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Each month we visit three agents across the country to discover what is happening in their businesses and local markets. This month we visit winners from last year’s The Negotiator Awards based in Leeds, East Sussex and London.

SEAFORD, East Sussex

Seaford house imageSTATS
Average sale price: £300,000
Average price increase over last 12 months: 8%
Average rental price: £800pcm
Greatest buyer demand: Three-bedroom family homes for second-time buyers
Greatest rental demand: Three-bedroom houses.

Stephen Newberry image
Stephen Newberry

Seaford is the largest town in the Lewes District with a population of around 27,000.

Situated between Brighton and Eastbourne the town has a broad and popular appeal. For those who love being on the coast we have an unspoilt beach, countryside lovers can enjoy the South Downs which surround the town and for nightlife and shopping, Brighton and Eastbourne are well served by trains and bus routes. Commercially there is still a vibrant, traditional town centre with a good selection of coffee shops and independent retailers mixed with some national chain stores.

I founded the agency in 1987 and I would say the biggest change I have noticed over the years is the ages of many of our buyers. Ten years ago there were lots of couples in their mid-twenties looking to get on the property ladder, buy a starter home, begin a family and look to move to bigger places eventually. Now we are seeing more couples in the mid-to-late-thirties looking to buy and establish long-term family homes. The quality of the local primary schools is a draw for these families.

Also the town attracts people who have been priced out of moving in Brighton, Hove or Lewes, and it offers them a very affordable and attractive alternative.

Bishopstone and Alfriston are smaller, attractive villages on the outskirts of the town. There is healthy and respectful competition among agents in the town with eight different firms serving the market.

Current stock we have on our books ranges from a one-bedroom retirement flat on the market at £94,950 to a four-bedroom bungalow on one of the town’s premier roads which has gone under offer at £699,950.

Properties to rent are in great demand with the number of people looking far outstripping what’s available.

My business partner and Co-Director Andrew Tully and I are both very involved with the local community. In Seaford the amount of different clubs, groups and associations that are thriving is testimony to the town’s community spirit.

On top of all of this, during the summer the sea’s temperature reaches up to 68 Fahrenheit providing a perfect opportunity to cool off.

Stephen Newberry is the Founder and Co-Director of Newberry Tully in Seaford, East Sussex.

LEEDS, North West

Leeds property imageSTATS
Average rental price:
Average rental price increase over last 12 months: 4.5%
Average lettings fee: £219 incl. VAT
Number of rental properties currently available: 18
Number of property inspections: 53
Number of property viewings: 52

Glenn Broadwell image
Glenn Broadwell

Based in Otley since 2008 we have steadily built a managed portfolio of properties across the West of Leeds. The demand for rental properties is high especially on the Ilkley to Leeds Wharfedale trainline with premium rents higher within a 15-minute walk from the train stations.

Last year we completed on a major acquisition that more than doubled our rental stock with apartments on the Victoria Mills complex in Shipley. We now manage more than half of the apartments onsite which were predominately sold as buy-to-lets. The site is a 10 minute walk to the local train station, which attracts professional tenants that commute from the cities of Leeds and Bradford with only a 15-minute train journey.

We have seen a slight slowdown in enquiries in recent weeks after two months of high demand, including July with 21 tenant applications which was our second best month’s trading figures since opening.

In the last 10 years Leeds has seen major planning applications accepted for housing developments on former large scale buildings, including hospitals, mill complexes and factories. This has seen growth of small communities with a mixture of houses and apartments and affordable home incentives. The conversions of buildings that retain their Yorkshire stone character attracts new homeowners and tenants – paying a premium in the process.

We find that the transient nature of tenants in today’s market suits short-term tenancies, as we have many doctors, subcontractors and teachers as tenants who are either on short-term contracts or are on a long-term training programme that means the nature of their jobs takes them to several locations over that period. When applying to rent a property, tenants have the ability to state the term of tenancy and the majority want a six-month rolling contract.

Glenn Broadwell is the owner of Belvoir Leeds North West.


London propety imageSTATS
Average property price: £517,492
Average let: £375pw
Number of sales viewings: 250
Number of sales agreed: 13
Number of tenancies agreed: 63
How quickly properties are let (once put on the market): 10 days

Robert Lazarus image
Robert Lazarus

London is a network of small neighbourhoods with distinct personalities and West Hampstead’s shines through brightly. Its village like atmosphere, excellent transport links, independent shops and restaurants entice young professionals and families alike.

Property in West Hampstead primarily consists of converted and refurbished Edwardian and Victorian buildings although there is a notable number of mansion blocks too. In recent years a few new build sites have been developed and these are popular with first-time buyers and buy-to-let landlords.

Demand is steady and a limited supply has led to a rise in house prices and rents. With a number of local schools rated ‘Good’ and ‘Excellent’ by Ofsted many young professionals opt to stay in the area to start a family. Families who want to live within a catchment area and have access to outside space are restricted to a few streets, increasing demand further in those areas.

One-bedroom flats close to the three train stations on West End Lane are popular with young professionals and sell and let for a higher price than properties a few streets away. New developments close to the station are generating interest from buyers in other London neighbourhoods like St Johns Wood, Marylebone, Maida Vale, Holland Park and Notting Hill.

Property is commanding £1,000 per sq ft with first-time buyers fuelling demand, accounting for 60 per cent of sales over the summer. The average sales price in the area is £517,000 and we expect prices to continue rising towards the end of the year.

The lettings market thrives too with rents reaching £1,900pcm on average in August. With families and sharers wanting to move in the summer, a large proportion of our available lettings stock has been three, four and five-bedroom houses, driving up the average rent. With 70 per cent of properties let on the first viewing this summer it is clear that the demand is there as long as the product is up to scratch.

Tenants and homeowners want to be part of a local community. With West Hampstead ranking in the top eight per cent nationwide for community in the Rightmove Happy at Home Index we expect demand for property to continue for a long time.

Robert Lazarus is the Director of Paramount in West Hampstead, North-West London.

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