'Golden opportunity': Strong demand boosts north Norfolk property sales

House for sale and letting signs, blank for your design

Demand for homes on the north Norfolk coast has rocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic - so much so that estate agents are opening new branches and demand is far outstripping supply - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you’ve picked up a newspaper or caught the end of a news programme on TV or radio over the past few months, you’ll have heard the news that the property market is flying.

Covid-19 gave many people impetus to up sticks and move and this, combined with the extension to the Stamp Duty holiday – which was announced in the Chancellor’s spring budget at the beginning of March and means that, until June 30, buyers don’t have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on properties worth up to £500,000 – has only increased appetite.

After this date, and until the end of September, the threshold will be lowered to £250,000 and then to its usual rate of £125,000 from October 1. 

Of course there are other factors, too: the pent-up demand that is still being felt from the latter half of 2020, after Covid-19 restrictions saw the market stall, and the usual seasonal trends which cause many people to put their home on the market.

Low angle view of a little boy and his family walking the dog through the sand dunes.

The pandemic has made many people re-evaluate where they want to live, with places like the north Norfolk coast attracting those from cities like London - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Spring has long been established as a time for buying and selling property, often because buyers hope that it can all be sorted in time for the new school term and that Christmas can be spent celebrating in a new space with family and friends.

But because of the pandemic, and the, in some cases, permanent transition to working from home, there’s been another factor influencing people’s decision to move: the desire for more space. A Rightmove survey conducted last year showed that enquiries from city dwellers about village homes had risen by 126pc in June and July 2020, compared to figures from the same period in 2019.

The desire for more space has meant that places like Norfolk have become ever more popular. Higher house prices, commonly found in large cities and towns, typically means that if London sellers become Norfolk buyers, and look to smaller, quieter and more rural areas, they can get much more for their money. 

As well as space, north Norfolk is particularly well placed for its therapeutic benefits.

A view of Cromer. There has been strong demand for property along the north Norfolk coast as well as

North Norfolk towns like Cromer have long been associated with their therapeutic benefits - which has also held up during the Covid-19 pandemic, when north Norfolk experienced low transmission rates - Credit: Archant

In a column published in the Eastern Daily Press newspaper last week, Jan Hytch, residential partner at Arnolds Keys, and chairperson of the Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents, said: “Since Victorian times, the popularity of the coast and the healing properties of fresh air has drawn city dwellers, seeking the many health benefits for both mind and body.

"In those days, the seaside was the destination of choice for convalescence, summer holidays and, in some cases, retirement.

“However, the technological revolution of the last couple of decades has made it possible for people to live permanently in the most extreme locations of the country, and still perform as if they were sitting in their city office.”

High demand means that it’s very much a seller’s market at the moment. Figures released at the beginning of this month showed that, on average, there are 13 buyers for every house currently for sale, which is creating stiff competition for buyers but a good environment for those choosing to sell.

And sellers in areas such as Cromer might reap even more benefits, as a study published by Property Solvers earlier this year found that it took, on average, just 93 days to sell their home.

Sheringham (Norfolk, United Kingdom) beach huts by the sea

Sheringham, north Norfolk, where high demand is spurring Coast and Country Estate Agents to open a new office - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“With demand outstripping a modest supply of housing, the vast majority of newly listed homes for sale are being snapped up quickly, putting sellers in a strong position to negotiate and pick from the best buyers who are able to move quickly,” says Samantha Withers, founder and director of Coast and Country Estate Agents. In fact, demand has been so high that Coast and Country is expanding to open a new branch in Sheringham. 

“Unbalanced supply and demand has created the best seller’s market in years and with an abundance of buyers looking to relocate and move house in this ‘Covid-era’, our home owners on the north Norfolk coast are certainly feeling the benefit,” says Samantha.

“We are currently seeing an array of buyers in different situations, both those already living in Norfolk and others from out of the county, but one feedback we keep hearing time and time again from our buyers is that they are repeatedly missing out on properties due to the amount of competition, despite them being in good positions and offering asking price or above.”

One of the best things buyers can do, Samantha says, is to be decisive. “Be prepared to act quickly when informed about a new property, as getting in to view a property before it hits the open market will give buyers that head start and they stand a better chance with less competition through the door.”

Another good piece of advice is making sure you have as much organised as possible before viewing and offering a property. Having a solicitor organised and funds in place may also help in setting you apart from other buyers.

Clive Hedges, coastal property specialist for Arnolds Keys, based in Sheringham, says it’s not just family homes or relocations which are driving interest. “With staycations well and truly engrained in our vocabulary, more and more investors are buying properties suitable for holiday letting,” he says.

Young professional estate agent in white shirt smiling at a client while sitting at a desk

This year is a "golden opportunity to sell" says managing director of Minors & Brady, Jamie Minors - Credit: Minors & Brady

And Jamie Minors, managing director of Minors & Brady, which has branches across Norfolk and Suffolk, agrees. “With domestic holidays surging in popularity, hot spots like the north Norfolk coast have seen an increase in demand, due to the lucrative opportunities from Air BNB rentals and those buying second homes,” he says.

“There has never been a better time to sell, with stock levels at their lowest in years and strong     demand still pushing on, despite the Stamp Duty holiday ending soon. This year is a window of opportunity to sell, cash in on your asset or home and change your lifestyle.”

Weybourne, West Runton, Sheringham and Mundesley have all been identified as coastal hotspots, as well as more inland market towns, like Aylsham and Stalham, which are both within easy reach of the coast.