Monthly Archives: November 2017

Market Comment – November 2017


This November has seen both an increase in interest rates and the abolition of SDLT (Stamp Duty) for first time buyers up to £300,000. Certainly the nominal 0.25% interest rate increase is unlikely to cause most homebuyers a problem. However, this first rate rise in a decade might be regarded as a tipping point for further increases in the coming year and the market remains subdued. This is despite the apparent windfall for first time buyers, which will almost certainly turn out to be inflationary.

Although we remain busier than expected for the time of year, with some record prices being achieved, there is at atmosphere nationally that we are moving towards a buyers’ market. According to UK Finance, mortgage approvals for purchases are at their lowest for over a year and, according to Rightmove, some 37% of sellers are reducing their asking price (the highest percentage in five years) and new-to-market sellers are being overoptimistic in their pricing. In other words, sellers must price competitively if they are to achieve a respectable sale before the added complication of a further supply of stock hitting the market in the New Year and Spring 2018.

So now, more than ever, sellers should avoid their property becoming stale on the market by quoting a price that buyers will regard as exciting. They should also avoid the mistake of pricing high on the basis that buyers will “make a lower offer”. We employ excellent negotiators and consistently find that we are able to achieve our asking prices (and sometimes even exceed them), but if the asking price itself is too high then there won’t be enough buyers to prompt a sale. This is the type of balancing act that we as experienced estate agents (as opposed to the online alternative) deeply understand, and harness to our clients’ advantage.

Interested in the market? Curious about the current value of your property in context? Why not call 01933 224400 for a confidential chat? You might be pleasantly surprised!

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Richard James Re-affirmed As The Areas Local Experts

photo boothWe have been re-affirmed as the area’s Local Expert by Relocation Agent Network.

Richard James were re-affirmed at the 2017 Relocation Agent Network Conference and Exhibition, which took place at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in Central London on Friday 17 November.

Relocation Agent Network is a national network of selected estate agents across England, Scotland and Wales. We were handpicked to be a member of the Network, based on strict criteria such as quality of service, local knowledge and professionalism.

Helping Our Customers

Through its affiliation to Cartus, the premier provider of relocation services, Relocation Agent Network members help Cartus assist relocating families, offering Richard James customers an additional channel of buyer when selling their property. In addition, members also help their customers through their ‘Referral Network’, which allows Richard James to help people who are looking to move out of the local area by referring them to a Relocation Agent in the location they are moving to.

The Conference day included a line-up of keynote speakers, interactive sessions and a trade exhibition, and culminated in an evening black tie Awards Dinner, hosted by well-known comedian and TV presenter, Sue Perkins.

Relocation Agent Network Managing Director, Richard Tucker said, “We are proud to have re-affirmed Richard James Relocation Agent Network membership. They were specially selected to join the Network and in our opinion, are Local Experts in Wellingborough, Irthlingborough and Rushden, when it comes to buying and selling.”

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Budget Comment – SDLT removal is good news for sellers!

Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the removal of SDLT (Stamp Duty) on all sales to first time buyers under £300,000 in his autumn statement. This is clearly great news for first time buyers, especially those paying the full £300,000, who pocket a tidy £5,000 towards their new home.

More realistically, the saving made by the average first time buyer, who typically pays around £163,000, is just £760.

However, while this support for first time buyers is admirable in theory, any experienced estate agent will tell you that this move is likely to have little effect on transaction volumes and is actually likely to be inflationary – not what the government had in mind at all!

The reason is that if you put money back into the hands of the buyer, then they have more to spend on a property, as do other first time buyers competing with them. In a market where good first homes get snapped up in days, this can only add to the pressure of demand and hence price inflation.

So if you are selling, or thinking of selling a property suitable for first time buyers (nb: don’t wait till Spring as we predict the supply/demand balance might by then have shifted back to the buyer), you might find that there are more buyers around and they have more money to spend. For example, a buyer for a £200,000 property can now afford to pay an extra £1,500 post-budget.

It’s not every day the Chancellor helps estate agents negotiate great terms for their sellers, so thanks Mr Hammond!

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Two Award Wins At Prestigious Estate Agency Event

RAN 17 customerWe are delighted to announce we have won two awards at Relocation Agent Network’s prestigious Annual Awards Dinner. The two awards, Best Agent Central Regional Award and Customer Relocation Award were presented at the black tie Awards Dinner, which following the Network’s National Conference and Exhibition.

Held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London on Friday 17 November, the Awards Dinner was hosted by well-known comedian and TV presenter, Sue Perkins, who announced Richard James’ award wins.

The ‘Best Agent in the Central Region’ is awarded on a number of criteria measuring the agent’s overall contribution to Relocation Agent Network, their ability to achieve customer satisfaction and a proven record of helping relocating buyers move in and out of the area.

The Customer Relocation Award recognises nine estate agents that have generated the greatest number of referrals through the Relocation Agent Network referral scheme.

Referrals are an important element of the Relocation Agent Network membership. Should a customer plan to relocate to another area of the country, their local Network agent can recommend that the member in the destination location assist in their move. As each of their area’s selected local experts, as considered by Relocation Agent Network, members are able to offer customers the very highest standard of customer service.

We are delighted to win both awards, particularly to be named as the region’s best Relocation Agent Network estate agent. This award truly demonstrates the fantastic team we have here at Richard James and shows our customers that we are one of the area’s leading estate agents.”

Richard Tucker, Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director said, “Congratulations to all the team at Richard James. They were awarded this accolade because of their outstanding customer service, innovative business initiatives and commitment to our Network principles.”

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Do You Fancy Being In A Brand New Home For Christmas?

David Wilson 2We are holding a Open House Part Exchange Event at the David Wilson Homes site at “The Wickets” Earls Barton at 6pm on Thursday 9th November 2017.

Generous incentives are available on certain plots.

Pop into the show house to meet us and you could be in a brand new home for Christmas.

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Interest Rate Rise – Market Comment

RAFThe Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has just announced a rise in the Bank of England base rate of 0.25% – the first increase in over a decade.

The base rate is the figure on which mortgage rates in particular are based and a whole generation of aspiring homeowners will be wondering what to make of it. Well panic not – although the base rate has effectively doubled, 0.25% remains a very small increase and simply returns us to the same 0.5% rate that had been in force between March 2009 and August last year, when it was dropped in response to the Brexit referendum result.

While those on a variable rate or tracker mortgage will notice a small increase in monthly payments, those who chose a fixed rate mortgage will not feel any effect at all.

If this new rate is passed on to mortgage interest rates, as it almost certainly will be, the monthly commitment of new buyers will be around £37.50 extra per month on a £180,000 mortgage. This is unlikely to have any direct effect on the property market.

This increase appears to be a response to increasing inflation and the indirect effects could be more noticeable. Is this the start of a rising trend? If so, then if you are contemplating a move, it would be worth doing so quickly; sell before any downward pressure on house prices kicks in, and lock in to a low fixed rate mortgage on your purchase.

As ever, as your local property experts, we’d be happy to advise, without obligation, on how this, and any other market influences, might impact on your moving plans or property value. Please feel free to call us on 01933 224400.

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