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Coalface reports: Torquay, Norwich & Sawbridgeworth

Each month we visit three agents across the country to discover what is happening in their businesses and local market. This month we meet members of The Guild of Property Professionals in Torquay, Norwich and Sawbridgeworth.

The Negotiator

Clare Gargan imageCLARE GARGAN
Gargan & Hart Estate Agents

Aside from its seaside Riviera reputation there’s more to Torquay than you might think and the completion of the South Devon Link Road in December 2015 has opened up access to the Bay and encouraged more businesses to open.

Torquay property image

STATS: Average sale price: £160,000 Average viewings to sale ratio: 13 Property price to sale price: 97%

We continue to attract thousands of holidaymakers who make their way to Torquay every year and hopefully the improved road link will entice them to stay permanently, make a career move or buy a holiday home.

One of the Bay’s big three towns, Torquay offers the most diverse range of properties with an amazing choice of locations; including areas such as Chelston, Livermead and Shiphay which enjoy a reputation for highly regarded schools, public transport and good local shops.

Gargan & Hart Estate Agents covers residential sales and lettings and has been established in the bustling suburb of Chelston since 2011, experiencing the highs and lows of the housing market. It’s been a challenging first quarter to 2017! Everyone knows that the balance of supply versus demand exerts the greatest influence over property values. Yet, as we approach the spring market, the annual rate of house price growth is at its lowest for four years at 2.3 per cent (Land Registry), but with demand remaining strong. Pricing appears to be more sensitive than it has for some time and we are seeing asking prices of some properties (for both sale and to let) rising due to the shortage in supply of new properties coming onto the market, with certain agents inflating the market price by overvaluing to win an instruction onto their listings.

Inflation has passed two per cent but interest rates are not expected to rise yet; however, with Article 50 invoked, many people wanting to get on the property ladder are watching how Brexit will affect the housing market and their personal circumstances.

Landlords with portfolios have continued to buy but tougher affordability checks for buy-to-let mortgages and the impending withdrawal of tax relief on mortgage interest has slowed down the speculative investor. We are seeing a rise in the numbers of properties going on the market with online agents as homeowners look for cheaper alternatives to the traditional high street agent.

However, despite this ‘uncertainty’ Gargan & Hart Estate Agents has remained strong in our area and we are now focusing on communicating our ‘points of remarkability’ to both sellers and buyers, reminding ourselves that our future vendors may well have bought through us and still remember how we treated them as buyers!


Ian Harris, Watsons Property, image

Watsons Property, MNAEA MARLA.
Associate. Regional Executive
East Anglia naea | propertymark

As one of Norfolk’s leading property firms, Watsons has a first class reputation for providing the very best in people, expertise and experience. With closely integrated and highly skilled teams, we offer clients a complete range of property services including Survey and Valuation, Block Management, Building Services, Residential Lettings and Residential Sales.

Norfolk property image

STATS: Average annual price rise currently: +9.16% First time buyer registrations: +100% Average sale price: £215,944

The Norwich market is currently driven by good economic growth and in common with other strong local economies, property prices are rising. The most obvious evidence of this is the expansion of the Norwich Research Park to the west, and Broadland Business Park to the East. The ongoing construction of the Northern Distributer Road will ease access to Norwich airport but also to the rural areas to the East and North of Norwich, which include the Norfolk Broads and North Norfolk Coast, where Watsons’ offices continue to be busy.

Norwich has also been boosted by national media recognition as being a great place to live, notably the Golden Triangle in the southwest of the city and the NR6 suburbs of Hellesdon and Old Catton.

In 2016, prices rose by 9.16 per cent according to the Land Registry, and the market feels as though it is continuing similarly in 2017. However, in common with many other parts of the country, stock levels are low and the Land Registry also shows us that transaction levels are down 19 per cent on the previous year, despite the numbers of newbuilds increasing. Watsons’ commitment to high standards of customer service coupled with a modern approach to sales and marketing saw our numbers of completed transactions increase by 8 per cent in the same period.

Now we have the first four months of 2017 under our belts, it is encouraging to see changes in the market, which continues with a stable level of buy-to-let purchases. Emerging trends include an increase in enquiries from homeowners looking to move, but the outstanding statistic is the number of first time buyers, which have risen by 100 per cent compared with the same period in 2016 and their average maximum budget has risen from £182,000 to just over £192,000, with parental contributions to deposits a frequent feature.


Adam Mackay imageADAM MACKAY
Mackay Properties

With a modern approach to business, Mackay Property ensures great results every time, as many customers are willing to testify. Based in the heart of Sawbridgeworth, a semi-rural Hertfordshire town with excellent and quick access to both London and Cambridge, we have built an enviable reputation since we set up in 2010. Mackay Property specialises in residential sales, lettings, land and new homes, covering a wide area across the Hertfordshire and Essex borders.

Hertfordshire property image

STATS: Average rental price: £1,025 pcm Average sale price: £494,508 Guide price v Sale Price: 99.33%

We use the latest technology to market properties, including extensive use of paid targeted social media posts, video tours and drone photography, to reach the widest possible audience.

We share our expertise with the local community by producing and distributing monthly market updates with statistics on what’s happening in the local property market. Much of our business comes from personal recommendations.

Originally trained in marketing, I now have a broad industry knowledge based on more than 17 years in the local estate agency business.

Operating in the areas around Stansted Airport and the M11/ A120 corridors, there is always a broad spectrum of property available, with everything from investment properties, family homes to country estates and building plots to new builds.

Our core area is Sawbridgeworth and Bishops Stortford, a buoyant commuter area with the average sale price currently at £494,508 for Q1 2017.

We are seeing huge demand for quality homes in central town locations, worth prices up to £500,000. The main attractions for buyers here are transport links and good schooling. There are still some hot spots above the £600,000 in central town locations. Generally, the higher the price in more rural locations, the harder it is to secure a quick sale at a good price. This is where a quality agent is required to recommend the right price, not just what the client wants to hear!

New builds are achieving a premium price per square foot and are in high demand in all price ranges, subject to a quality specification such as the property shown in the picture, which has just gone under offer, listed at a guide price of £1,200,000.


June 16, 2017

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