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Friday 31 May 2024

Top Tips For First-Time Campers In Southampton

If you’re planning to sleep under canvas for the first time ever this summer, here are some tips to make the most of your maiden camping experience.

Plan ahead

Do your research before you book a campsite as you’ll find a considerable variation in facilities and price.

Some sites have all manner of mod cons, such as on-site bakeries and Turkish steam rooms (yes, really). Others are just a field in the middle of nowhere for those seeking to totally get back to nature.

Before you book, read online reviews and check a site’s location on a map (so you don’t wind up sleeping a stone’s throw from a busy road).

First-time campers may find it helpful if there’s a shop and pub nearby to stock up on provisions or sit out a heavy downpour.

Borrow what you can

One of the best things about camping is staying in remarkable locations without blowing your budget. So, don’t get carried away before you go by buying loads of kit (that you may only use once if you decide camping is not for you).

Borrow from friends and family wherever you can or pick up free or low-cost items online.

Don’t forget to pack these items

It can be the little things that make or break a camping experience. So, as well as taking the basics (such as a tent, sleeping bags, waterproofs, torches and stove), think about the less obvious items that might come in handy.

A bottle opener, vegetable peeler, sharp knife, cooking oil, loo roll, sunscreen, washing-up liquid, earplugs, spare batteries (for torches), and a mallet (in case the ground is hard) can make camping life just that little bit easier.

And if you’re taking children, pack marshmallows and skewers for fireside treats at night.

What to remember on the big day

Be prepared for loading the car to take longer than expected, as fitting everything in can be akin to solving a Rubik’s cube (and the source of many arguments between couples).

Pack the tent near the top so that when you arrive, you can put it up first, then unload the rest of your belongings straight inside.

Set off as early as you can. You want to arrive in daylight and nab a good pitch (one on high ground and not right next door to the toilet block).

Once your tent is all set up and you’ve unloaded your kit, you’ll be ready for your adventure in the great British outdoors. Enjoy.

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Why It’s Vital To Know Your Buyer’s Position When Selling Your Southampton Home

It’s an exciting moment when a buyer puts a good offer on the table.

After all your hard work to prepare your home for sale, it feels like everything is finally falling into place.

But before you agree a price in a rush of giddy delight, it’s important to ask a few questions – especially if more than one buyer is interested.

This is because you need to understand a buyer’s position to evaluate how good an offer really is.

While price is obviously a massive factor in deciding who you sell to, it’s not the only issue to consider.

Your goal is to turn a good offer into a completed sale, so you need to do some digging.

Here are some issues to consider before accepting an offer.


Can the buyer demonstrate how they’ll fund the purchase? Do they have proof of deposit and a mortgage deal in place? Or are they a cash buyer? These are helpful questions to help you weed out timewasters.

Unfortunately, some buyers get carried away and make promises they can’t keep. Others jump the gun and talk about money before doing their sums or speaking to lenders and, as a result, overestimate their budget.


A successful sale is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle; you need to get all the pieces in place.

If you’re in a chain, knowing what timescale your buyer is working to is critical. Otherwise, the seller of the property you’re buying may grow impatient if you can’t complete quickly enough.

Alternatively, if your buyer is desperate for a speedy deal and you’re selling a probate property, you may be working to conflicting timescales.


Knowing why your buyer is moving will help you assess if they mean business. For example, are they moving to be closer to good schools, family or work? It’s also worth gauging how long they’ve been property hunting and how well they know the local area.

If a buyer has yet to list their property, sort their finances or instruct a solicitor, there’s a good chance they like the idea of moving more than the reality of it.

Here at Belvoir Southampton, we can take some of the stress and uncertainty out of selling your home. Contact us today on 023 8001 8222.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Southampton Buy-To-Let Property Market: A Southampton Landlord’s Perspective On Recent Trends

Over the past few years, the UK rental market has experienced significant fluctuations, with rents increasing dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic. Between 2020 and 2022, demand far exceeded supply, driving rents to unprecedented levels.

In the South East for example, the average rent has risen from £1,283 per calendar month (PCM) to £1,600pcm YTD in 2024.

However, the last 12 months have seen a slight increase in the number of properties available for rent, both nationally and regionally, leading to a more balanced market. This article will explore these trends and see if the same is happening in Southampton.

National and Regional Trends in Buy-to-Let

Nationally, the rental market has witnessed a notable shift in the last 12 months. During the pandemic, many factors contributed to the surge in rental prices, including the migration of people seeking more spacious living conditions and the disruption of new housing developments. As restrictions eased, the rental market gradually started to show signs of stabilisation. According to recent statistics, there has been a slight uptick in the supply of rental properties across the UK coming onto the market, which has helped to temper the rapid rise in rents.

In April 2023, 87,592 UK rental properties came on to the market. This number increased by 14.86% to 100,614 in April 2024.

Regionally, the South East is slightly behind this national trend where 12,116 rental properties came on the market in April 2023. This increased to 13,256 rental properties in April 2024, a rise of 9.4%.

In April 2023, the average rent achieved for a new UK rental property was £1,641pcm. The average rent increased by 8% to £1,772pcm in April 2024.

A far cry from the national double digit percentage increases in the mid to late teens only 12/18 months before.

The rent increases in the South East are slightly higher than the national trend. The average for those new properties that came on the market in April 2023 was £1,454pcm. This increased to £1,658pcm for those that came on the rental market in April 2024, a significant rise of 14%.

The increased availability of rental properties has brought some relief to tenants, who had been grappling with steep rent hikes of +20% per annum for some types of properties. Despite this increase in supply, the demand for rental properties remains robust, ensuring that rental yields continue to be attractive for landlords.

The Southampton Rental Market

In Southampton, the rental market followed a similar trajectory in the post pandemic years of 2021/2, as rents surged due to a significant imbalance between supply and demand.

Therefore, let us look at the most recent Southampton statistics to see if that pattern has followed through to us.

In this analysis, we have looked at the first four months of 2023 versus the first four months of 2024. The reason we have done this is because if we were only to look at April of each of those years for Southampton, it would be such a small sample size that the results would not be ideal.

Therefore, looking at the first four months of 2023, 2,475 rental properties came onto the market in the Southampton area (SO14 to SO19) with an average rent of £1,144pcm.

In the first four months of 2024, 2,893 Southampton properties have come onto the market for rent and the average rent has been £1,243pcm, a rise in rent of 8.6%.

Why Southampton Buy-to-Let Remains a Strong Investment

Despite the recent market adjustments, Southampton remains a compelling investment opportunity for several reasons:

  • Strong Rental Demand: Southampton’s rental market continues to benefit from strong demand. The city’s attractive location, good transport links, and quality of life make it a desirable place to live, ensuring a steady stream of potential tenants.
  • Affordable Property Prices: Compared to other regions, Southampton offers relatively affordable property prices. This affordability, combined with solid rental yields and long-term stable capital growth, makes it an appealing option for buy-to-let investors.
  • Economic Growth and Development: Southampton is experiencing economic growth, with ongoing developments in infrastructure and amenities. This growth not only enhances the quality of life for residents but also boosts the rental market by attracting more people to the area.
  • Long-Term Investment Potential: The recent stabilisation in the rental market suggests a move towards long-term sustainability. For landlords, this means the potential for consistent rental income and capital growth over time.

Addressing Southampton Tenant Concerns

It’s important to address the concerns of Southampton tenants who may feel burdened by the recent rent increases. While it’s true that rents have risen significantly, it’s worth noting that these increases have generally aligned with inflation rates over the medium term (since 2016). This means that, in real terms, the cost of renting has not increased disproportionately.

For tenants in Southampton, the slight increase in rental supply offers a glimmer of hope. A more balanced market could lead to more competitive rental prices and better opportunities to find suitable housing. Landlords should be mindful of maintaining good relationships with tenants, recognising the importance of fair and transparent rental practices.

The Future of Buy-to-Let in Southampton

Looking ahead, the Southampton buy-to-let market appears poised for continued stability and growth. Landlords should take advantage of the current market conditions to expand their portfolios. The combination of strong demand, affordable property prices, and the city’s economic prospects make Southampton a smart investment choice.

For those considering entering the buy-to-let market, now is an opportune time. The national and regional stabilisation of rental prices indicates a mature and sustainable market, reducing the risks associated with volatility. By investing in Southampton, new landlords can benefit from the city’s attractive rental yields and long-term house price growth potential.

As a property agent, I like to stay informed about these trends and communicate them to everyone interested in the Southampton property market. By highlighting the city’s potential investment opportunity for landlords whilst addressing tenant concerns, we can foster a healthy and thriving rental market that benefits all parties involved.

Monday 27 May 2024

Protecting Your Southampton Property: Security Steps For Landlords

 When summer arrives, the issue of property security becomes even more relevant for landlords.

The summer months provide more opportunity for thieves to take advantage of longer days, open windows and doors, and vacant properties.

As a landlord, you need to protect your investment, but it’s also good practice to help your tenants feel safe and secure.

Here are five relatively simple security steps landlords can take to safeguard their properties during summer.

Upgrade locks and secure entry points

As a landlord, it’s important to strengthen all entry points. Invest in high-quality deadbolts for doors and ensure windows have sturdy locks. Pay special attention to the ground floor and accessible windows, as well as patio doors, which can be vulnerable.

Install smart security systems

Modern technology offers many options to enhance property security. Smart locks allow you and your tenants to control access without traditional keys, reducing the risk of copied or lost keys. Security cameras and smart alarm systems can be monitored remotely, providing real-time alerts of any suspicious activity, thereby increasing the overall security presence at the property.

Encourage good lighting practices

Advise your tenants to keep exterior lights on at night, especially when they are away. Motion-sensitive lights are particularly effective as they startle potential intruders and alert neighbours to unusual activity. Ensure all external lighting fixtures are in good working order and consider energy-efficient LED bulbs to reduce electricity costs.

Promote safe social media habits

It may be worth reminding tenants to be cautious about what they share on social media, especially regarding holiday plans or extended periods away from home. Public posts can inadvertently alert potential burglars to an empty property.

Regularly maintain and review security measures

Schedule regular inspections of the property’s security features to ensure everything works properly. This includes checking the integrity of locks, alarm systems and lighting. Also, review your security practices annually to incorporate new technology and address any emerging security challenges.

By implementing these steps, landlords can safeguard their properties and build a trusting relationship with their tenants, ensuring they feel secure and valued.

These measures protect the property and help maintain its desirability and value in the competitive rental market.

I'm here to help you with any rental property questions or concerns you have. Contact me today to find out more.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Understanding How Property Leases Work In Southampton

Understanding the various property tenures in Southampton is helpful for homebuyers in making informed decisions.

In a world where jargon often replaces plain talking, this article demystifies the terms freehold, leasehold and flying freehold.

It highlights the differences and implications they have regarding property ownership.


Freehold properties are the most straightforward type of ownership. Buying a freehold means you own the property and the land it stands on outright, without any time limit. It’s yours – forever, if that’s what you want. Freeholders have complete control over their property, subject to planning laws and other legal obligations. They are responsible for maintaining the property’s structure and grounds but have the freedom to make alterations without seeking permission from a landlord.


On the other hand, leasehold means purchasing the right to occupy land or a building for a set number of years. Leaseholds are common in flats and apartments and can range from short-term, like 60 years (approach with extreme caution), to long-term, over 999 years. Leaseholders own their property but not the land it stands on. They must pay ground rent to the freeholder and adhere to lease conditions, including restrictions on subletting, owning pets, or making structural changes. Leaseholders also face additional expenses, such as service charges for maintenance of common areas.

Share of freehold

This type of ownership is commonly found with apartment buildings or homes that have been divided into flats. Share of freehold means you own the leasehold of your property, and also a freehold share of the building in which your home is located and the land it sits on.

Flying freehold is a less common and more complex type of property interest that occurs when part of a freehold property extends over or under another freehold property. This can happen in buildings divided into multiple dwellings, where one owner’s bedroom might lie directly above another’s living room. Flying freeholds often involves legal complexities because the overlapping parts may not be covered by the main property deeds, leading to potential disputes over repair and maintenance responsibilities.

When considering a property purchase, you must understand which type of ownership you are buying into.

In short, freeholds offer more control and fewer ongoing costs but are typically more expensive. Leaseholds may be initially cheaper but come with ongoing charges and potential restrictions. Flying freeholds require careful legal examination due to their unique complications.

Awareness of these distinctions will help you be better equipped to choose a property that fits your long-term goals and financial plans.

Contact me today if you have any questions about anything discussed in this article.

Monday 20 May 2024

Making Sense Of The Southampton Property Market's £319 Per Square Foot Value

Southampton, a vibrant city with a diverse property market, offers countless opportunities for homeowners seeking their next home. However, navigating this landscape requires a strategic approach to avoid common pitfalls. If you’re a current Southampton homeowner weighing up your options for a potential move, this guide will shed light on some key factors to consider.

The Diverse Landscape Of Southampton Properties

Southampton boasts an array of properties varying in age, size, and style, which means there’s something for everyone. Some homebuyers prefer newly built homes for convenience and low maintenance, while others opt for established homes. These older homes offer more space for your money and sometimes renovation potential.

However, this diversity makes it crucial to look beyond surface-level data to understand a property’s value truly. Other distinctions that impact a property’s value include location, layout, bedrooms, condition, and unique features.

A prime example is the disparity in price per square foot among properties across the town.

Currently, the average Southampton property is on the market at £319 per square foot

Yet, this only tells half the story.

The problem with averages is they hide the outliers and exceptions. Outliers/exceptions are the statistics and numbers that go far outside the average value of a group of statistics, yet they are where the magic happens.

Therefore, I suggest we look at the ‘central 80% range’ instead of just the average. This is, in essence, the core 80% cut of the stats, thus excluding the top and bottom 10% of stats. Consequently, looking at the ‘central 80% range’ for Southampton …

80% of properties currently for sale in Southampton are between £239 per square foot to £412 per square foot

This broad range highlights the importance of not relying solely on square footage averages when valuing your next home.

Another example is bedrooms. Typically, a 4-bedroom home is expected to be valued higher than a 3-bedroom home, and this generally holds true. However, there is some overlap between their price ranges.

In Southampton, the average asking price of a 3-bedroom home is £324,000, compared to £478,000 for a 4-bedroom home

Everything is in order there, as would be expected.

Yet when examining the ‘central 80% range’ – the prices for 3-bedroom homes in Southampton fall between £260,000 and £450,000. Meanwhile, the ‘central 80% range’ for 4-bedroom homes spans from £290,000 to £700,000.

As you can see, there is quite an overlap!

Finding the Right Balance: Practicality vs. Emotional Connection

When considering your next Southampton property, it’s important to strike a balance between practicality and the stuff you can’t measure with a statistic – i.e., the emotional appeal.

On the practical side, you could create a list of essential features – such as desired neighbourhoods, reception rooms, layout, garden size, and local amenities – to help you prioritise properties that meet your needs. For instance, proximity to good primary schools will be vital if you plan to start a family or already have children. Similarly, desirable features like south-facing patios and gardens, modern kitchens, and open floor plans can significantly impact your enjoyment of the home.

On the practical side, evaluate the duration of your stay in the new property. Most homeowners of smaller to medium-sized Southampton homes move every five to six years, so considering the marketability of your home when it’s time to sell is crucial. An area with convenient transport links, a vibrant local community, and proximity to shops or leisure facilities will appeal to future buyers.

However, your personal ‘emotional connection’ to a property should not be overlooked. The feeling you get when you walk through the door, the view from the kitchen, and the unique atmosphere of each home influence long-term satisfaction and value. The blend of rationality and emotional resonance will ultimately guide you toward a decision that reflects your aspirations.

Recognising Hidden Costs and Potential Returns

When moving into a new property, it’s essential to factor in hidden costs like Stamp Duty, legal fees, surveys, and mortgage arrangement fees. You should also be mindful of the maintenance costs, renovation expenses, and unexpected repairs that can arise, especially with older properties.

Conversely, consider the potential for returns if you invest in upgrades or improvements. A well-thought-out renovation could significantly increase the value and desirability of your home, providing excellent returns if you decide to sell. However, assessing the cost-benefit ratio before embarking on a project is essential, as over-investing might not always yield a profitable return (again, I can advise on that).

Ready for Your Next Move?

In conclusion, finding your ideal Southampton property involves much more than crunching numbers. Your decision should reflect a careful blend of practicality and emotional resonance with the home, all while understanding market conditions.

If you are considering a move and would like expert advice on your property’s value or the current Southampton property market, don’t hesitate to reach out.

I’d be delighted to help you assess your options and guide you toward making an informed decision that aligns with your aspirations. Your dream property awaits, and I’m here to help you find it.

Five Factors To Consider When Setting Rent In Southampton

Setting the correct rental price for your property is essential to attract the best tenants and maximise the return on your investment.

Too high, and you won’t get that all-important awareness and interest.

Too low, and you’ll be out of pocket.

Here are five key considerations every landlord should keep in mind when setting the rent for their rental property.

Market research: Before setting your rent, make sure you understand the local rental market in your area. Look at similar properties in terms of size, location and amenities to gauge an appropriate price range. Search online property portals and consult with local letting agents for a comprehensive view of the rental landscape. We can help you understand this.

Property condition: The state of your property significantly influences how much rent you can charge. A well-maintained property with modern fixtures and high-quality fittings can command higher rent. Regular updates, such as fresh paint, new appliances and maintained gardens, enhance appeal and justify a premium price point.

Local amenities and connectivity: Proximity to key amenities such as public transport links, supermarkets, schools, hospitals and leisure facilities can allow you to set a higher rent. Properties that offer convenience are highly sought after, and emphasising these features in your rental advertisements can attract more interest. Again, we can help with this.

Economic conditions: Be aware of the broader economic environment, including employment rates, the general cost of living and average income levels in your area. Economic downturns or job scarcity can affect people’s ability to afford higher rents, so adjusting expectations in response to economic shifts may be necessary to keep your property occupied.

Legal requirements and tax implications: It’s important that you understand the legal landscape. Ensure compliance with national and local laws (many councils have landlord licensing schemes) to avoid legal issues. Additionally, consider the tax implications of your rental income and seek advice from a financial adviser to understand your responsibilities and optimise your tax position.

Remember, overpricing can lead to prolonged vacancies, while underpricing might affect profitability.

Working with an experienced letting agent can take much of the stress and strain from your shoulders as they’ll know the ideal price bracket for your property’s monthly rent.

Contact me today to learn more about how I can help you.

Friday 17 May 2024

Celebrate Local History Month By Discovering Southampton's Past

 May is Local History Month, making it an ideal time to dive into the history of our area.

Researching local history increases our understanding of our surroundings, strengthens community ties and gives people an appreciation of our heritage.

Here are five tips to help you get started if you’re finding out more about our area’s past.

Visit your local library: Libraries are treasure troves of historical data, including old newspapers, property records, maps and photographs. Many libraries also have sections dedicated to local history, curated by knowledgeable staff who can guide your research.

Talk to local historians: Connecting with local history enthusiasts or societies can provide invaluable insights you won’t find in books. These individuals often have undocumented knowledge and stories that bring the past vividly to life. A quick Google search should come up with some options.

Explore local archives: Local councils often have archives containing old documents, planning records and council minutes. These can give you a unique glimpse into the historical events and decisions that shaped our area.

Participate in local history talks and walks: Many areas host historical talks and walking tours, especially during Local History Month. These events are significant for seeing historical sites first-hand and learning from experts.

Use online resources: Websites like British History Online and local genealogy sites can offer a plethora of information about our town’s past, from ancient times to modern history.

The big benefits of researching local history

Cultural appreciation: Understanding the history of our town can give you a profound sense of place and identity, linking you with the past inhabitants and their achievements.

Community engagement: Sharing historical findings can engender a sense of pride and unity among local residents, encouraging community-driven conservation and education projects.

Educational value: For families, local history research can be an educational tool, teaching children about their heritage and the importance of preservation.

Personal connection: Discovering the history of your home or street can create a personal connection to your living space, adding a new layer of meaning to your everyday environment.

At Belvoir Southampton, we’re proud to be a tiny part of Southampton’s history.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

How Do First-Time Buyers In Southampton Compare With The Rest Of The World?

 Getting on the housing ladder in the UK is no easy feat, with property prices and inflation meaning it can take first-time buyers (FTBs) years to save the deposit for their first home.

As a result, the average age of an FTB in this country has risen to 34*. For context, it was 29 in 1981.

So, how does this compare to other countries? Are FTBs in Spain, South Africa or Switzerland older or younger**? Let’s take a look.


The land of luxury watches, decadent chocolates and yodelling has another claim to fame: its FTBs are the oldest in the world.

Property is expensive in Switzerland, with the average house costing 1.2 million francs*** (equivalent to just over a million pounds). As a result, the average age for a Swiss FTB is 48.

High property prices and the legal requirement for a 20% deposit mean many people rent. Only 36% of the Swiss population owns their home, compared to 65% in the UK.

The rest of Europe

Belgium has the youngest FTBs in Europe (average age 27), followed by France and Austria (31), Germany (34), Romania (36) and Spain (41).

Interestingly, as in Switzerland, many Germans never buy a home. Less than half of the population are owner-occupiers, a statistic attributed to high transaction taxes, positive attitudes towards renting and a strong social housing sector.

Australia and New Zealand

Aussies tend to be obsessed with real estate, especially in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, where property prices (which have boomed over the past decade) are a popular topic of conversation.

First-timers get on the ladder around the age of 36, often helped along by the generosity of the Bank of Mum and Dad. The average age for their Kiwi neighbours to buy their first home is 35.

Africa and North America

The average age of FTBs in South Africa and Kenya is 35, and in Nigeria, it’s 40. Looking across the pond, in the US, the average age of newcomers to the property market is 33, while in Canada, it’s 36.

Looking to turn your dream of buying your first home into a reality? Get in touch.

I'm here to help – contact me today.

*Source: Coventry Building Society


***Source: Rigby AG.

Monday 13 May 2024

The Biggest Challenge Facing Southampton Landlords Today – And How To Tackle It

 One issue, above all else, causes landlords sleepless nights. Can you guess what it is?

Could it be maintenance and repairs? Or maybe it’s worrying about the rent being paid on time?

If you answered one of the above, thanks for playing, but you’re mistaken.

The biggest challenge landlords currently face is abiding by government regulations.

In a recent survey*, 67.5% of landlords said complying with red tape was their most significant hurdle. (This figure was up from 39% the year before, a clear indication of growing concern about the issue.)

And when you think about it, is it any wonder?

There are more than 175 acts and regulations covering the private rental sector. 

These rules touch on everything from safety checks and managing deposits to energy performance ratings and inspections.

Failure to comply can result in fines, court appearances and, in extreme cases, jail.

In some circumstances, non-compliance can also be grounds for rejecting an application to evict a tenant. 

So, how can landlords manage this challenge and protect themselves and their investments?

Here are some tips to help landlords stay on the right side of the law.

Do your homework 

If you get something wrong, saying you didn’t know or understand the law just won’t cut it with the authorities. Educate yourself.

Have systems in place

Don’t freestyle it when it comes to annual gas or electricity checks, repairs and maintenance. Keep a schedule so you don’t miss any critical deadlines.

Be organised

If you end up in a dispute, you’ll need evidence to support your side of the story. Be thorough with your paper trail and, ideally, store records electronically.

Stay up to date

As well as understanding the current regulatory landscape, landlords must follow developments in the private rental sector in case new rules are introduced.

Seek professional help

An experienced letting agent will understand the rules and regulations inside out and be able to guide and advise landlords through the maze of red tape. They’ll also manage maintenance, safety checks and tenancies.

Isn’t it time you entrusted the management of your investment to a professional?

If you’d like to learn more about what we can do to help you, contact us today.

* Source: 2023 Property Redress Landlord Sentiment Survey, involving 2,700 landlords.

Thursday 9 May 2024

Is It A Southampton Buyers’ Or Sellers’ Property Market?

  Navigating the property market in Southampton? Understanding the current market dynamics is essential whether you’re looking to buy a dream home or sell a cherished property. Recent data reveals a fascinating surge in property transactions across the UK, with Southampton included in all this bustling activity.

As of April 2024, property sales and listings have increased significantly, indicating a robust market. Yet, what does this mean for you? Is Southampton a buyers’ market, favouring those looking to purchase, or a sellers’ market, giving an edge to those wishing to sell?

This article delves into the latest figures and trends, offering crucial insights and strategic advice for prospective buyers and sellers in Southampton. Read on to discover the opportunities in this dynamic property landscape and how you can best navigate it to your advantage.

Up to Sunday, 21st April 2024, the number of UK homes that went under offer (sold STC) was 10.3% higher than during the same period in 2023.

(377,217 home sales agreed on YTD in 2024 compared to 341,271 YTD in 2023)

Even more interesting when we compare the average of 2017/18/19 year to date (YTD) sales agreed figure of 351,027.

Every UK region has seen an increase in the number of properties selling (subject to contract). Yet what is more interesting is that the different regions of the UK property market have shown a remarkable uniformity in growth across the country for the YTD in 2024, signalling robust health and widespread confidence.  

Leading the charge, Inner London showcased a stellar rise of 21.09%, closely followed by Outer London at 20.47%, reinforcing the enduring appeal of the capital. East Anglia and the South East were not far behind, registering impressive gains of 19.65% and 19.48%, respectively, underscoring the continuous attractiveness of the South East. The Midlands, both East and West, also enjoyed substantial growth at 18.20% and 18.02%, indicating a resilient market presence. Up North, the North West at 17.70% and Yorkshire & Humber at 17.27% demonstrated significant upward movement, whilst the South West advanced with a respectable 16.11% increase.

The North East, Wales, Scotland, and Ulster presented growth figures of 14.74%, 14.00%, 12.43%, and 12.38%, respectively, suggesting a balanced expansion across the entire UK. Although most pronounced in London and the South East, the growth spectrum exhibits a promising scenario for the UK property sector, with the narrow gap between the highest and lowest growth regions illustrating a cohesive national uptrend.

In addition to increased property sales, the supply of UK properties on the market in April 2024 was 11.8% higher than in April 2023.

(654,913 properties for sale in April 2024 versus 585,741 for sale in April 2023)

This increase in the number of properties for sale is good news, as it gives buyers greater choice.

Even if you sell your property, there’s no guarantee that it will go through to exchange of contracts and completion. Thankfully, 2024 sale fall-throughs are at 22.5% of gross sales YTD, which is much lower than the 7-year average of 24.3%.

Net sales (house sales agreed less sale fall throughs) paint an even better picture, with a rise of 12.6% year on year.

(295,912 net sales YTD 21st April 2024 vs 262,871 net sales YTD 21st April 2023)

Prospective purchasers and vendors are witnessing a rise in confidence as mortgage rates, after climbing sharply last year, have begun to decline recently. Inflation stands at 3.8%, a steep fall from the 9.6% high of October 2022. Furthermore, average mortgage rates have settled, with many banks and building societies now offering decent rates. For example, at the time of writing, Nat West was offering a 5-year fixed rate of 4.37% for those with a 30% deposit, Virgin Money a 5-year fixed rate of 4.69% with a 10% deposit and the Leeds Building Society a 5.14% 5-years fixed for those with a 5% deposit.

Despite these positive signs, Southampton house price levels are expected to hold steady, with the market remaining buyer-friendly due to mortgage affordability issues.

The easing of mortgage costs (compared to the summer of 2023) has undoubtedly sparked renewed interest and dealings in the property market, particularly after a lull period in the second half of last year, when many considering a move put their plans on hold. This revitalisation is anticipated to boost the volume of homes sold, which had dipped to an 11-year low of just over one million in 2023.

Nevertheless, it’s unlikely this momentum will cause a marked rise in house prices in 2024, with the market maintaining a delicate equilibrium, in contrast to 2021’s full-on extreme sellers’ market.

Southampton homeowners planning to sell in 2024 may be buoyed by this uptick in market activity; however, they should temper their expectations as buyers remain keen on value, which could dampen the current pace of recovery in the property market. Caution is also advised due to the traditional hesitance seen in the property market during a general election year, with buyers and sellers often taking a more conservative approach as the election looms.

This is the time to be realistic with your pricing if you’regoing to put your Southampton home on the market.

So, what sort of market are we in?

The measurement of whether it’s a buyers’, balanced, or sellers’ market is based on the proportion of properties marked as “Sold STC” and “Under Offer” compared with the total number of properties on the market. For example, if there are 43 properties sold STC and 100 properties available/for sale, then 43 as a percentage of 100 is 43%.

This isn’t just a numbers game; it’s a gauge of market sentiment:

  • Extreme Buyers’ Market (0%-20%)
  • Buyers’ Market (21%-29%)
  • Balanced Market (30%-40%)
  • Sellers’ Market (41%-49%)
  • Hot Sellers’ Market (50%-59%)
  • Extreme Sellers’ Market (60%+)

The weight of these brackets can’t be overstated. They directly impact everything from listing prices to negotiation leverage.

Current Southampton Property Market Snapshot

To calculate Southampton’s property market’s current status, let’s incorporate our most recent findings for April 2024. The numbers and statistics have been taken from the website ‘The Advisory’, which has calculated the market state for many years. I am sharing them from the summer of 2018 to April 2024.

  • The Southampton postcode districts of SO14 to SO19 combined showed an extreme sellers’ market at 70% in the summer of 2022, which eased off towards the end of 2022.
  • Throughout 2023, the Southampton property market was in the early to mid 50% range (a hot sellers’ market). As expected, because of the seasonal nature of the property market, by February 2024, this had reduced a little to 51%.
  • Since February 2022, it has remained fairly steady and in April was at 52%. 

The Consequences And Thoughts For Southampton’s Property Market

This new data prompts me to take stock and ponder.

For Southampton sellers: We are transitioning into a market where sellers must be more strategic, flexible, and patient. It would help if you braced yourself for your home to be on the market for longer with an extended marketing period. Realistic pricing is even more vital than ever. Setting at the right price is crucial for attracting suitable buyers.

Why? Because your chances of selling your Southampton home have dropped in the last few years.

In the spring of 2022, 72.81% of Southampton homes that were on the market sold and completed. Since 1st January 2024, that figure has dropped to 55.69%.

Your marketing strategy is just as important. Employing tools such as video or virtual tours, targeted social media campaigns, or interactive property listings could be particularly beneficial in this more ‘normal’ market of 2024.

For Southampton buyers: Expect intense competition if you’re interested in highly sought-after types of properties. Securing mortgage pre-approval can put you ahead of other prospective buyers. Consider expanding your search area to discover potential deals that others may overlook. Conversely, in less competitive markets, Southampton buyers have more leverage to negotiate, from the offer price to inclusions like carpets, fixtures, and fittings. You will also have the luxury of choice and time with other homes.

Remember, four out of five sellers are also buyers, so what you may lose on the sale might be compensated for on the purchase.

External influences, such as global economic trends, inflation and interest rate repercussions, could all cast shadows on the Southampton property market. The election will undoubtedly affect the Southampton property market, as everything will go on ice in the three or four weeks before the election itself.

Final thoughts: As we progress into the fifth month of 2024, the Southampton property market presents challenges and opportunities for buyers and sellers. Understanding these market subtleties is crucial for anyone considering a move, from existing homeowners to seasoned buy-to-let investors, first-time buyers or those looking to relocate to Southampton.

Stay flexible, stay informed and remember that your home-moving experience is as much about the journey as the destination.

What are your thoughts on Southampton’s developing property market?

Do you anticipate any other shifts or trends in the Southampton property market? What are your local insights and experiences?

Wednesday 8 May 2024

The Home Improvement Projects That Will Impress Southampton Buyers The Most

When it comes to home improvements, it’s wise to think carefully before you splash the cash.

Homes renovated to a high standard attract more buyer interest and sell more quickly.

However, not all refurbishment works will bring you the same rate of return.

Buyers tend to pay particular attention to the condition of specific areas of a property, so it’s best to invest your time and money in these places.

Here’s a guide to some of the best-value home improvement projects, including some tips for those on a budget.

Revamp The Kitchen

Many people consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home, a place to entertain and socialise, as well as cook.

If you can’t justify the cost of a full-scale refurbishment, consider making a few changes to update the space.

Replace or paint tired-looking cupboards and install new work surfaces if the existing ones are chipped or marked.

Also, update the lighting. Most designers recommend multiple light sources, such as recessed ceiling lights (for a warm, ambient glow) and pendant lights to illuminate key areas.

Freshen Up The Bathroom

Deciding whether to refit a bathroom or opt for a mini makeover will depend on its age and condition.

A grim bathroom in an otherwise well-presented home can drag down the price buyers are willing to pay.

If you decide to remodel the bathroom, plan meticulously and pay attention to details such as the height of shower heads and the layout of tiles. Once the builders start work, things move quickly, and it’s difficult to make changes.

Also, stick to neutral colours; most buyers want a calm, clean-looking retreat.

If you decide on a smaller-scale revamp, address mouldy sealant, loose tiles and leaky taps.

Repaint dingy walls, replace the hardware on cupboard doors and re-grout the tiles. 

Update The Windows

Double-glazed windows will keep the noise out and, in winter, the heat in – a serious selling point for energy-conscious buyers.

Double glazing should also help keep down the cost of home insurance (because single-glazed windows are more likely to get damaged).

Before you commit to any changes, look at the windows of properties in the neighbouring area. Identify the styles that most suit your home’s character.

And Finally, A Few General Renovation Rules

  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a significant impact.
  • Renovations should be in keeping with the style and scale of your property.
  • Keep things neutral so you don’t alienate buyers.

If you’re planning renovations, contact us today at 023 8001 8222. We can advise as to whether the changes could add value to your home. 

Tuesday 7 May 2024

A Southampton Landlord’s Guide To A Dispute-Free Garden

Gardens can boost a rental property’s appeal, often making it more attractive to potential tenants – especially during May, as spring is here and summer is around the corner.

But, as beneficial as they may be, gardens can also be a source of friction between landlords and tenants, particularly when it comes to maintenance responsibilities.

To skilfully swerve such disputes, landlords should adopt a proactive approach.

Here are five straightforward strategies to help keep your garden an asset, not a liability.

Simplify Garden Designs

Choose garden designs that are both appealing and easy to maintain. Opt for plants that require minimal upkeep, such as perennial shrubs, to reduce the burden on tenants. Avoid planting species known for rapid growth or those that can become invasive, like bamboo. A more straightforward garden design means less room for disputes over maintenance and care.

First Impressions Count

Before a new tenant moves in, make sure the garden is in excellent condition. This sets a clear standard of how the garden should look and be maintained throughout the tenancy. Basic tasks like weeding, mowing the lawn and cleaning the gutters can make a significant difference in how the tenant perceives and cares for the garden.

Clarify Responsibilities In The Contract

Make sure you mark out garden maintenance responsibilities within the tenancy agreement. While tenants are typically expected to handle routine tasks such as lawn mowing and garden tidiness, landlords should take responsibility for structural garden maintenance, including fences and garden paths. By explicitly stating these responsibilities, you can prevent misunderstandings down the line.

Keep Detailed Records

Keeping thorough records of the garden’s condition when the tenant moves in can be invaluable for a landlord. Photographs and detailed descriptions in the check-in report can provide a clear benchmark for the garden’s required state throughout and at the end of the tenancy. This documentation can be used if any disputes arise.

Regular Inspections Are Important

Don’t neglect the garden during routine property inspections. If you observe issues, such as excessive weeds or accumulated rubbish, address them promptly with your tenant. Early intervention can prevent minor problems from escalating into major issues.

Landlords can use these strategies to minimise the potential for garden-related disputes and ensure their property remains attractive to current and prospective tenants.

Clear communication and setting expectations will help grow a harmonious tenancy.

Contact us today at 023 8001 8222 with anything you need to know about rental property in Southampton.

Wednesday 1 May 2024

In Or Out? Should You Be Present When Buyers View Your Southampton Property?

 So, you’ve prepped and primped your home, and it’s been photographed looking its very best.

Now you’re ready for the next step in the selling process – viewings.

This can be a make-or-break moment, where buyers fall in love and make an offer on the spot or run a mile.

So how can sellers ensure viewings run smoothly and that nothing they do or say deters a potential buyer?

Aside from the obvious things, like keeping your home clean and clutter-free (with no dirty underwear on show), most agents recommend that sellers go out for viewings.

This advice may seem counterintuitive. Surely, the owner knows more about the property than anyone else, so should be on hand to answer questions.

But based on our years of experience, we’d advise that owners (and their offspring and pets) are not present during viewings. Here’s why.

Awkward atmosphere

Viewings are an opportunity for buyers to visualise themselves living in the property. Having the owner present can be off-putting and make all parties feel uncomfortable.

Rush the process

If buyers feel uneasy, they may rush the viewing instead of taking the time to carefully consider the property’s merits and potential.

Leave it to the experts

Agents have years of experience managing viewings. They’ll have asked the buyers an array of questions to get to the nub of what they’re looking for and established a rapport with them.

Negotiating nous

Good agents are expert negotiators, adept at responding to cheeky or downright audacious offers. However, when put on the spot, anxious sellers can sometimes show their hand or say something unhelpful.

Candid feedback

After a viewing, an agent will ask the buyer for feedback. This can be a useful way to identify any niggles that need addressing. Buyers are less likely to be honest with the owner as they won’t want to appear rude.

Understanding the lie of the land

If buyers have questions about the history of the property or want details about refurbishment works, the agent can pass these questions on to the seller. This way, the seller’s expertise is utilised, just not during that first viewing.

If you’d like more professional advice about marketing your property, contact us today at 023 8001 8222.