Housing crisis in Devon is here to stay as rentals disappear ‘in minutes’

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Devon is in the throes of a serious housing crisis. Second home sales are skyrocketing, landlords are turning to vacation rentals, fewer homes are available to buy or rent, and renter and buyer prices are out of the county.

DevonLive has been following the housing crisis closely and with reports revealing that 80% of homes in a Devon village are now second homes, with councilors warning tenants to be weeks away from eviction, and coastal homes are now selling 20 days faster than before the pandemic, many living in the region may wonder where it will all end.

Read more: Prices outside Devon: we want to know if you think we are facing a housing crisis

Will prices go down and what will happen to all second homes when overseas travel reopens?

We spoke to two Devon property experts – a real estate agent and a rental agent – to find out more.

Simon Forman, associate partner and branch manager of Stags in Barnstaple, North Devon, said there is a “massive demand and a glaring shortage of supply” for goods in the area, but that he does not see not the end of the boom or the secondary house either. prices are going up in the area anytime soon.

“Second home buyers keep coming in,” said Simon. ‘I think as far as North Devon goes it has been too cheap for too long so maybe we are coming of age with values ​​leveling out across the UK in a to some extent.

“I don’t think it will stop because it would take a significant influx of new instructions to meet demand, which doesn’t normally happen.



Simon Forman, Associate Partner and Branch Manager of Stags in Barnstaple

“As long as there is a shortage of instructions, prices will likely continue to rise and especially in hot spots like Croyde, Woolacombe, Putsborough and Instow – they perform very well regardless.”

Simon said of the properties listed with Stags in North Devon around 50% were typically sold to buyers outside the region. However, that number has now risen to around 65%, with frustrated local buyers describing themselves as “second-class citizens” in the rush to get a home.

He said: “There have been so many cash buyers coming into the system that if you were in a chain, even though you have a full chain, or if you have your house on the market but you haven’t. from being a buyer you become almost a second class citizen because those cash buyers who come from all over are knocking out other people because cash is king.

“They don’t necessarily pay more money for the properties, it’s just that they are liable to prosecution and the risk is less, so that has certainly been a factor.

“I’ve talked to people who have said, ‘This is the fourth house I’m trying to buy. I can go on but I’m in a chain and I’m treated like a second class citizen because there are all these money buyers in front of me and whatever I try to do I’m at a disadvantage in my position. What am I supposed to do ?. ​​”

With few properties entering the market, other sellers face another problem.

“Some sellers have put their homes on the market, got some really good deals, but they just can’t sell because they have nowhere to go,” Simon said.

“They can’t even rent because there are so few properties that owners favor long-term tenants and not sellers who just want to be there temporarily.”

In Torbay, Carter Brown – owner of Torbay Property Management – recalls that supply and demand is a real problem, revealing that every rental property he puts on the market is sued by more than 50 people and can be taken back in a matter of minutes. minutes.

He said: “As the Prime Minister says, this is an unprecedented time.

“A lot has changed with everything that has happened in the last year. People have realized that they don’t need to work in big cities and I think a lot more people are now working in distance from coastal and rural areas.



Carter Brown, owner of Torbay Property Management
Carter Brown, owner of Torbay Property Management

“The stock that becomes available is just being picked up, sometimes within minutes but certainly within hours. It’s gone crazy.

“We have noticed the change in the last eight or nine months. Last year people still didn’t know where they were going and what they were doing and I think at the start of this year everyone was thinking, okay, I’m going to live near the coast.

“Don’t get me wrong, this is good, but the people who already live here have nowhere to go because there are no properties. It has been a difficult year for a lot of people.

Carter said that although the owners he works with have not opted for Airbnb vacation rentals, he has encountered tenants in the city trying to rent a second home by the sea to use as a bolt hole in addition to their city pad.



Priced Out Devon - highlighting the ups and downs of the Devon property boom

It is goods – not the coronavirus – which is becoming Devon’s hottest topic, now the terrible pandemic is brewing towards its conclusion.

As city dwellers head to the glorious Southwest to vacation – and live – in droves, there are clearly clear winners and losers.

Are there too many second homes? Are landlords taking advantage of a stay boom and prioritizing AirBnb customers over permanent tenants? Is Devon in the grip of a housing crisis?

These are questions we will be asking in the content challenge as part of the campaign. Prices outside Devon.

But it will never be that gloomy and pessimistic.

We’ve rounded up homes under £ 150,000 in the county that are perfect for first-time buyers and we’ll have regular updates on new build developments with affordable homes – and there will be more positive content like that here to come.

We highlight the ups and downs of the Devon property boom. Find our content here and sign up for our real estate newsletter here.

With so much demand for Torbay homes, he said he couldn’t see prices coming down in the short term.

“With Brexit going into effect, a food shortage and job uncertainty, they are all going to have an effect on the economy as a whole,” Carter said. buildings, so the owners of these buildings will then lose their pocket with empty buildings “

“There is a ripple effect on a lot of things, but I think for the near future the rents are going to stay high. They have increased dramatically, as have house prices.

“I don’t know if this is going to last very long, for six months or a year there must be a limit somewhere people can’t afford prices to keep going up due to low income levels in Torbay .

With the red, orange and green travel listings for overseas travel constantly evolving, stays in Devon have exploded. However, Simon said he doesn’t see the region’s newfound popularity wane once overseas vacations are back on the cards.

He said: “I think there will be a long term effect. Some people will think “it’s actually quite nice to have a vacation more locally where I don’t have to sit in an airport or on a plane.”

“There is no guarantee that you will get sun in Madeira these days with climate change. I think maybe a new market has opened up and people who have tried vacations in Devon were like ‘I could do it again’.

So when will the Devon property market return to some sort of normalcy?

Simon said: “It’s probably going to set in, but there are ways around it. We’ve persuaded some sellers to come into the market, find a buyer, and tell them “we’re serious about selling and we’ll go, but only when we find somewhere.”

“In one case, we delayed completion – the sale was agreed on the basis that completion was delayed for one year. But then you’ll have a salesperson who’ll tell you “it’s good that you can delay completion but I’m going to hold my price, right?” “What if the market goes up?”

“You can’t win, there is no answer to all of these questions. Now people tell me what’s around the corner, have we missed the boat? I wish I had a crystal ball.

For those hoping to secure their first rental or a larger rental in today’s market, Carter said the key is to be extremely proactive.

“Because there are so many people applying for properties and even just looking at them, they really are the first people on the phone to get a tour reservation that get these places.

“Many major real estate websites will email people as soon as a new property hits the market and as soon as people get this alert they need to be on the phone immediately, make an appointment and that’s the best. luck that they have.

“A lot of people come in and say ‘can you put our name on the list? “, and we can, but the list is in the hundreds.

“There are always new properties coming onto the market, but not as many as you might expect and they are leaving so quickly. The demand is huge and that is the unusual part.

“A year later is hard to plan because who knows what the government or Brexit or any of those things will change – we’re guessing for now because who could have predicted that Covid was going to happen?

“I think that’s why a lot of people are moving to the coast and saying, look what happened. Life is short, why not take advantage of it and come and live by the sea?

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