'Unprecedented demand' creates scramble for homes in north Norfolk
- Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske
Demand is vastly outstripping supply for homes on the north Norfolk coast, as buyers find themselves in bidding wars and offering £30,000 above asking prices.
Buyers priced out of areas such as Blakeney, Cley and Holt have turned their attention elsewhere, creating a new dash for homes in towns and villages such as Sheringham, Overstrand and Mundesley.
And in the scramble for properties, buyers are finding themselves in bidding wars and offering tens of thousands above already-steep asking prices.
Jeff Cox, co-director and owner of Henley's estate agent, which specialises in north Norfolk property, said the housing market was "very busy", but a lack of supply was limiting.
He said there was such an "unprecedented demand" for houses that buyers had engaged in bidding wars, with some properties going 10pc to 20pc above the asking price.
Mr Cox said: "Stock levels are way down on where they would normally be at this time of year. In NR27 we normally have about 200 to 220 properties on the market but at the moment there's only about 75. When something comes up it gets snapped up."
Mr Cox, who has been in the property sector for 18 years, said a lot of buyers were people from outside the area who were bringing forward plans to move to north Norfolk. He and his team have also seen a step increase in people buying holiday homes.
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He said the Stamp Duty holiday, which came to an end on June 30, had helped boost the market and prices in the area were around 10pc to 15pc higher than they were two years ago.
Mr Cox said Cromer, Sheringham, Overstrand and Mundesley were all hot spots. But in the rush lots of buyers, especially those who were unable to view properties straightaway, have been left disappointed.
"We have bidding wars on properties where people are literally fighting over them, bidding £10,000s over the asking price," he said.
"I wouldn't call it stressful but it's been a challenge, but we are very good at challenges, it's what we do."
Mr Cox said he and his team had found themselves acting as negotiators, counsellors and "going the whole nine yards" to help people navigate the fraught property market.
The average cost of a home in Norfolk increased from £228,630 in 2020 to £252,848 in 2021, an increase of 10.6pc in just a year.
Samantha Withers, director of Coast and Country Estate Agents, which was set up in July 2019, said she had seen buyers priced out of traditionally sought-after areas such as Blakeney and Holt turn their focus along the coast.
She said: "Mundesley and Bacton have been quite overlooked for a number of years but people are realising how beautiful it is here and you can get a bit more for your money.
"Prices have increased in Mundesley in the last five years and even more in the last five months and it's definitely not hit its ceiling, there's still room for it to grow."
As with Mr Cox, Mrs Withers said a lot of her buyers were from out of area, relocating from cities like London.
"We sold three properties last week, all of which were £30,000 over the asking price, and the price that we put on were already on the high side," she said.
"It's five buyers to one property across the county and I would expect it to be more in north Norfolk."
Linda Robinson, 63, who has lived in Overstrand for four and a half years, said she was unsurprised the village was proving popular.
She said: "We moved here for retirement, wanting a quiet life, a more peaceful life and to live near the sea. It's absolutely wonderful, the community here is superb which is why we don't want too many people with holiday lets, but it's a wonderful place."
Further down the coast in Mundesley, Michael Pocock, 73, who has had property in the village for 35 years, was also unsurprised house hunters were turning their attention to the coast between Overstrand and Bacton.
He said: "It's the scenery and the quality of the beach and we have had the blue flag for umpteen years now.
"I think that's why people come here, it goes back to when they had families and then they bring their children here. I love it here, I've had this land for 35 years."
Mr Pocock, who splits his time between Cambridge and Mundesley, said the village also had a good mix of full and part-time residents.
"In the village, we have got a number of shops, greengrocers, post office - it's got facilities," he said.
Nigel Holmes, who has lived in Mundesley for 38 years, said: "It's a very friendly place we have lots of things going on, we have shops, doctors, schools - a lot of facilities that a lot of villages don't have."
Mr Holmes said he had noticed that when properties went up for sale they didn't stay on the market for long and didn't have a problem with homes being used as holiday lets.
"A lot of people don't like holidaymakers however this has always been a holiday village and that's not going to change," he said.
"In fact, the holiday people are the people that keep the shops and businesses open."