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Regional report

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

The Negotiator
Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire

Claire Giblin imageCLAIRE GIBLIN
Owner, Giblin Property

At Giblin Property we are all local people and it’s our local knowledge and connections that set us apart from our competitors. We are very active within our community, not only sponsoring and supporting local events and having regular coffee mornings but also holding the ‘Good Neighbours Scheme’ community mobile phone that people in need can call if they need assistance. People choose us because they know and trust us. The villages that we work within, on the borders of Beds, Bucks and Herts, represent excellent value for money and are suited to a wide market due to the local amenities, including two excellent primary schools, a selection of shops and an award winning Indian restaurant.

Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, property image

STATS: Average sale price £482,000 Average commission fee 1% Average number of sales viewing 109 per month.

We have excellent road and rail links very close by; London Euston can be reached from Leighton Buzzard or Tring stations with a fast train being approximately 30 mins, making it ideal for commuters, and London Luton International Airport is approximately 12 miles away (about a 30 min drive).

We also have our traditional family market who upsize and downsize within the area, attracted by the excellent schooling which includes the Buckinghamshire grammar schools, and our local landlords who achieve an excellent return on investment with rents higher than average in the region.

We have a good mixture of types of properties for sale… our cheapest being a 1 bedroom flat for sale at £150,000 and our most expensive is a beautiful farmhouse in a Buckinghamshire village on the market for £1,200,000.

The business was established in 2010 in my home village where my family still lives and we cover both sales and lettings, both departments seeing continual significant growth since we began and we have a great team of seven working hard to achieve this. Fortunately we are not at risk of losing instructions to the online agents here and I don’t foresee this to be an imminent problem. Our clients want to be able to pop in to the office when they need to and if they need assistance with form filling or just want some general advice we are always on hand. They are happy to pay for the service we provide and client care is a priority for us.

Without doubt we are currently experiencing a ‘lull’ in the level of activity in the sales market and difficult conversations are sometimes being had with our clients, quite often face-to-face in their home, with regards to low offers and price reductions. Despite this, the level of new instructions to market remains consistent with what we target to achieve and if the property is priced correctly to reflect the current climate, it will sell.

DARTFORD

Aaron Fortune imageAARON FORTUNE
Branch Manager, Clifton & Co

2017 has seen a number of changes within the industry from the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the EU, changes to legislation in the buy to let market, low interest rates across a number of products particularly 5 year fixed terms that have been over looked for many years and the ever popular topic of the “Hybrid Agents” or as we see them the “D.I.Y.” option. All this said Belvedere and Bexley Borough on a wider scale has experienced considerable price increases over the last eighteen months.

Dartford property image

STATS: Average sale price £301,666 Average fee 1.25% Average viewings per property 13

With the new CrossRail link in Abbey Wood opening scheduled in 2018, commuters will soon be able to enjoy a 12 minute journey to central London and we envisage further price increases as the work progresses and completes in late December 2019, saving commuters on average 20 minutes per journey into the capital.

Our biggest impact locally is the lack of property coming to the market, driving up prices, creating competition between buyers as we tend to have multiple offers from buyers all in similar positions; first time buyers desperate to get on the property ladder, buy to let investors keen to secure investments in such an up and coming area. We now have such a great variation of properties – from flats up to the larger family homes such as the desirable Victorian properties.

We are seeing a trend of homeowners living here for as long as fifty years, watching house prices increase beyond their dreams, now finding themselves in a position to relocate outside of the “London” market and enjoy a quieter life, beautiful countryside and seaside locations across Kent paving the way for the younger generation and commuters to purchase in this popular town.

Due to a lack of stock we have found fierce competition amongst agents, along with the growth of online agents, a challenge that we at Clifton & Co relish. Often in market conditions such as these vendors frustration remains the same, a lack of communication frequently leading them to a change of agent during their time on the market. At Clifton & Co we are forever striving to maintain our image as the agent they can trust.

 

BIRMINGHAM CITY CENTRE

Philip Jackson imagePHILIP JACKSON
Maguire Jackson

Birmingham has benefited this year from the increasing investment caution in London and the South East and the falling pound. Investment monies coming in from outside the UK are the highest I have seen. The local market too has benefited from the announcement of HS2 and the building up of their team in the City, alongside the arrival of more HSBC staff relocating, ready for their new retail headquarters, currently being built opposite the new library which is due for completion early next year.

Birmingham City Centre property image

STATS: Average Sale Price £230,000 Average rental price £870 pcm Average viewings to sale ratio 8

The tower cranes now on the skyline are invariably building apartments that have already been sold individually or increasingly as whole blocks to PRS funds. They are quickly expanding their rental portfolios of flats. For agents like ourselves the key has been ensuring that we have enough stock as good properties sell fast and offers over asking prices are not uncommon.

We launched Maguire Jackson Online this spring, building upon a service we already had but white labelling a clever piece of existing software. For us the key is to take more instructions in the immediate suburbs where, unlike the City Centre, we can erect boards plus where our brand is known by vendors.

We have already secured several instructions from those considering the market leader who were attracted to the fixed priced online service but preferred our expert valuation alongside our three local offices. We have now been trading thirteen years and are recognised as market leaders here in the City Centre, according to the market statistics. Certainly, we enjoy working in the City centre and the now see the maturing of a market which is acknowledging the downsizers now coming in and the upsizers looking for larger apartments. Developers have woken up to this demand by building in some locations less units but larger. The Jewellery Quarter particularly has benefitted from this.

Prices in the City has risen sharply in recent years. One beds start from £130,000 to £200,000. Two beds from £180,000 to £600,000 with the bulk below £350k. There are very limited numbers of three beds flats with most buyers preferring the size but having fewer rooms. There are exceptions over £1m but these are very limited. Likewise there are a few town houses and we would like more.

August 21, 2017

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