Covid-19 Advice and FAQ

Open any newspaper or log on to any news website and you could be forgiven for thinking Britain should be bracing itself for a huge slump in the housing market. But look a little closer – is that really what is happening?

Britain’s biggest mortgage lender Halifax, for example, recently revealed that, in May, prices fell by just 0.2%. These are the first figures since the market was allowed to reopen, and indicate a slowdown in house price falls following the 0.6% price drops which were recorded in April.

The figures also mean that prices are still 2.6% up on the same month in 2019.  So although the average cost of a house dipped from £238,314 to £237,808, that’s still higher than a year ago.

Halifax boss Russell Galley said: “We expect market activity to increase progressively as restrictions are eased further across the UK. We continue to have confidence in the housing market’s underlying long-term health.” Meanwhile, one estate agent told journalists: “This May data has a reassuring whiff of confidence about it”.

At the same time, one of the UK’s biggest housebuilders, Taylor Wimpey, said viewing appointments had surged dramatically since they were allowed to be arranged in person, while two of the major online property portals have recorded strong levels of interest since the market reopened.

There are also anecdotal reports that, while many buyers may be pushing for discounts in the current circumstances, buyers are holding firm and sticking to their original asking prices.

The local picture

In East Sussex, according to one major online property portal, prices stood at an average of £377,754 in June 2020, showing no dip at all over the three months since March, and, in fact indicating a rise of 1.84% on this time last year.

For a flat, average price is £255,533, for a terraced house it’s £351,594.

How we can help

Neil Newstead, chief executive of leading independent agency Oakfield Estate Agents, says: “Clearly no one would describe the current situation as absolutely ideal, and there are bound to be some challenges whether you’re buying or selling, which is always the case anyway. However, we’re confident the market is a lot more buoyant than people realise.

We’re highly positive about the local picture in East Sussex in particular. So while the newspapers may have you believe it’s all gloom and doom for property at the moment, we’re not sure that accurately reflects the market here. We’d encourage anyone considering enhancing their quality of life by moving house not to be put off, and absolutely to just go for it.

Right now, of course, it’s also one of the best times of year to move house, and a time when we’re traditionally at our busiest. So we’re expecting that to be the case again in 2020.

At Oakfield, we cover the three areas of Hastings, Eastbourne and Bexhill, and have a branch in each town. We’ve seen a real increase in activity thus far, so are feeling very upbeat and positive, pandemic or not.

And while serious investors may want to consider holding off making any major decisions for now, if you see your dream home, one you can see your family living in for a long time, there really isn’t any point in hanging around.

Neil Newstead adds: “We fully understand if you’d prefer to buy later but sell now, and rent in between, especially if our area is new to you. We currently have large, varied number of available lets across Bexhill, Hastings and Eastbourne, ready to move into now, and are expecting business in this sector in particular to be brisk, for tenants and landlords alike.

Whether you’re interested in renting, buying, selling or letting in any of the areas we cover, we’d love to hear from you. At Oakfield, we offer access to huge numbers of properties, tenants, buyers or sellers across the towns in which we operate.

Our branches are fully staffed, open and we are carrying out valuations and viewings every day, that said during this period we have very strict guidelines in place to protect our team and clients and continue with our very popular video walk throughs.