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Behind the headlines

Kate Faulkner says agents need to counter the wave of negativity in the press and shout about which properties and areas are still doing well.

Kate Faulkner

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Looking at the latest news headlines, it’s fairly obvious that most of the media think that it’s only bad news stories that ‘sell’ property articles to its readers. The Daily Mail has produced a map with, “How much has YOUR home fallen in value? Interactive map reveals areas where property prices have PLUNGED by up to £20K in just a month – with sales now slumped to pre-Covid levels”

While the Independent reports “UK house prices fall for fourth month running – here are the areas most affected”

and the Telegraph suggests that “Britain suffers biggest housing downturn since financial crisis”

But, as we know, the fuel for many of these headlines is twofold – firstly typically very large geographical areas which are meaningless to individual buyers and sellers and secondly for me, the belief that ‘doom and gloom about property ‘sells content’ rather than ‘good news’.

Kate Faulkner

Kate Faulkner

A more balanced approach, which would be super helpful to buyers and sellers and those very nervous about re-mortgaging, would be to show areas that are doing well too, educating people to find out what’s happening in their local markets, before deciding to buy and sell.

But in the absence of this, it’s really important for local property market experts to shout about what is selling and what’s good value to help keep the market going. This isn’t out of selfishness, we need to make sure that people aren’t ‘scared off’ from moving who need to due to their personal circumstances, for no reason.

Which areas and property types are doing well?

As our monthly property price report shows, FTBs have, up until the last few months, been pretty active in the market, as have cash buyers. According to Rightmove:

“The numbers of sales agreed in June in the mid-market second-stepper sector and the top-of-the-ladder sector are 14% behind 2019’s level.

“Smaller home, two-bedrooms and fewer market sector has been less impacted, with June’s sales agreed figure 9% below 2019’s level.”

However, the news gets even better for some, according to the latest RICS survey. Although the media often quote the ‘generic’ information from this survey, what I love is the individual comments from the surveyors you find at the back of the report.

Properties doing well

In their latest UK Residential Market Survey, the following comments show that some areas and property types are still doing well. In Yorkshire and the Humber, most of the surveyors, such as Ben Hudson, Hudson Moody, York, are reporting a ‘steady market’ and one that is ‘more resilient’ than suggested by the media. James Watts, Robert Watts Estate Agents, Cleckheaton, points out that it is ‘surprisingly resilient up to £250,000’.

North West, Martin Davies, Countrywide Surveyors, Nantwich says: “Houses prices have remained surprisingly resilient to recent mortgage rate increases and the cost of living crisis, particularly at the lower end of the market. This is due in part to a continual shortage of houses available for sale.”

East Midlands, Peter Buckingham, Andrew Granger & Co, Market Harborough: “Prices are holding reasonably well in certain price brackets due to lack of properties for sale” and Tom Wilson, King West, Stamford says “With vendors showing increasing pragmatism in the face of buyers looking for deals, activity has been encouraging.”

No-one knows better than a local agent, working at the coalface.

In East Anglia, David Ousby, Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Kings Lynn points out that it’s not all about buying and selling: The “PRS market demand very strong, significant demand for all property types, especially newer 2-4 bed house.”

Rupert Merrison, Dexters, London: “The market in London remains busy despite what you might read. Buyers recognise that current mortgage rates are the new norm and are pressing on with their moves.”

Marion Currie, Galbraith, Dumfries & Galloway: “The summer continues in a steady manner, some buyer caution is evident but, still seeing a healthy number of sales at solid prices.”

Samuel Dickey, Simon Brien Residential, Belfast :“The market continues at a strong pace with values holding up despite the interest rate increases.”

Thomas O’Doherty, Simon Brien Residential, Belfast: “The market has remained resilient despite the wider negative reports on other regions of the UK.”

Post code lottery

In addition, TheAdvisory gives even more detail of areas that are doing well. Currently, of their top 25 postcodes, in BS7 75% of properties on the market are under offer, through to 66% in RG22. Others doing well are BS7, NE7, BS5, BS4, S8, BS3, BS2, M21, S9, BS15, CV31, BN42, KT9, B25, BS6, BS11, S12, BD18, WV12, RG31, BS16, M20, CB4, M33 and RG22.

But the reality is that no-one knows better what’s doing well than a local agent working on the coalface. So, if you have properties in certain streets that are still selling well, it’s worth shouting about – either on social or in the traditional media.

October 2, 2023

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