Shropshire Star

Shropshire estate agents share current thoughts on housing market

Estate agents in Shropshire say that demand for homes is holding up across the county and report seeing activity picking up in recent months.

Russell Griffin

According to a report, house prices in the region are on the rise – bucking a downward trend nationally.

New figures reveal that, in the West Midlands, they are up by 1.4 per cent compared to this time last year.

That compares to an average fall of 3.1 per cent year-on-year in March across the UK, marking the largest annual decline since July 2009.

Russell Griffin, Director of Samuel Wood Estate Agents in Shropshire, said it was good news that house prices in the West Midlands were still bucking national trends.

"Ultimately, Shropshire and many parts of the West Midlands are desirable places to live and offer a wealth of property housing styles from medieval to modern. People want to move here.

"And in contrast to some of the figures set out in the Nationwide Index, OnTheMarket released its March Property Sentiment Index, which asks sellers across the UK how confident they feel about selling their home in order to provide a 'temperature check', and 71% of buyers in the West Midlands said they were confident they would purchase a home within the next three months. This is social proofing of a large group.

"All agents across Shropshire and the West Midlands are amending their prices to fit the changing housing landscape. The frenzied activity of post covid has gone and the market has normalised, generally, it's still a very strong market here and we are seeing house prices stay steady in the region. Many agents will say, myself included, that the market is defying the critics right now."

Caroline Vernon, senior sales negotiator for Miller Evans Shrewsbury, said: “House prices do, I think, hold up better here in Shrewsbury compared to the rest of the country. And what happens here doesn’t reflect what tends to be said nationally. Prices have perhaps come down a little bit but not by generally a lot.”

“Houses are coming on at the same prices but might sometimes go for a little lower whereas before it might have been more. It continues to be a popular area with homes keeping their value, that’s the trend we find.”

David Miller, partner at Miller Evans, added: “Activity picked up throughout February and we anticipate a busy spring market just around the corner.”

Caroline Eaton, director of Berriman Eaton, which has an office at Bridgnorth, said: “Houses prices are stabilised and buyers are more likely to offer the lower guide price now than over.

“It’s the four-bedroom family homes that have been more significantly hit in their demand. It’s more the house type than a blanket fall in house prices across the board. But the key is that the demand remains bigger than the supply so I am forecasting a good year again. “We have had a good first quarter and March has been a strong month.”

Peter Daborn

Reflecting on the housing picture as a whole, Peter Daborn, head of residential sales for Savills in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Mid Wales, said: “While the housing market throughout the region has slowed a little in terms of activity, the level of demand for people looking to move is still very much there.

“It is fair to say the current market, going on the first couple of months of this year, is a needs-based one although, that said, many of the offers we have seen year-to-date have been lifestyle-orientated decisions based on the right house and buyers being in strong positions.

“This slowing is largely a consequence of the challenging mortgage environment and the effect this has had, and is having, on people’s budgets. However, with mortgage rates falling, we anticipate that activity will pick up across the whole of the housing market.”

“Higher Loan-to-Value (LTV) products have been slower to recover, posing challenges for buyers with small deposits such as first-time buyers, particularly in the absence of Help to Buy.

“However those buyers with higher levels of capital, typically operating in the £750,000 market and above, are less constrained by affordability and this section of the market throughout Shropshire, Staffordshire and Mid Wales isn’t as affected, with a good mix of properties coming to market and going under offer at the higher price points.”

“It is somewhat unsurprising, against the backdrop of higher interest rates and increased costs of living, that we are seeing a lot more buyers paying far more consideration to their home’s running costs than they perhaps were previously. This was exemplified by a high value new build with low running costs going under offer after proving very popular among interested buyers.

“The ripple effect this has caused, and one which aligns with our expectations, is that values may fall further throughout the year as affordability remains constrained.

“However, the value gap between Shropshire, Staffordshire and the wider commuter markets will leave greater capacity for growth and, as such, we expect to be one of the strongest performing regions over the five years to 2027 which is why are retaining a positive outlook over the longer term.”

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