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Supply-side shortages, rampant demand, boosting your kerb appeal, and adding value to your Airbnb

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The housing market seems to be following its most recent trend – a runaway demand from buyers and an inevitable shortage in the supply to meet the tidal wave of demand.

These are just a few of the stories making the property news headlines this week.

Supply of family homes for sale falls to five-year low

The runaway demand for family homes – typically three and four-bedroom detached houses – is fast catching up with the market and creating a noticeable shortage of opportunities for hungry buyers, explained an article by online listings website Zoopla on the 6th of May.

It has been widely reported – and as we also commented in our news roundup of the 4th of March – the succession of lockdowns during the pandemic generated a flood of pent up demand for bigger family houses, with space for a garden or other outside space, and an office for working from home.

The moves into more spacious family accommodation were further encouraged, of course, by the Stamp Duty holiday – introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last summer and which was to have expired at the end of March but has now been extended until the end of June and, to a lesser degree, extended again to the end of September.

The upshot is that demand for house purchases is 27.5% higher than this time last year while, at the same time, the number of homes advertised for sale is 19% down on 12 months ago – resulting in a significant mismatch between supply and demand.

Britain's booming property market sees 13 buyers for EVERY home on sale

A story in the Daily Mail newspaper this week underlined the sheer enthusiasm unleashed on the market. During the month of April, it revealed there were 13 eager prospective buyers for every home being offered for sale.

That enthusiasm is also reflected in the volume of sales transactions – up 57% compared to April of 2019 in pandemic-free Britain.

So aggressive is the market, according to some commentators, that hopeful buyers are moving into temporary accommodation – such as a caravan – to ensure they stay close to the action and do not miss an opportunity. In a market ripe for gazumping, buyers are being asked to go firm on a “best and final” offer.

The lively vigour of the market has also been good business for buyers’ agents, under instructions to make an early offer and try to beat the competition.

Tips to increase viewings and boost kerb appeal

Given all that has been said about the shortage of supply and the surge in demand, anyone thinking of selling their home might think it is such a sellers’ market they can sit back and just let the offers come flooding in.

A story in the London Evening Standard on the 10th of May, however, underscored the importance of continuing to boost the kerb appeal of your home even – or especially when – the market is so buoyant.

Before turning to the various ways you might increase the kerb appeal, though, the article suggests establishing reasonable and realistic expectations with the estate agent about the price of your home and remain flexible when it comes to arranging viewings by prospective buyers.

With those ground rules established, you might want to consider some of the suggestions made in Home & Garden magazine on the 22nd of April for sprucing up and attracting appreciative eyes on your property:

  • It’s not just a question of cleaning the glass in the windows, for instance, but taking a close look at the frames themselves – if they are looking tired and dated, consider replacing some or all of the frames with cleaner, more up to date designs;
  • if you already have a conservatory or sun lounge, you’ll know what a valuable feature it can be – think about having one built and you’ll immediately create more space and style;
  • if the conservatory alone doesn’t achieve the desired effect, you can still think about erecting a summerhouse in the garden – it will provide a useful and welcome outdoor feature whatever size your garden;
  • alternatively, you might want to go the whole hog, call in the builders, and commission an extension – be prepared for planning applications, specialist renovation insurance and, potentially, several months of dust, debris, and disruption;
  • the roof might not be the first thing that catches the eye from the kerbside, but neither does it last forever and might already be showing signs of its age – think about giving the whole property a new lease of life by replacing the slates or tiles on the roof.

These and other home improvements may improve the kerb appeal of your property – and help you stay ahead of the game in what is a currently very bullish market.

Adding value to your Airbnb

It is not just the market in owner-occupied homes where property is in short supply. Lingering travel restrictions and wariness about booking holidays abroad have meant such a surge in demand for holiday accommodation that many staycationers are already hunting around for the beds they need, according to a story in the Guardian newspaper on the 3rd of April.

That may be good news, of course, for anyone with a spare room or second home to let on the accommodation-sharing website Airbnb – especially if you are eager to turn that sideline of a business into something a little more competitive by adding value to what you can offer.

Research cited by Property Investor Today on the 10th of May revealed that the most sought-after feature by Airbnb guests was air-conditioned accommodation. Rooms with access to swimming pools and hot tubs also featured high on the list of desirable amenities.

But even if you are not inclined to splash out megabucks on air conditioning, swimming pools or hot tubs, it’s the smaller things that may also count. Highchairs for the kiddies, for instance, are in high demand, as are fireplaces for an open fire on those chillier evenings.

Consider what you might change to add value to your own Airbnb offering, how much it might cost, and whether or not the investment is worth it.