Stuart Hensby, Associate Director of Sales & Marketing, Abri Homes, explains why Bristol is the place to be
As we move into 2022, one thing that continues to be evident is that Bristol is going to retain its status as Britain’s property hotspot.
Levels of demand are still high in the city and the latest figures from Nationwide’s House Price Index show that in the West region, the annual rise in the price of an average home was 11.5 per cent. This means the Bristol region experienced the highest increase of all the regions of England. In Bristol, the demand for housing is being evidenced by this continued surge in prices.
Abri, one of the largest housing providers in the South of England, has first-hand experience of this demand. We’re seeing that, due to the increasing costs associated with homes purchased on the open market, apartments and homes under the Government’s Shared Ownership option are becoming increasingly more sought after across Bristol, and we anticipate this interest will only increase.
What’s equally interesting is that the types of buyers exploring Shared Ownership are changing too. It’s not just first-time-buyers looking to get a foot on the property ladder, it’s also appealing to smaller families, single occupants and those looking to downsize.
The beauty of the market in Bristol though, is that there’s still a level of affordability that’s available to everyone if you look hard enough. Clearly there’s still a shortage of housing supply, but by bringing forward mixed-use, Shared Ownership developments – where community comes first – all types of buyer have the opportunity to invest in their preferred lifestyle and buy in to Bristol’s green spaces, sustainable technologies and local facilities.
For example, our developments at Shackleton Heights (Lockleaze) that launch in Spring and Castle Park View (City Centre) offer a series of new homes in thriving pockets of the Bristol area. Similarly, the Chocolate Factory, in the heart of Greenbank, had a total of 28 homes available under the Shared Ownership model and they sold out as soon as they came to market in late 2021. The demand is there, and there are plenty of reasons for it.
A thriving local economy
For a start, there’s regeneration happening at every turn of a corner in the city. New, stylish developments are coming forward, community spaces are being transformed and the idea of being part of this scene is appealing to more and more people.
What we’ll continue to witness here in the year ahead is pockets of Bristol flourishing and that knock-on effect rolling out across the region. Affordable properties, and the opportunity to be part of a dynamic culture, are the catalysts that bring people into Bristol and developers will need to take note of that if they want to ride the wave.
Interest in different types of property
Whether it’s a focus on the need (or not) for car parking spaces, the installation of electric vehicle charging points, or a renewed exploration of how people live, it’s evident that placemaking forms a central part of what makes Bristol such a hot market.
The type of house buyer in the region is changing too. And so an ideal home looks and offers different things to different people. Apartments and smaller starter units, scaling right up to multiple-bedroom houses are all prominent in the region – ticking different elements off of different customer’s wish-lists. Bristol’s vision as a green city means that shared green spaces, electric vehicle charging spaces, and renewable energy supplies are often a critical part of what people want in their new homes, both supporting existing local housing needs but also providing sustainable homes for the future.
As part of the development at The Chocolate Factory, for example, in addition to new homes, the regeneration opened up new space to the local community creating new pedestrian and cycle access to the Bristol & Bath Railway path. Castle Park View has responded to Bristol’s green agenda too, with homes on the development being heated by the nearby Castle Park Energy Centre. It is this type of added-value initiative that is driving the forward-thinking and progressive nature of the Bristol housing scene and really appealing to buyers as a result.
Changes in priorities for buyers
Of course, we can’t explore the future of the Bristol property market without acknowledging the impact that the pandemic has had on buyers’ outlooks. Undoubtedly, we’ve seen a shift in priorities for those looking to purchase a home – and one of those elements is the need for flexible space that facilitates a growing appetite for home-working. We know that remote working will be a permanent fixture for many, and so bringing properties to market that have the space to work but coupled with ability to spend time outdoors or in the city centre is now becoming more essential.
We’re also noticing more people relocating out of London and into Bristol, as well as the wider South West region. The appeal of being part of a smaller community is sky-rocketing, and this is pushing up the demand we saw at the end of 2021. This will continue to be the case in the year ahead too.
Ultimately, the desirability of a location is always going to be one of the main pulls for bringing in house buyers. And we know that Bristol has a lot of those pulls. The potential for further growth across the property market in 2022 is an exciting prospect for the region. Watch this space.