A REPORT by property website Zoopla said the UK housing market was unlikely to be severely impacted by the recent spate of bad weather — or in fact any subsequent spells.
This sentiment was echoed by many of the estate agents in Henley and the surrounding area.
Guy Symons of Ballards in Hart Street, Henley said: “The consequences of the recent rainfall and subsequent flooding have been terrible to see and I sincerely hope that the floods subside in the very near future allowing those affected to return to normality.
“Throughout the opening weeks of 2014 we have seen a steady surge in interest in the housing market despite the weather. In turn, a high number of sales have followed. Our figures show an increase of more than 300 per cent when comparing the number of properties sold in January 2013 to January 2014.
“To support the above we are continuing to see an increase in the number of applicants registering who are in a ‘proceedable’ buying position. The increase in demand coupled with a continuing shortage of stock is driving prices and has resulted in properties achieving in excess of the guide price, with purchasers willing to offer the vendors extra security of non-refundable deposits at the offer stage.
“While demand continues to outstrip supply in the market place we are confident that the trend so far this year will continue, despite the weather.”
Paul O’Loughlin, sales manager at Warmingham in Goring, added: “Bizarrely we haven’t actually noticed a general downfall in viewings or new properties coming to the market. If anything we are experiencing higher than average sales and new instructions for the time of the year by quite a long way.”
James Butler, senior sales manager at Hamptons in Hart Street, Henley, said that there had not appeared to have been any slow down due to the weather: “We are fortunate not to have any affected properties and in fact it is a perfect time to realise where properties are not at flood risk.”
And Victoria Gray, branch lettings manager added: “In terms of lettings we have seen a slight increase in enquiries due to flooded property but again a positive start to the year with regular new instructions and enthusiasm for the new lettings department.”
Nick Warner of Savills in Bell Street, Henley, said: “I do think the poor weather, and obviously the flooding locally which will have had an impact on traffic movements to some extent, may have discouraged some buyers — but we have agreed one sale on a riverside property at a bigger price even though the property is partially flooded!”
And Savills PR manager Julia Cook added: “The lettings market hasn’t been unduly affected — we have had two delayed move-ins but nothing more. Demand is still as strong as ever, illustrating, perhaps, that the beauty of the surrounding countryside, convenience of all the amenities within Henley town centre and, of course, its proximity to London and Heathrow, mean it will always be an attractive place to live for many — especially those moving out of central London.”
Richard Beville from Beville Estate Agency commented: “The bad weather may be delaying some properties coming on to the market, however those that are on the market are selling quickly, for top prices. The market is ‘hot’ and it’s the best time to sell in the last seven years.”
With the dreadful weather and flooding having a major impact on everyday lives and businesses in the Thames Valley, Standard property correspondent JACKY HAYLER spoke to a number of estate agents from the Henely area to gauge the effects on the local property market.