Thursday 7 May 2020

£655m spent on property in Chichester in 2019

House, coins, pile, money spent on chichester property…£654,976,753 to be precise.

That was the huge amount of money spent on property in Chichester in 2019, according to recently released Land Registry data. Whilst that sounds like a lot, it’s actually around £100m less than was spent in 2018! That represents a significant drop of 13% and means the trend of declining transaction values has accelerated, having peaked at £758m in 2017.

The fall has come from both sides of the equation too; average property prices and the number of transactions are both down. It has to be said though that prices held up reasonably well, with the average sale price of £377,074 down just 2.2% compared to the record high average set in 2018 (£385,507).

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Yet again though, it is the number of properties selling that is really slowing down the market. With 1,737 properties changing hands in 2019, it marked the fifth year in a row whereby sales figures were down. In 2018 there had been 1,954 transactions, meaning last year saw an 11% drop. It’s also some 27% lower than the 2,376 sold in 2014; they year that saw the most properties sold since the credit crunch.

Bearing in mind an average of 2,525 properties were sold in Chichester each year between 2000-2007, it is clearly evident the fallout from the credit crunch is still rumbling on. Considering the number of new homes built in Chichester since then too, it is clear that we are far below the number of properties you would expect a healthy property market in Chichester to have changing hands.

With Covid-19 bringing the world to a halt, it seems pretty obvious that property sales will be down this year too. By how much remains to be seen; the enforced period inside our homes may lead to an increase in movement when things open for business again. The job market will also have an effect upon housing affordability and whether people need to move for work. There could be pent-up demand ready to burst into action when people are able to act….or everyone may just hunker down until the full aftermath and repercussions are understood.

Today there are 630 properties on the market in Chichester, with 195 showing as sold (subject to contract). This time last year there were 516 properties on the market, with 162 having been sold. There may be some hope from those figures then, although bear in mind a backlog will be building in those properties showing as sold, due to surveyors and conveyancers having largely downed tools during the lockdown period.

Last year when I did this same analysis, I suggested prices would start to flatten and the market was constraining in regards to availability and volume. I still think prices could go either way with the resilience, low interest rates and potential for high inflation in the mix, but it seems pretty clear to me that volume will be down yet again when the data is released in 12 months’ time in respect to 2020.

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