Sophie Newberry, Sales Negotiator, commented that “2016 was a particularly peculiar year, for both sellers and buyers, it simply felt like a rollercoaster! To start the year off, between the months of January and March, properties achieved record prices and were selling in not only days, but hours. New properties were marketed and within seconds of being listed, we received large volumes of calls looking to book a viewing. These were then followed by numerous offers, both for and above the asking price, often ending in a bidding war.
Then, very abruptly, during the six month period from April through to October, we felt the double impact of both the increase in Stamp Duty and Brexit. This led to uncertainty, resulting in a subsequent dip in the number of viewings, offers and sales and a lag in the market.
Although it was believed that Brexit would have a direct impact on selling prices, with some figures quoting an expected decrease of up to 18%, we found that although buyers tried to renegotiate with vendors, ultimately, properties still went for the asking price. We put this down to the fact that whilst the number of viewings on properties were down, the people who were looking, were in fact serious purchasers.
We didn’t notice a marked improvement in the market, until November, when we saw a return to lots of enquiries and sales from both first time buyers and Buy to Let landlords. Then, in December, traditionally a quieter month due to the Christmas period, it was in fact much busier than the previous six months.
We are very pleased to see that 2017 has started off extremely promising. Within the first two weeks of the year, property sales have already surpassed those experienced between April and June last year.
Watford continues to have a growing appeal to buyers, with its good commuter links (both on the train and with its proximity to the M1 and M25), the fantastic primary and secondary schools in the area and the money that is being invested in improving the town centre, commuter links and park areas.
We feel that now is a great time to buy and sell in Watford and are hopeful that the year will continue in this way.”