Looking back at the Chelmsford property market for 2020, it can certainly be seen as a frenetic game of two halves, albeit with a very long half time in the spring. Between the General Election in mid-December and Christmas, many Chelmsford agents saw an unusually higher uplift in activity in the property market just as we were getting ready for Christmas 2019. Yet once the New Year festivities were out of the way, that pre-Christmas uplift in the local property market was nothing when compared to the bang on Monday 6th January 2020 with the fabled ‘Boris Bounce’ of the Chelmsford property market. January, February and most of March were amazing months, with the pent-up demand for people wanting to move following the Brexit uncertainty of 2018/9 in the first few months of 2020.

 

The pandemic hit mid-March, and the Chelmsford property market was put on ice for nearly three months (as was almost everyone else’s lives). Yet at the end of spring, the property market was one of the first sectors of the economy to be re-opened. Every economist predicted house price drops in the order of 10% in the best-case scenario and 25% in the worst, yet nothing could be further from the truth.

 

When the lockdown restrictions were lifted from the property market, those three months allowed Chelmsford homeowners to re-evaluate their relationships with their homes. The true worth of an extra bedroom (for an office) became priceless, as people working from home were having to take calls and work from the dining room table. Chelmsford properties with gardens and/or close to green spaces all of a sudden became even more desirable. More fuel was put on the fire of the Chelmsford property market with the introduction of the Stamp Duty Holiday, meaning buyers could save thousands of pounds in tax if they moved before the end of March 2021. This stoked the local property market and now…

 

Property values in Chelmsford are set at 1.3% higher today compared to a year ago.

 

The fallout of that increased demand for a new home meant those Chelmsford properties on the market coming out of lockdown in early summer with those extra rooms and gardens were snapped up in days for ‘full’ price. Chelmsford buyers were having to spend their Stamp Duty savings on paying top dollar for the home of their dreams. Yet the increased number of properties coming onto the market in the late summer quenched a lot of that demand and the prices being achieved became a little more reasonable and realistic. This increased the number of properties sold (stc), so much so, that nationally, almost two thirds more homes have been sold (stc) than would be expected at this time of year!

 

However, as we all know, just because a property is sold (stc), it doesn’t mean the property is actually sold. The number of people who have moved home in the last 12 months in Chelmsford, is as you would expect, much lower. Over the last 10 years, on average 2,569 Chelmsford homes have changed hands per year, compared to only 1,097 Chelmsford homes in the last 12 months.

 

So, what is a Chelmsford property worth today? Drilling down to the four types of homes locally, some interesting numbers appear. Looking at the table, you can see what the average property types are worth locally, and within each type, the average price paid in the last 12 months. (So, if the average price paid for the last 12 months is higher than the overall average, that means more higher priced property in that type has sold in the last year compared to the overall average – and vice versa)

 

  Average Overall Value Today Average Price Paid in the Last Year
Chelmsford Detached £552,400 £548,720
Chelmsford Semi-Detached £354,660 £376,980
Chelmsford Town House / Terraced £285,900 £293,900
Chelmsford Apartments/ Flats £203,400 £220,410

 

Of course, these are the overall average values. To give you an idea what Chelmsford properties are selling for by their square footage, these are those average values…

 

Average Value per sq. ft (internal)
Chelmsford Detached £325.71
Chelmsford Semi-Detached £329.60
Chelmsford Town House / Terraced £310.40
Chelmsford Apartments/ Flats £294.50

 

So, what about 2021? Well normally when the Country’s GDP drops like a stone (as it did in the Summer of 2020), the property market follows in unison. Yet as the economy went south, the house price growth and activity in the property market went north. This would appear to be a quite remarkable outcome given that economic framework, but it is gradually becoming clear that, as far as the Chelmsford property market is concerned, people’s time in lockdown has been spent reflecting on what they really wanted from their home and has meant that the normal rules of the game simply do not apply … for now.

About Neil Baldock

Born and bred in Chelmsford, Neil went to Tyrells and The Boswells School and still lives in Springfield. A former police officer, Neil is an excellent problem solver for our clients. Neil oversees the Lettings, Property Management and Maintenance portfolio here at CDC and is able to offer specialist advice on all aspects of buy to let and property investment in Chelmsford and all areas of Essex. Neil is happy to offer advice to landlords even where the property is not being purchased through our agency and would welcome an informal chat with you regarding your investments. Neil is also well versed in HMO Management as we are one of the only agencies in Chelmsford which has a specialist HMO and rooms to rent department. Neil is Matthews younger brother and has a son named Michael.

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