Why house prices in Bristol are still rising - and which properties and areas are heading the growth

With new figures showing a 2.1% house price rise in January alone, Bristol is officially a city with a soaring property market

We’ve known for a while that the Bristol property market is on a serious upward price trajectory and that the boom is showing no signs of slowing down. But, according to new figures, house prices in Bristol increased by 2.1% in January alone.

The boost contributes to the longer-term trend, which has seen property prices in the area achieve 8.1% annual growth, too. To illustrate the point, first-time buyers are spending £22,000 more today than they were one year ago.

But it’s this sudden increase at the beginning of the year that is particularly interesting. Recent data from Land Registry figures found that the average Bristol house price in January was £333,058 – a 2.1% increase on December.

This puts Bristol in a leading spot across the whole of the UK, with the city outperforming the 0.4% rise for the country as a whole. Buyers paid 8.3% more than the average price in the rest of the South West (£307,000) in January for a property in Bristol.

Across the South West, property prices are higher than those across the UK, where the average cost is £274,000.

With so much of the city seeing rising house prices, which area is leading the charge? Nick Stopard, the founder of Boardwalk, tells us that the area around Redfield is a surefire way of seeing the sharp upward growth in the market at the moment.

This lovely property in Redfield sold for £264,500 in 2017, but today would go for much more

“Around five years ago, houses would rarely sell over £300,000,” he remarks. “In fact, this [pictured above] was a really nice house we sold in 2017 for £264,500.” Today, properties of a similar ilk are selling for £350-400,000.

As evidence of the manic market in Redfield, Boardwalk recently sold, subject to contract, this property (pictured below) for £60,000 over the asking price taking it to £435,000.

Boardwalk have recently sold this Redfield home, subject to contract, for £60k over asking

Mr Stopard tells us how they have seen a real return to the popularity of flats of late, and it would seem that the new data truly backs this up.

Rise in popularity of flats

The recent figures show that owners of flats saw the biggest improvement in property prices in Bristol in January, with an increase of  2.2%, to £256,209 on average. Over the last year, prices of flats and apartments rose by 6.5% as a whole.

So, why are we seeing this change? “​​It’s really down to the return to offices. Areas like Old Market were super popular in 2018 and 2019 with the new office blocks going up around Temple Quay, but then the demand really dipped around lockdown, as the need to be close to these offices fell off and the hospitality industry in that area suffered,” Mr. Stoppard explains.

“However, with offices reopening and some great new independent cafes, bars, and breweries springing up, the popularity of these areas and flats, in general, has grown.”

He adds that, of course, there is a financial limitation impact too. “With prices rising so much and houses especially limited for those wanting to live in central areas, flats have become the main options for those looking to buy, especially those that do have a bit of outdoor space.”

This flat is on the market with a guide price of £250-270k with Hunters Estate Agents, illustrating how much flat prices have increased in St Agnes. A flat on a nearby street was on the market for £106k last year and a one-bed in the same street is on the market for £210k

Unsurprisingly for Bristol, terraced houses are also seeing a rise in price, ​​up 2.1% monthly and up 8.1% annually to a £345,023 average. “Yeah, the areas we see the highest demand are areas of Victorian terraces close to both bustling high streets but also nice parks and green spaces,” says Mr Stopard.

“The lockdown has brought the proximity of these features to the fore, ahead of commuting time to work, which used to be discussed on almost every viewing pre-pandemic.

“One thing that’s great about our city is that this does cover lots of areas, especially those like Bedminster, Totterdown, St Werburghs, Easton, St George, Horfield. Terraced houses are consistently selling at prices that are higher than historical prices for the road and the area.”

Surprising price tags

What’s interesting is that we’re seeing a market whereby houses that people wouldn’t have ordinarily expected to be in such multiple figures are reaching the soaring heights of £1million and above.

With areas across the city such as Southville becoming hotspots for people moving into from cities such as London, the competition for large family homes is high.

Estate agents are taking to using tactics whereby they don’t always release the images of the house at first, potentially because it’s not your usual majestic-looking period property that you might expect for the numbers on the page. Prior to the high market we’re seeing today, you would expect a £1.2million house to be a Clifton townhouse or Redland villa.

This recent Southville listing from CJ Hole is shrouded in mystery, but without many, if any, detached period houses in the area, chances are it looks a little different to what people might expect for the price tag.

This £1.2million listing from CJ Hole is shrouded in mystery

In contrast to the thoughts of many though, it seems that it’s not all down to developers pushing the prices up. “The price rise we are seeing is down to demand far outstripping supply currently,” continues Mr Stopard.

“There are a limited number of homes in good parts of Bristol with very few of those residents looking to sell and move away, but plenty of people wanting to move in. We are regularly speaking with people from Devon, Somerset, Dorset, London, the Midlands who want to move into Bristol.

“Most of this demand is made up from owner-occupiers and particularly first-time buyers, which is contrary to what a lot of people believe, thinking that it’s investment buyers buying up homes.”