It’s been another interesting few months in the property market. The press are throwing out all sorts of statistics that require translation. Rightmove for example are enthusiastically pointing out that asking prices have risen lately. This means nothing, let’s focus on selling prices and market influences.
Is the market rising or falling?
It depends who you listen to. Rightmove and most estate agents say yes, some lenders say no, some news sources say definitely not. In reality, we won’t know the full picture until we see the land registry figures which are currently around 6 months behind.
So what DO we know?
The market has cooled since last year and according to Nationwide, it’s now in decline, albeit slight. There are still plenty of buyers and sellers around, but buyers are price savvy. Meanwhile, too many agents are over-valuing homes in order to win listings. Why? Because they’re playing a numbers game – list 20 houses, half will stick around for a price reduction and eventually sell. They usually invest £200 or so in marketing so it’s no skin off their nose if they lose an instruction. Not only is it immensely frustrating for honest agents, it’s also highly irresponsible and self-serving as it actually costs sellers money in the long term.
We’re now taking on properties we lost out on over the last 9 months to over-valuing agents as sellers realise they were sold the dream, not the reality. In the meantime, some have lost a significant amount of money in mortgage interest. And that’s just one of many negative impacts on price. Call us to find out the whole story.
What should sellers do?
Ask agents to justify the valuation of your home. They should come armed with statistics on SOLD properties.
Make sure your agent can and will market the hell out of your property – pricing, presentation, negotiation, sales progression. These factors add up to best price and successful sales.
What’s to come?
Investment from overseas in the prime and super-prime markets remains strong as the UK is a safe bet for property investment. Money is coming in from the US (favourable exchange rates), Hong Kong (political uncertainty) China and the Middle East.
Within the UK there are still plenty of people who want to move and need to move. Some put off moving when the market was incredibly busy, as it was just too stressful. There are also a significant number of buyers who sold in the last year or two and went into rented accommodation, they are now looking to buy.
Watch this space…
One factor I’m very interested in is the impact of the shrinking rental market. Over the last few years, the government have put increasing measures in play to disincentivise the rental market. I get why – they want to ensure first time buyers can afford properties instead of ‘wealthy’ landlords. In reality, there is and always will be a need for rental properties (between moves, students, relationship separations, relocations…) indeed, the government rely on private rental properties to meet social housing demand. Meanwhile, the shortage of rental properties is driving up rental prices. Add this to the rise in the cost of living and tenants saving for a deposit are swimming against the tide more than ever. It’s a perfect storm.
According to Zoopla, 11% of available properties are ex rental properties landlords are selling because a) it’s no longer financially viable and b) it’s too much hassle. This problem will only get worse as further measures come into play that benefit tenants at the cost of landlords. I give it 5 years before the government realise what they’ve done and incentivise people to become landlords!
We still have a housing shortage, in terms of sale and rental properties, so although the market fluctuates from time to time, in the long term it will continue to rise.
To discuss the sale of your home, please do call us. We’ll give you an honest view.
Founder & Director
Kai Carter Estates