Bristol has the fastest-growing property prices in the UK, according to the latest Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index, yet it also has a burgeoning housebuilding programme that is seeing thousands of new homes being built across its suburbs and city centre.
The Hometrack data shows year-on-year growth of 9.5% to the end of January 2017 (against a national average of 6.1% and a Top 20 cities average of 6.9%), and price inflation of 1.8% over the previous quarter alone. Last summer, annual growth measured 14%, so while it has slowed since then, it is still well ahead of cities like Edinburgh, Cambridge and nearby Cardiff. Furthermore, the organiasations research also shows Bristol as one of the best-performing UK cities since the global financial crisis of 2007/08, with property prices rising over 60% since 2009.
Where the housebuilders build is determined by buyer interest. David Wilson Homes recently questioned house-hunters in the Bristol area to find out what it is that attracts them to certain areas of the city and its suburbs. Sales director Louise Ware says: “The Bristol homeowners we questioned identified that local amenities and easy access to work play a vital role when deciding a house move and these are among the factors which influence where we build in the city and surrounding areas.’
According to another developer that has been busy in the city for years, however busy the industry is in Bristol, it’s still not creating enough homes. Robin Squire, regional managing director of Acorn Property Group, says: “The current residential market in Bristol is relatively strong and resilient with demand still outweighing supply. We’re finding that there is some better quality, more interesting schemes being developed which is great but there are still issues that need to be addressed such as speeding up the planning process by giving the planning teams the support they need”.
Suzanne Aplin, sales and marketing director at WhatHouse? Award-winning developer City & Country, agrees on the strength of the market in the city and has her own insights into the reasons for its success: “Bristol is booming and there has not been a better time to live in this fantastic city. Only this month The Sunday Times crowned it their Best Place to Live 2017 and it’s easy to see why.
“There’s a growing population of professionals and first-time buyers choosing to settle here instead of London, and the city is retaining many of its graduates from its two excellent universities. Add to this a thriving jobs market driven by the creative sectors and one of the UK’s most exciting food scenes and it makes for a highly compelling destination. Demand for high-quality city centre homes continues to outstrip supply and certainly for the time being we cannot see that changing.”
The Bristol Core Strategy of 2011 identified a number of areas for development, with a general aim to get the south of the city to match the northern half for its level of redevelopment. The document identified the need for up to 30,000 new homes in the city between 2006 and 2026. Today’s activity certainly shows determination to get as close to that target as possible.
Among the new homes for sale in Bristol now are:
Barratt Homes has a number of developments currently underway in and around Bristol. The company is building two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom homes at St Matthias in the north-eastern suburb of Fishponds. These contemporary-designed homes are within walking distance of the High Street, with a range of leisure facilities and the Oldbury Court Estate also close by. Prices for the current five-bedroom houses for sale start at £574,995.
At Charlton Hayes, in the north of the city, there are three- and four-bedroom houses for sale from £284,995. These homes are also close to many local amenities, including The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, which has 150 shops, cafés and restaurants. The development is perfectly located for easy access to the M4 and M5, making it suitable for commuters. Like all Barratt developments, Help to Buy and Part Exchange are available to assist buyers, subject to terms and conditions.
Linden Homes is also active in Charlton Hayes, with a range of four-bedroom family homes on the market right now, with prices starting at £340,000. Buyers can use Help to Buy and Part Exchange here, too, as options to easy the purchasing process.
Redrow is another national housebuilder with projects under way in Bristol. Frenchay Park currently just has one large four-bedroom detached house for sale, priced £749,995. This ‘Richmond’ house type is Arts & Crafts-inspired and provides over 2,000 sq ft of accommodation, with multiple reception rooms, two en suite bedrooms and an integral double garage.
Just south of the Avon and close to the city centre in Bedminster, Abode is another Redrow scheme, this one featuring a more modern range of designs. There are three-bedroom townhouses currently for sale, from £369,995. A sales hub and show homes opened last weekend and the site is open to visitors Wednesday to Sunday, from 10.00am to 5.30pm.
Crest Nicholson’s Electricity House is a restored Art Deco building by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (of St Pancras station and Battersea Power Station design fame) right in the heart of the city. Prices start at £599,995 for the remaining apartments and penthouses, just under the Help to Buy threshold, with Part Exchange another option for those with a property to sell. The stylish exterior is matched with an impressive interior specification.
Nearly two years since its launch, there are only three apartments left at Cask Store, part of the Finzels Reach regeneration in central Bristol on the Floating Harbour and just 10 minutes’ walk from Temple Meads station. A new show home has been opened in this waterside development, which, like the other remaining properties, has allocated parking on site. Sales agent Savills reports that there has been a diverse range of buyers to date, ranging from their 20s to their 80s. Prices start at £595,000. "We are expecting interest from downsizers, second-home owners or perhaps professional couples looking for a spacious, high-quality apartment with a view,” says Vicky Dudbridge, associate director at Savills.
Over half the properties are already reserved at Amelia Lodge, a 33-unit retirement development from WhatHouse? Housebuilder of the Year 2016, Churchill Retirement Living. The company is celebrating this status with a £27,000 cashback offer on the remaining one- and two-bedroom apartments in 2017. Prices currently start at £292,950 and £398,950 respectively for these properties, which have a specification focused on the needs of older buyers
Acorn Bristol is currently working on two regeneration projects in prime locations across the city. One is Brunel House in Ashley Down in the north of the city, close to the Bristol County Cricket Ground. The project will provide 92 apartments with one to three bedrooms, a mixture of conversion of a Grade II listed former orphanage building, retaining many original features, alongside some complementary new build. Construction is due to start on this project this spring.
On the waterfront, opposite the SS Great Britain in the city centre is Brandon Yard, another mix of conversion and new build. This development will bring 62 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and a pair of two-bedroom houses to the northern Harbourside area, on the former Canon’s Marsh Gasworks site. This site is still subject to planning. The developer already has homes for sale along the Bristol Channel, just outside the city, with nine townhouses at Marine Parade in Clevedon from £695,000 and seven houses at Brackenwood in Portishead, priced from £495,000.
Suzanne Aplin of City & Country says of the company’s development, where prices currently start at £395,000: “At The General we’ve had a lot of interest in our one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, both restoration and new build. Much of this interest has been from young and established professionals as well as a number of downsizers looking for a prestigious and convenient city centre address.”