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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 Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, London and Doncaster.

The Negotiator
MIDDLESEX, HERTFORDSHIRE AND BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Paul Gillespie imagePaul Gillespie MNAEA MARLA, Director
Gibbs Gillespie

The UK’s housing market has had plenty to contend with over the last year or so; the shock referendum result, the uncertain conclusion to the snap election, additional taxes for investors, rising inflation, and slower wage growth to name a few.

That said, it is certainly not all doom and gloom. Low interest and mortgage rates, record levels of employment and resilience in the economy have boosted confidence in parts of the market. First time buyers have been able to take advantage of weaker investor demand. UK Finance reports that the number of first time buyers in the first five months of the year was 9 per cent higher than in the same period of 2016, with one in three properties sold to first time buyers, the highest level since January (naea | propertymark).

Property imageRightmove reported that between August and September average asking prices of homes coming to the market dropped by 1.2 per cent. This is the first September fall recorded since 2013 and represents an average decrease of £3,660 per property which could be perceived as encouraging news for those looking to purchase a property.

However, sellers shouldn’t be too alarmed as the number of sales agreed is higher than this time last year, showing that demand remains strong for property that is priced correctly from the outset.

With a diverse housing stock, excellent transport links to the capital, and good schools, our offices offer homes for all buyers and attract a broad spectrum of interest, from first time buyers to families looking for substantial, upmarket properties and we currently have a superb choice of homes available.

Sellers who have adjusted their expectations to take account of the current economic climate are finding that correctly priced properties are continuing to generate good levels of interest from buyers and we are very confident that well-priced properties will continue to sell throughout the rest of 2017.

The rise in tenant activity means there is increased price stability in the lettings market. It is, nonetheless, still important for landlords to ensure properties are well-maintained, presented at their best and expertly managed by their agent. Latest tax implications are impacting on landlords’ profits and so it is more essential than ever to prevent void periods.

As things currently stand, it looks as if 2018 will continue to see Brexit dominating the political landscape but we await the Chancellor’s autumn statement on November 22nd with interest to see whether there are any changes that will impact on the property market.

EDGWARE, NORTH LONDON

Steve Wayne imageSteve Wayne, Director
Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents

Our local market continues to be buoyant, being at the end of the Northern Line will always bring new people into the area, to buy and rent – which in turn brings a very healthy Buy to Let market with lots of demand from tenants. However, rents have dipped slightly. House prices have remained stable and demand continues to outstrip supply.

Edgware, North London, property imageEdgware is home to one of the top schools in the country, North London Collegiate and some of the local primary schools are excellent. There are many different communities that thrive in Edgware, bringing their own character to the area, this is also fuelling demand for homes from these communities.

Benjamin Stevens deals with all property requirements, sales, lettings, investments, and since January we can also offer full block management services since our acquisition of Frederick George.

What separates Benjamin Stevens from our competitors is Director Steven Wayne’s personal vision that service comes first. Although we are a business we have always believed that by doing the right thing and behaving in the correct way everything else follows and we have worked hard over a number of years to bring in staff with the same ethos. It hasn’t been an overnight success but hard work and our company values have enabled us to become market leaders in our area.

DONCASTER, SOUTH YORKSHIRE

Frances Bowling, Moss Properties, imageFrances Bowling, Assistant Manager
Moss Properties

Moss Properties has been growing since 2006 and Rightmove currently confirms us as the leading letting agent for new instructions and lets agreed.

Doncaster, South Yorkshire, property imageThe Doncaster property market has seen an increase in buyers 0ver the past 12 months with average viewings per sale increasing from 14 in January 2017 to 35 viewings per sale in October 2017 this is also supported with our average property price to sale price which for January 2017 was 99 per cent compared to 108 per cent in September 2017; buyers are pushing prices up.

Interestingly, there has been an influx of first time buyers taking advantage of the low mortgage rates which even after the Bank of England announced the rise in interest rates we found there to be no knock-on effect yet in Doncaster and I don’t feel there will be a negative impact in the recent months to come as mortgage rates are still the lowest they have been for years.

However more interestingly, first time landlords who are simply not getting the return on their cash from the banks are seeking stronger returns in property – as well as experienced landlords looking to extend their portfolio particularly from the South are pinpointing Doncaster as an up and coming town for property investors. Contrary to media reports, the tax relief changes currently being staged in by the government are not deterring them. In fact the number of managed properties continues to grow as we continue to acquire new rental properties. As we enter 2018 I believe this story will continue; an increase in buyers coming to market, fewer properties coming to market and an increase in rental properties.

December 19, 2017

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