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2024 predictions for the West Country property market

Blinsham sits above the River Torridge and has wonderful gardens and grounds
Blinsham sits above the River Torridge and has wonderful gardens and grounds

I’m sitting down to write this, having spent the day dehorning calves. I love getting involved with the livestock as much as I can and it’s always good for me to take time away from the day job and help out on the farm. It provides me with a deep sense of contentment and, I think, both a connection to my roots and precious family time.

However, as well as the physical enjoyment of rolling up my sleeves and getting involved, it’s the rhythm and cyclical nature of the agricultural year that also appeals. I am a creature of habit and so whether it is the noise of the lambing sheds in spring, hearing the first combine of summer or picking autumnal blackberries for a Sunday lunch, I like to know where we are in the year by the work that’s being undertaken at the time. Of course, Mother Nature (and Government legislation) will occasionally throw a spanner in the works, but farmers plan ahead to work with the seasons and maximize every opportunity in front of them – and this appeals to a certain part of my organised brain!

The property market is also cyclical, especially in the more rural areas. As with farming, there will be unforeseen events that disrupt the cycle, Covid and last autumn’s mini budget being two recent examples, but my working year tends to follow a regular pattern.

So, what are we going to see in the 2024 property market?

The second half of 2023 saw a relatively muted market, with fewer transactions across the country than normal. In our office, we achieved what we set out to do, but the market was laboured and it was harder than it needed to be to get deals across the finish line. However, I am really looking forward to the New Year and feel there are good reasons to be upbeat.

In general terms, rural properties always look better in the spring when the leaves return to the trees and the mud has gone from the roads than they do in the dog days of an English winter. As we emerge from the depths of the cold we all start to feel better, more confident and more able to face whatever the year is going to throw our way – and this optimism generally appears in the property market as well. With the arrival of lambs in the fields and the first daffodils in gardens, the market stirs: new properties appear, there are new buyers in the market and so the cycle starts again, much like a farming year.

Living in the West Country, we inhabit the most glorious bubble and often forget about the wider world. However, if I peep out from under the covers, there are some financial reasons that could enhance the natural rhythm of the property cycle. Our analysts are telling me there is pent up demand building among buyers and sellers due to the reduced number of transactions in 2023. If it appears that inflation is being controlled and mortgage rates have settled, this backed up demand will then enhance the usual feel-good factor of the spring property market. To be clear, I am not predicting a post-Covid style rush, but a more normal seasonal upturn in activity levels. The increase could come early in the year and the first quarter of 2024 might be more interesting than normal, whether there is mud on the road or not!

At some point in the year, another cycle will end and the General Election will loom large over proceedings. Interestingly all parties currently seem keen to promote and protect the housing market and so the election might not have too much effect this time around, but this could also be wishful thinking!

Whatever the timing of the election, I think there will be a window to conduct good business in the first part of the year and I simply can’t wait to get going again!

There is so much we can do to help sellers and if you are remotely thinking of selling, I implore you to talk to us now so we can get you ready to take advantage of what could be unexpectedly favourable conditions.

One property I am particularly fascinated by is Blinsham, which we are marketing with a guide of £2million. It has the most wonderful gardens and grounds, as well as an extraordinary collection of rare, dwarf conifer trees, representing a lifetime’s work by the current owners. It sits in a commanding position above the River Torridge and it is rare to find a single property offering so much potential – suiting everything from an extremely private residence to something of a commercial nature and all bases in between! Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss it further.


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