decisions in a changing market. Let's navigate your future move in the Southampton property market together!

Tuesday 2 January 2024

2024, a New Year – Maybe a new Southampton Home?

As we settle into the first few weeks of 2024, you may contemplate moving home. Whether it’s a quest for more bedrooms or reception rooms, a desire for a larger garden, a view, a move closer to the countryside, or downsizing, the New Year symbolises new beginnings.

In navigating this journey, selecting the right Southampton estate agent becomes crucial to help you move.

Begin by consulting those closest to you. Recommendations from friends and family can provide valuable insights, particularly regarding estate agents in Southampton. Their experiences can highlight agents who are communicative, knowledgeable, and efficient, essential qualities in securing a property that meets or exceeds your price expectations.

Next, turn to the wealth of information available online. Reviews on platforms like Facebook and Google offer a window into the experiences of others with various Southampton estate agents. However, approach these reviews with a balanced perspective, recognising that not all feedback may be entirely objective.

Your research should extend to the agents' websites. Compare their services, fees, and property marketing strategies. Assess their engagement with the Southampton community through social media interactions, demonstrating their local area expertise.

Equally important is understanding the different operational models of estate agents in Southampton – from high street offices to internet based and hybrid models. Each comes with its benefits and drawbacks, tailored to individual needs. Please pay close attention to their terms and conditions. How long is their sole agency agreement (this is particularly important)? Do they have any charges if you withdraw your property from them?

As you narrow down your choices, evaluate the agents' performance and ability to meet your specific requirements, whether the number of viewings, website views, proactive outreach to potential Southampton buyers, or achieving a timely offer.

Remember, the right agent should excel in selling properties like yours and possess in-depth knowledge of the Southampton area, ensuring accurate valuations and effective communication with prospective buyers.

Finally, trust your instincts. The right agent for your Southampton property will often resonate with you beyond just the facts and figures.

For personalised, no-obligation advice on selling your home in Southampton, our expert property team at Belvoir Southampton is ready to assist.