Monthly Archives: July 2017

Market Comment – July 2017

July 2017Perceptions-v-reality in property can confuse even the best-informed of armchair economists. The latest House Price Sentiment Index from Knight Frank and HIS Markit suggests that approximately twice as many households believe their property value has risen, than fallen, in the past year, yet the measure of sentiment is still nearly 15% lower than its previous peak in May 2014.

Despite this positive outlook, according to HouseSimple research, some 35% of all properties currently being advertised for sale in London (and up to 45% in some boroughs) have been reduced in price – an 18% increase in the number of reductions since February. And what happens in London often ripples out across the rest of the UK thereafter. Having said that, we have continued to achieve some record prices in our area and have not noticed any drop in the healthy activity levels that keep the market bubbling here.

Indeed, the latest survey of NAEA members reports a 16% increase in sales over the same time last year, although only 2% went for over the asking price.

Nationally, house prices themselves, according to HM Land Registry, are showing a respectable annual price increase of 4.7% with a 0.5% increase last month alone. The introduction of a punitive Stamp Duty Land Tax regime for more expensive homes, especially for second home buyers, has hit some buyers in the pocket, with an SDLT bill of up to 15% of the purchase price, although most people do not fall into this bracket fortunately. (Incidentally, the maximum Stamp Duty payable in 1993 was just 1%).

It is a relief to see that any local fall-out following the Brexit referendum has now levelled off and we are enjoying a reasonable supply of new instructions coupled with level demand.

So whether you are buying or selling, there are equal and opposite forces in play, neither of which should be regarded as compelling enough to delay a move. As ever, if your life would be enhanced by moving – then move! Life’s too short!

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A Summer Breeze… for Burglars!

BurglarsWhen the weather is good, there’s no beating the great British summer. It’s the time for enjoying barbecues, outdoor entertaining, children splashing in the paddling pool and balmy evenings.

However, because there is never any guarantee of really hot weather, British households tend not to have air conditioning, unlike some other countries where sweltering summers are generally guaranteed. So when things hot up, we tend to revert to our manual air-conditioning system – we open the windows!

The problem is that we often forget to close them again, or we deliberately leave them open night and day, providing a perfect opportunity for burglars and opportunists to pounce. Indeed, insurance companies report a 21% increase in claims following an unforced entry during the summer months. Small easily-snatched items such as handbags, car keys, mobile phones and jewellery are among the most popular thefts; lucrative for the thief and really, really, annoying to lose. Burglars can be in and out of a property in seconds, often whilst unsuspecting occupants are in the garden or watching television in another room.

To add insult to injury, insurance companies will not usually honour a claim for such theft unless the homeowner has “taken reasonable steps to prevent loss or damage”. An open window is an invitation to a burglar and hardly demonstrates the reasonable care demanded by insurers.

There are obvious yet often overlooked ways of avoiding the anxiety of a summer theft, such as:
• Never leave front doors or windows open or unlocked when you are at the back of your property or in the garden.
• Never leave valuables on windowsills.
• Use restrictors on windows so they can only be opened part-way.
• Regularly review your home insurance needs.
• Support your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

Buying, selling, renting or staying put, may we wish you a happy and secure summer!

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Independence Day

On 4thJuly each year Americans go to town on celebrating their national pride on Independence Day.

And well they might, as independence is wonderful thing – whatever your views on Brexit/Trump etc! As independent estate and letting agents we experience daily what it is to be free of the constraints of corporate governance, number crunching, management reports and toeing the party line. The only people we have to report back to are the most important of all – our customers!

Being independent means that we can adapt and respond to changes in the market without having to run it past a committee. Speed of response is essential in these changing times. If a property needs a marketing boost, we give it one! Independence also means that the directors are personally involved in the business – after all – it’s our future, our name above the door, and we make a point of ensuring that those values we cherish personally are instilled across the business as a whole. We tend to work very much in partnership with our clients and are sometimes quite selective as to which properties we accept onto our books. None of this would be as easy if we were a PLC.

Most important of all is our people. They all feel part of a strong and committed team where their individual strengths are immediately appreciated and rewarded. Their great team spirit and professionalism combine with a sense of fun, enabling them to focus on helping people move (rather than selling ancillary services), allowing us to provide an enjoyable and efficient service to our clients, of which I am very proud.

So for truly accountable service why not call us for a chat about your property needs today on 01933 224400?

Happy Independence Day!

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