As local mortgage brokers and property experts in Barnstaple, Barr Financial bring you the latest property market insights and share with you what is happening in Barnstaple and North Devon. Let’s dive into the stats and see what’s been happening in your local market!
Barnstaple & North Devon Average Property Price
As of June 2019, the latest figures from the land registry show statistics up to February 2019. These figures reveal the average North Devon property price standing at £242,181. Interestingly looking at Property Insights the average property price across the whole of Devon ranges between £151,000 and £250,000, so North Devon is definitely at the higher end of this range. One quick caveat, we created Property Insights!
What does the future hold for North Devon & Barnstaple Property Prices?
Past performance should never be taken as an indication of what the future may hold, but looking at past trends can help shape informed decisions. As Barnstaple mortgage brokers and advisers, we know this well. Ultimately it’s hard to know what is going to happen in the future, but one thing I love about Property Insights is the predictive analysis of where the market is heading in the future! Our tech team have used a combination of big data sources and local expert opinion to model what they expect property prices to be doing in the next 6 months. You can also drill down to the postcode level and compare different postcodes (desktop only at the moment). So if you want to know what is happening in your area and get a sense of the future, this will help.
Looking at the last 5 years between February 2014 and February 2019 prices have risen 20.54%. In 2014 they stood at £200,920 compared to £242,181. The first impression might look like reasonable growth, but let’s see how this compares with other areas.
Of course, North Devon is largely made up of the Barnstaple property market and it’s interesting to compare this with the Torridge data, which is largely made up of the Bideford property market. The average property price in Torridge is standing at £231,444 compared to 5 years ago which was £185,288. This illustrates price growth in Torridge of 24.91% over the last 5 years.
Understanding why Torridge has outperformed North Devon
When looking at the facts over the last 5 years North Devon has grown 20.54% while Torridge has grown by 24.91% and has clearly outperformed the North Devon market. The question is why and is a little harder to answer. Facts are facts after all but understanding why is a little harder and a little speculative. As Barnstaple mortgage brokers we like to deal with facts, but we also have our opinion too!
One thing to always consider is that monthly figures do fluctuate and the sample taken is a snapshot in time and as each month passes the growth figures could look very different. However, based on the information and my knowledge of the area, my feeling is that Torridge wasn’t as popular as North Devon. This was primarily because there is more work and opportunity in Barnstaple than there is in Bideford and therefore house prices were generally lower. It meant Torridge had the greater opportunity to grow and catch up with it’s a more expensive neighbour.
Aside from prices, more and more people are discovering how great some places are in Torridge. You have some great villages surrounding Bideford such as Westward Ho!, Abbotsham, Northan, Littleham and plenty more! These surrounding areas are really popular and one, in particular, has seen huge growth and investment. You only have to look at Westward Ho! and how that has changed over such a short time. Westward Ho is absolutely booming and there is an incredible vibe about the place.
Of course, that is my opinion, but let’s see what some of the local property experts have to say:
Nic Chbat from Match property in Barnstaple:
“The Torridge area has always offered great value for money for buyers compared to the North Devon market as historically average prices in North Devon have been higher than Torridge overall. As the market over the last few years has been very ‘value’ sensitive with buyers being particularly savvy when it comes to value and pricing, Torridge has seen an uplift in popularity with buyers. As the demand for property in this area increases so will sale prices relative to other areas nearby. As Torridge has so much to offer from a lifestyle point of view it competes well with North Devon and is seen as more of an ‘up and coming’ area whereas North Devon is perceived as somewhat more established with overall pricing to match. There are many other factors at play but this has definitely had an obvious impact from our point of view”.
Will Brexit affect the Barnstaple Property market?
The short answer is yes and no. But before we look at the details, let’s put things in perspective; property prices in North Devon might not be shooting through the roof, but they are solid and North Devon will always be an attractive place to live and move to from outside the area.
So the question is who is it already affecting if it’s not house prices? Also let’s not forget Brexit hasn’t happened yet, but the uncertainty has been causing people to pause. So let’s call it pre-Brexit uncertainty, which has had an impact on certain aspects of the market, but not necessarily what you may think, which I’ll explain in a moment!
On a positive note, since the extension and kicking the can down the road, we have seen an uplift of activity and we sense people are fed up with putting their lives on pause. Of course, when Brexit finally happens, no one ultimately knows what this will look like! But I’ve said it before, the fundamentals are still solid in the lending markets and there is every likelihood we will see a Brexit bounce with activity and ultimately prices when all the pent up demand is finally released!
Who is being affected by pre-Brexit uncertainty?
So if property prices are still positive, who is being hit with the Pre-Brexit uncertainty? The truth is, our estate agent friends and mortgage brokers (like us) are feeling it. In fact, I’m sure transactions for solicitors must also be down too! Although we are fortunate to be dealing with a wide range of finance and not just acquisition (such as helping people to remortgage, borrow more, diversify into buy to let and much more) which is the agent’s bread and butter!
The pre-Brexit nervousness is delaying people making life-changing decisions. This is impacting the amount of stock on the market, and therefore the number of transactions for agents, solicitors and everyone else. People are waiting to find the right property before putting theirs on the market, but they can’t find the right property and so are not listing (so the cycle continues, chicken and egg scenario springs to mind!).
Is the pre-Brexit uncertainty to blame? Partly but not entirely! There is no doubt some people are on ‘hold’ until the dust has settled. However, I think there are other fundamental factors which are impacting our agent friends in the market and how much home moving mortgages we are doing. In the past, people moved house much more regularly than they do now. There are various stats and figures, and this has been written before from Ideal Home and the BBC pointing out these demographic shifts. But ultimately the question is why?
I think it’s quite simple really. The financial crisis in 2008 impacted more than just the economy, it changed how people could get a mortgage and how much they could borrow (restricting what they could do). Regulation has meant lending rules are much tighter than they were which is a good thing, but it has had an impact. It is now much harder for people to move up the property ladder than it ever has been in the past, and that’s having an impact on the amount of stock. People are choosing to stay put and not sell like they used to. Instead, they are choosing to stay put, maybe remortgage and extend and improve their properties. The bottom line is moving house is becoming harder and more expensive. Which means there aren’t as many properties on the market.
What should you do?
If you are serious about moving, get your house on the market. Remember, you don’t have to sell if you get an offer. And if you are using a Barnstaple agent who doesn’t charge you an upfront fee, but only on completion (when you sell), you’ve got nothing to lose! Getting on the market will put you in a better position if that ‘dream’ property comes up as you’ll be that much further forward, hopefully, you would have explored your mortgage options with an independent mortgage broker (like us) and you’ll know exactly what you can do. Don’t forget every mortgage company lends a different amount, so you might be surprised to find out what you can do.