House buyers continue to struggle as demand outpaces supply
- Credit: Archant
Demand for homes in Suffolk and Essex is still outstripping supply – which is leaving potential buyers stuck and driving house prices up, experts have said.
A desire for people to move from cities to the countryside and coast since the Covid-19 pandemic has seen the number of buyers regularly outpacing supply - with a significant number looking for large family homes across the two counties.
House prices are also continuing to increase, particularly at the top end of the market, despite a cost-of-living squeeze, interest rate rises and a war in Ukraine.
According to latest analysis compiled by Savills, prices at the higher end of the market (broadly the top five to 10% by value) increased by 9.4% in Suffolk in the 12 months to the end of March this year and by 1.7% in the last quarter.
In mid to north Essex, which includes Chelmsford and its surrounds, the figure sits at 6.1 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.
Peter Ogilvie, who leads the residential sales team at Savills Suffolk, said there are still multiple buyers for every home that comes onto the market.
“The lifestyle factors that have driven the market for the last two years or so continue to motivate buyers," he said.
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"Demand is still outpacing supply and homes simply can’t come onto the market quick enough. Activity is perhaps not quite as frenzied as it has been, but for every home on the market there are still multiple buyers trying to get an offer in – leading to some significant increases in house prices.
"That’s especially true for those properties in the most desirable areas of the county such as Woodbridge, Aldeburgh, Southwold and surrounding villages, as well as further inland such as Framlingham, around Bury St Edmunds and the Dedham Vale.
"Although the seasonality of the property market has been turned on its head for the past two years, spring remains one of our busiest times and we are now starting to see more properties come to market.
"However, there is still a strong core of unmet demand – particularly at the top end – so we are expecting to see moderate price growth despite a challenging economic background.”
The picture is similar in Essex, with potential buyers now looking further away from London as they are now going into the office fewer times as week since the pandemic.
Karl Manning, head of residential sales at Savills Essex, said: “There is still a significant pool of buyers who are looking for large, family homes with plenty of space in well-connected towns and villages in close proximity to the countryside or coast.
“This is illustrated by the number of buyers registering with us having significantly increased since the start of the pandemic.
"These are people who before Covid perhaps avoided a longer commute but which is now bearable because it’s only one or two days a week.
"Locations around Chelmsford and key commuter towns on the London mainline have always been popular, but people are now looking at other areas of the county that perhaps weren’t previously on their radar – Tendring and West Essex being two obvious examples.
"These fairly resilient levels of demand are likely to continue to be the overriding driver of house prices as we head into the rest of the year, with activity levels remaining more robust in higher price bands where more affluent buyers have more housing equity to fall back on.”