Peak Performance

Have we seen the peak for the Surrey property market?


Exceptional Estate Agents

Apr 9, 2022

Not only the most expensive but probably the most popular too, Surrey is London’s favourite Home County. The property market here has been on the boil for a while. From the mansions around Weybridge, to the second step terraces of Guildford and Dorking, the county has almost every kind of property. And just like the rest of the country, it’s been a tumultuous couple of years. As people sought more space, cramped Londoners dwellers (in the case of Surrey, that means Londoners) made moves to more rural and coastal areas, inflating house prices and even bringing back the dark art of gazumping on some occasions. And that search for space isn’t going away, particularly for those towards the bottom of the property ladder. A recent report from Zoopla found that more than eight in ten (83%) homeowners under 25 say they are currently having to compromise with their living spaces. In January it was reported that 41% of British homeowners changed their homes during the pandemic, sacrificing 8.8m bedrooms in the process to make way for home offices. 

Demand for property in the UK jumped by 49% in January, the biggest New Year bounce for five years. February was busier still with Rightmove reporting that new seller asking prices hit a record average high of £348,804. This was a jump of 2.3% in a month and the biggest jump in cash terms ever recorded by Rightmove in the last 20 years of reporting. Record demand was recorded for all property types, as buyers searched for both houses and flats, according to Zoopla’s latest House Price Index. Prices in the South East are up 7.7% from March last year.

Meanwhile prices in the prime area of Surrey Hills are cooling, recording a minor increase of 0.8% this year after jumping a massive 13% from March 2020 to March 2021 during the pandemic. With the average price of a home now almost £520k almost twice the national average. A newish trend is for city dwellers who escaped the city too quickly and found themselves a bit far from some of the amenities they need. This has led many people to make the decision to either move back to London, or, more commonly, find a charming bit of middle ground that happens to have fast trains to London. As the final restrictions ended in England, and businesses started asking staff back to the office on a full and part-time basis, London recorded the biggest jump in enquiries of any region (+24%), a new price record, and its highest annual rate of price growth since 2016. “High demand and a shortage of available stock are supporting a rise in prices and a new record average asking price this month,” says Tim Bannister Rightmove’s Director of Property Data in a report earlier this year. “The rising cost of living is undoubtedly affecting many people’s finances, especially those trying to save up enough for a deposit to get on the ladder or to trade up. However, despite rising costs and rising interest rates, the data right now shows demand rising across the whole of Great Britain, with many people determined to move as we head into the spring home-moving season.” 

Meanwhile the conflict in Ukraine will undoubtably effect prices across the UK including Surrey which is driven a good extent by London buyers. To what extent though, is yet to be revealed. Reportably some Russian businessmen have already off-loaded some of their real estate. It’s hard to see how the demand for property will continue at this rate whilst the current climate unravels. It’s likely would-be buyers may start to get skittish in bidding wars whilst there is another more real war going on not so far away. That said the South East is a most popular place to park your capital when the seas get choppy.  Not to mention that old problem of lack of supply that doesn’t seem to go away.

It seems that buyers are still flush with deposits from cash saved during Covid restrictions. Meanwhile sellers have been spending on their properties and aren’t prepared to let them go at a discount. According to Zoopla British Homeowners spent over £36.5Bn changing their homes during the pandemic. So for the time being demand is high and sellers are very much still in the driving seat.

Read more and see the whole Surrey edition of our Newspaper here: