Whether you’re buying, selling or renting a house or flat in Bristol, I’m sure, like me, you have a few tales to tell on the process.
We moved here from London. Trying to buy a house ‘long distance’ in Bristol is very hard. Our buying story ended when my husband, who was working in Bristol during the week, got a taxi up the Wells Rd to meet our estate agent at a house to sneak in here whilst she took the pictures to go on Rightmove. He showed me round on video chat and we put in an offer before it was seen by lots of other buyers. We were lucky. Most houses on our street are selling within a couple of days, regardless of size or condition.
Most snatches of other parents’ playground, bus queue, supermarket or street conversations I hear involve the Bristol housing market. It’s flaming hot out there! So when I was asked to talk about Knight Frank’s ‘An Honest Answer from an Estate Agent’ campaign, I thought it would be a good idea. An honest answer is a series of panel-style conversations covering general topics on buying and selling houses and offering plain speaking advice on some of the terms and procedures involved. The advice is applicable to all of us buyers and sellers, regardless of budget or location.
I wanted to make this as useful as possible to anyone buying or selling a house in Bristol, so I gave the manager of Knight Frank here, James Toogood, a call, and asked him a few questions about the market. Here’s what he had to say.
Who’s in control of the Bristol housing market?
In the last six months, it’s the vendor in control here in Bristol and the surrounding areas. There’s so much confidence that a house will sell. In terms of supply and demand, it’s not the shortest supply I’ve ever known, but it’s the shortest for about five years. Supply is short because although there are properties available, most are going under offer so quickly that the pool of actually ‘on the market’ homes is remaining small.
What does Bristol have more of, vendors or buyers?
Buyers – by a large margin. Just in our office alone, since the start of April this year, buyer numbers have increased by 60%. In fact, if I look at my books, I have 100% more applicants for houses than I did this time last year.
Where’s the fastest moving area in Bristol?
Again, going by our experience, if you are after a city centre/Harbourside development flat, or a family house in Cotham or Redland, you’ll have to move fast.
Who is moving into Bristol?
It used to be a very local, regional buyers market in Bristol, but not anymore. We’ve seen a big increase in people moving here from the South East and London, after a slightly more affordable home, and the diversity and amazing lifestyle that Bristol has. We’re also seeing an increase in British ex-pats moving to Bristol after some time living abroad, maybe choosing to come here rather than go back to the city they left.
Who’s moving out?
Well, this is the thing, nobody, really. People of all ages and circumstance come here and stay here. There’s lots of people moving in and around the city – downsizing from a large property in one area to another smaller one in the same – we see that a lot in Clifton, or families moving to a larger home in the same area to stay nearer their schools, in places like Horfield and Southville.
What’s controlling the purchasing decisions?
I’d love to tell you it was an immaculate kitchen or a downstairs bathroom, but in Bristol it’s the things about a property that are hardest to change – location, parking, outside space and proximity to schools. Areas like Bishopston, Bedminster and Southville, where the facilities like pubs, cafes, galleries and play cafes just keep getting better, are driving up their own desirability. People crave parking and outdoor space for kids and garden living. And you don’t have to tell most parents about the importance of being near a good, suitable school in Bristol.
People are starting to think about Bristol’s transport system more, especially the electrification of the trainline to London, which will take a chunk of time off the journey and make it more viable in terms of commute. For that reason, places like Yatton, where you come easily into Temple Meads to go out again, are seeing an upswing, as is the city centre and parts of South Bristol that are in walking distance to the station.
You’ve got a £250k budget and one small child, what would you buy right now?
A garden flat in Westbury Park
You’ve got £350k budget and two children, what would you buy right now?
A house in Gloucester Rd, St Andrews, Clifton Wood or Knowle.
Thanks to James for his very honest answers !
Knight Frank have given me a moving in hamper to give away this week, containing everything you might need to celebrate your new home, including a bottle of bubbly, chocolates and some first few day essentials. To win, leave me a comment about your experience of buying or selling a house in Bristol that you think would be helpful to others.
To give you some food for thought, here’s one of Knight Frank’s honest answer videos, on the subject of Gazumping
**I received no payment for this post