What's ahead for the Norfolk property market in 2022?
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After a turbulent year, 2022 looks set to see a return to something approaching normality in the local property market, according to members of the Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents (NDAEA).
Chair of the association Jan Hÿtch, who is residential partner at Arnolds Keys, said: “2021 began with the country in lockdown once again, but the demand for property was still high, especially for those choosing Norfolk as their new county to become ‘home’.
“Estate agents were still classed as an exempted business, meaning that – with appropriate precautions and responsible procedures in place – the business of residential sales and lettings carried on. An extension to the Stamp Duty relief period sustained the race for buyers to complete their purchase with a reduced or zero Stamp Duty Land Tax bill. Ironically, the increase in property sales and subsequent surge in values had the effect of eroding some of the value of that tax saving.
“But despite this, demand continued and the inevitable ebb in the number of properties coming to market which became apparent in late September and October meant there have been multiple offers on most properties coming to market. This situation is beginning to ease now, as stock levels are just beginning to improve once again, and people are looking for advice on the run up towards Christmas on getting their homes ready to market in time for the New Year launch.”
Ben Rivett, joint head of residential sales at Savills Norfolk, agrees. He said: “Savills opened one of its research publications earlier this year by saying that 2021 was likely to be a ‘complex’ 12 months. Little did we know just how true a prediction that would prove.
“Record low mortgage rates and the demand for more space supported house price growth, while a range of Stamp Duty holidays also added more fuel to the fire. The UK’s prime regional markets in particular – broadly the top five to 10 per cent by value – have continued to see strong levels of price growth as the Covid-19 pandemic encouraged many affluent buyers to reassess where they wanted to live and what they wanted from their homes.
"This prompted many people to upsize or relocate. Well-priced properties have been selling quickly, especially those in the most sought-after locations such as the North Norfolk coastline and a few miles inland, along with well-connected rural houses elsewhere in the county.
“Our early data for the end of 2021 suggests that things have cooled slightly. Rising interest rates and the prospect of increased taxes may well gradually squeeze the spending power of wealthier households, leading to lower levels of house price growth as we move into 2022. However, longer term changes to people’s working patterns are still likely to underpin demand.”
So what can we look forward to in 2022? Jan Hÿtch believes the year will begin with a ‘resume play’ theme, with those coming to market in January finding a warm reception from waiting buyers who pressed the pause button over the Christmas period.
“Some sellers worry that because they only really see the properties selling that are launched on the portals, they may not be able to find somewhere if they put their home on the market and it sells quickly,” she said.
“But there are many more properties changing hands that never make it to the advertising arena; many agents are putting together deals just through their mailing lists alone. So don’t despair if you can’t see what you want on the portals, our agents will help you to find a property for you that is only coming on ‘under the radar’.”
As for the prospects for house prices, Ben Rivett suggests 2022 will see further gains. “Our researchers are expecting prices in the east of England to increase by three per cent in 2022,” he said. “The rise is slightly less than that forecast for the UK as a whole, while for the £1m+ market, prices are expected to increase by four per cent.
“This remains greater than the increases forecast for properties in London, while we still expect changes in working patterns to drive demand in more rural areas, albeit to a lesser degree than over the past 18 months. With a bit of luck, 2022 will be a less complex year than 2021. It will remain a seller’s market in the short term at least, however setting a realistic asking price from the start will be key to maintaining momentum as we head into the new year and beyond.”
David Hinton, sales manager at Brown & Co, agrees: “We at Brown&Co are not forecasting a ‘crash’ or property house price dive any time soon, although we do recognise the market is slowing slightly," he said.
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“We believe there will be a natural correction with house price growth steadying – but we still predict properties will increase in value in Norfolk by 3%-5% up to the end of 2022. The stamp duty holiday was, of course, a great incentive for buyers offering vast savings but it also put a lot of stress on all those involved in the house buying and selling process. It also affected values and created a big melting pot of activity which is now cooling.
“Whatever happens with the economy, Norfolk and Norwich lag behind other areas in the country and this county is seen to be good value against other locations. One of the issues is the scarcity factor; with a lack of supply, as not enough homes are built, demand remains high.
“We do urge people thinking of moving to do so sooner rather than later, however, to make the most of available lending on offer, and while the market is still seeing record prices achieved.
“Ultimately Norfolk continues to be a property hotspot; people want to move here because of the amazing city of Norwich, the Broads, wonderful beaches, rolling countryside and the value for money it offers.”
The message seems clear: with 2022 almost upon us, if you want to get in on the New Year surge, reach out to your estate agent in the next few weeks for advice on getting your home ready to market.
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