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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 Kent, Devon and London.

The Negotiator

Victoria Field imageVictoria Field, Cooke & Co

2018 will mark the 26th Year that Cooke & Co Estate & Lettings Agent has been trading as a successful independent company. Cooke & Co has grown to be a formidable presence throughout the Isle Of Thanet and has built up a great local team with a wealth of experience within the property industry and the local area.

Kent coastal areas property image

We have found throughout 2017 the main challenge has been the perception potential vendors have in terms of ‘value for money’ with online Estate Agents. Although these Online Agents are slowly building a presence in the market place, we have been mindful to continue to demonstrate the value of how important customer service and traditional values are within this industry.

As many of our staff have been with the company for over 10 years we can offer unrivalled local knowledge, experience and an honest approach to buying and selling homes. Every member of our staff is well versed with every transaction and therefore vendors and buyers aren’t told they have to wait for someone to call them back. Another excellent advantage is that Cooke & Co offers a step by step guide throughout the sale process and Sales Progression comes as standard which often isn’t the case with an online agent. Having this approach has actually increased our fees throughout 2017 as this often demonstrates value for money, rather than paying a cheap fee and having to guide your own way through the minefield we call sales progression.

Margate’s regeneration project is continuing to have a snowball effect moving into 2018 which is a promising sign, this is still a great magnet to the London Market we have seen so greatly throughout the last couple of years. Whilst in Ramsgate, along with the HS1 Rail Link, shortening travel times to and from London in addition the town is only 1 in 10 areas across the UK to have been given a Heritage Award, this could potential lead to further interest and investment within the area. The historical properties in Ramsgate are rivalling those similar to South Kensington but without the same hefty price tag.

The quaint town of Broadstairs still remains a hot spot for holiday makers and the retired market with its wonderful beaches, boutique shops and mixture of delightful period properties and more modern bungalows.

Overall, we do not expect to see the same level of increase in prices as in 2016-17 (these were around 10 per cent). However, we are expecting a more stable year with a growth of between two to five per cent which will give buyers and vendors more confidence, vendors knowing they are getting the best price for their home and buyers more confident that the market is unlikely to decrease and their secure in their investment. Here’s to a great 2018!

Average Commission: 1.3% 50% of
Stock is: Currently Under Offer
Average Sale Price: £275,000


Adam Tahir imageAdam Tahir, Fine & Country Finsbury Park www.fineandcountry.com/uk/finsbury-park

Our office is positioned between two of the most sought after locations in North London, Crouch End & Highbury. These spots, three miles apart, attract great buyers, drawn by some of London’s most stunning architecture, and building styles.

Finsbury Park church image

Finsbury Park station is one of the largest and busiest stations in London and offers the perfect access route to pretty much anywhere in London, including a mere few stops and minutes to the city (Moorgate), or two key underground routes, the Piccadilly Line and the Victoria Line.

Furthermore, there is great access for family and friends from nearby towns, who have very little hardship getting to our area as the Northern Line also passes through and goes as far as Cambridge, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

In terms of local amenities and the differences between the two locations, we have a vast selection of independent coffee houses, restaurants, gastro pubs, Michelin star restaurants as well as – on the other side of the coin – vibrant nightlife bars, cinemas and some of the best street food locations the UK has to offer.

Before the change in Stamp Duty I would have said that the lack of first-time buyers was due to the prices in the area. However, since the change in stamp duty for first time buyers we have actually seen an incredible uplift in enquiries.

The abundant new builds and their ‘Help to buy’ schemes are highly attractive, due to deposit contributions, offering the opportunity for first time buyers to get on the ladder without needing a huge sum of cash.

Recently, our new auction department has worked magnificently. We are now in a position where sellers may sell their home without paying any fees and still achieve an optimum price in the market.

Average Sale: £776,000 Average commission: 1.56% + VAT
Average £ commission: £12,105.60
Sales: 26 viewings per month Lettings: 13 per month


James Stevens imageJames Stevens, Stevens Estate Agents

Last year Stevens Estate Agents celebrated its 40th anniversary, marking the occasion by inviting previous employees, associates, friends and family to a special lunch at the local Rugby Club.

Okehampton, Devon, image

James Stevens took over ownership of the company from his father in 2008 and has successfully developed the business through some difficult times – and he continues to adapt, innovate and improve the company’s services with modern additions including in-house drone photography, an online valuation facility, bespoke magazines and virtual viewings.

Our main area, Okehampton and the surrounding villages has seen considerable growth and change over the last few years with hundreds more properties due to be built in the immediate future. This combined with excellent amenities, schools and access roads creates a fantastic picture for the local area for the years ahead.

Excitingly there is talk of a railway link being reinstated between Okehampton and Exeter which will greatly improve the commuting options for the residents in the area. In addition, the A30 provides important and strategic links to the M5 and into Cornwall. These commuting options combined with the attractive scenery of Dartmoor and many rugged coastlines only 40 minutes away has made our local area attractive to buyers retiring from other areas, especially the South East.

Recognising this trend, the team was very excited to be asked to join the Guild of Property Professionals and also continues to be a member of Experts in Property, which, combined, has been paramount to Stevens’ continued success, providing important coverage and advertising of its properties across the country.

Despite some uncertainly around Brexit and increasing competition, Stevens Estate Agents is increasingly optimistic about the market ahead. Over the past 12 months we have seen a considerable increase in transactions, especially with lower priced properties mainly due to a sharp increase in first time buyers.

This should have a knock on effect to the rest of the market and, with interest rates still low, no stamp duty payable for first time buyers and more properties being built, the picture looks good.

Average sale price: £225,000 Average rent: £590pm
Number 1 on new instructions and sales agreed in the EX20 area
(Rightmove stats)

February 1, 2018

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