Monthly Archives: September 2017

Market Comment – September 2017

RAFThe market is stirring. The holidays are now becoming a distant memory, schools are back and anyone who intends to move in time for the New Year is beginning to think about doing so.

Although nationally activity levels remain unexciting, and, as a consequence, prices are remaining high, there is an indication that this could be about to change, led as ever from London, where, according to Savills, prices have fallen by 3.2% since the beginning of the year.

We can see two possible reasons for this about-turn. First, the Brexit referendum and subsequent election introduced confusion and severe uncertainty to an already fragile market. This led to a log-jam of people who would have liked to have moved, but were nervous to do so. No that the shockwaves have passed, they once again feel more confident about moving.

Secondly, talk about the possibility of SDLT (Stamp Duty) liability being passed from buyer to seller has encouraged a number of sellers to bring forward their plans to sell. This makes sense, although if those sellers are also buyers then it’s probably swings and roundabouts.

Whilst we do of course welcome the expected increase in activity due to a rise in the number of properties coming to market, sellers should always be conscious of the effect of this increased competition at local level. Always take the advice of your experienced local property expert rather than relying on online valuations, which are notoriously inaccurate as they rely on the history of past sales, not on the reality of what is currently competing with your own property for sale!

We do expect the lower end of the market to become more accessible to first time buyers, and sales to this sector are already up 17% over the past two years. This is no doubt due to the fact that Buy-to-Let investments are proving less attractive to the “amateur landlord” with BTL purchases down 17% in the same period (Source: Land Reg). This could be due to a much tougher SDLT and personal tax regime, freeing up properties that would otherwise be let. Sadly for tenants, this effect is already being felt, with 35% of rents having risen (source ARLA).

Until the Brexit issue is finally resolved (ha!) the market will remain difficult to predict, but in the meantime, we’re helping our clients make hay while the last of the summer sun continues to shine.

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We’re Part Of An Award Winning Network!

RAN blogWe’re delighted to share the news that Relocation Agent Network – of which we are members – has been crowned the 2017 Best Estate Agency Supplier. This is a fantastic achievement for the Network and all of its members, including us!

The award was announced at the EA Masters Awards Dinner, held on Friday 22 September at the O2’s InterContinental hotel, London, organised by Property Academy and hosted by well-known TV presenter, Gabby Logan.

The Award

The 2017 Best Estate Agency Supplier is the most coveted prize that the Property Academy, the UK estate agency’s pre-eminent business improvement and events company, can give to an industry supplier. And making it even more special was the fact that the winner had to receive the highest number of votes from estate agency supplier customers via an online poll set up by Property Academy. Relocation Agent Network was awarded gold category status in the large category as well as the overall Best Estate Agency Supplier prize!

How does OUR Network membership help YOU?

We have been specially selected to join Relocation Agent Network, who chose us to be the area’s Local Expert. To gain a Network invitation, estate agents must lead their local market in quality of service, local knowledge and professionalism. Through its affiliation with Cartus, the premier provider of global relocation services, Relocation Agent Network members help Cartus move relocating families in and out of areas across England, Scotland and Wales. This offers Richard James customers an additional channel of buyer when selling their property. Network members can also help their customers through the ‘Referral Network’,

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Home“Moving House” may be the term we commonly use, but moving HOME is surely a better description for one of life’s more stressful experiences. Few changes in life, other than a relationship, can stir such emotions.

As estate agents, we are effectively “agents of change” and whilst our natural focus might be to help people move in a practical sense, we find we can be most effective when we really empathize with our clients.

It would be callous to think that a home is just bricks and mortar. Home is so much more than that…

• Is the focus for our sense of place
• Is the sanctuary that protects us from the sheer noise of life
• Is where our real self resides and where we can genuinely relax
• Is where our relationships both blossom and are tested
• Is where we unharness our emotions and can laugh or cry, unjudged
• Is the safe place where family is conceived and nurtured
• Is the root of our most precious past and future memories
• Is an expression of who we really are

Inevitably, the bricks and mortar element of home will usually reach the end of its useful life as we ourselves move on. It will then be time for the next occupant to regard “your house” as “their home”.

We often note how “similar” a buyer is to the seller of the new home. If people move in seven-year cycles then it is reasonable to assume that the next occupant may well be in the same stage of life as the outgoing seller was seven years ago. They are also very likely to be a strong socio-demographic match to the area into which they are moving.

We believe that it is our ability to understand our buyers’ preferences, lifestyle expectations and aspirations that has been a key component to our success in matching match people to property. Finely attuned? – maybe. Effective? – certainly. Why not call us for an initial chat if you have any thoughts about moving and let us show you how a more connected approach to helping people move can pay real dividends.

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Market Comment – August 2017

RAFAugust is a tricky time to comment on the property market. The market is usually understandably subdued during prime holiday season, but this is often a self-fulfilling prophesy.

This is because those sellers who would have liked to have entered the market during the summer delay doing so, in the belief that the hottest spring buyers have probably found somewhere by now, or are on holiday.

This is one of the greatest faux-pas a seller can make. Serious buyers are serious buyers, and they will probably put their house-hunting activities way ahead of any holiday plans for this year at least. Spring 2017 was hardly deluged with fresh stock and many buyers remain active. This is one of the reasons that prices have generally been upheld during this apparently quieter period, with the average house price now being reported by the Land Registry as £223,257, a respectable 4.9% annual increase.

Interestingly, Rightmove is reporting a slowdown in asking prices at just 3.1% against this time last year. While this may not bode well for prices actually being achieved in the autumn, it does reflect a more realistic response by sellers to the confusing economic and political forces at play.

Indeed, many London commuter-town estate agents are reporting price reductions in 35%-44% of their stock. Provincial towns are doing much better than this with eg Salford and Edinburgh experiencing reductions in just 11% of their stock. Price reductions do of course often result in sales for frustrated sellers, but it remains to be seen whether a further reduction may be required. The very strict mortgage qualification criteria currently in place are certainly not helping matters.

Fortunately, holiday season or not, we have continued to see impressive sales over the summer, with minimal price reductions. Proactivity is the key, and it’s our secret weapon against those of our competitors who allow a perceived holiday season slowdown to hinder their clients’ onward move.

As we ramp up further for what we expect will be a particularly strong autumn market, we’d be pleased to hear from you if you have any plans, however tentative, about a possible move. We offer straight-talking good advice, and never forget that our role is to help you maximize current market conditions – to your significant advantage!

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