HELMORES ESTATE AGENTS
George Clover, Partner
Our business is Helmores, based in Crediton and we deal with any properties in our area (EX17, EX18, EX19, EX20, EX5, EX6) regularly and sell between 250-300 properties of all types every year.
The Christmas 2020 lockdown slowed the market in a different way to the previous lockdowns. We were still able to operate, people could buy and sell with a few restrictions. With home schooling, post-Christmas lockdown and worries about when this will end, many decided to stay put. This led to a shortage of properties, a pattern that is replicated all over the country not just here.
Supply and demand
The housing market is all about supply and demand and right now, supply is low, and demand is high. It is not, in my opinion, that all the good houses are being bought by people from outside the area because they have suddenly decided to move here, it’s that they would have moved here anyway and there’s less properties to go around and they do have deeper pockets than some locals. Combine that with all the local people that have sold or are waiting to sell when their next house comes up – it is a recipe for prices to jump and offers over the guide price. This is what we are seeing and not just the properties with land, village and town properties are going for more too.
There aren’t many properties coming on. Agents are not helping matters by only allowing sold/cash buyers to view which prevents more housing stock coming to the market because they fear they’ll agree a sale and have nowhere to go and this behaviour will prolong this cycle. At Helmores, we are allowing non-proceedable viewings from local people wherever possible for them to start the process of a move, it is in all our interests to do this.
So, what is going to happen? The answer is that we don’t know but something has to give. Either more properties must come on, or less buyers be available. At the moment, it doesn’t look like the latter. The thing is, we live in such a beautiful place, there’s always demand! Let us hope that we gradually see more coming on and get back to that balance and everyone knows where they stand – at the moment it’s the Wild West country.
Pictured property: Beare Farm – Offers over £725,000
BENJAMIN STEVENS, BUSHEY
Joe Masterson, Branch Manager
The market in Bushey has remained extremely hot in the last three months. When working with the seller it is common to include some ‘optimism’ in the initial marketing price certainly for the first few weeks to see the reception from the market. Despite this, we are still seeing properties comfortably securing at or even above their asking prices within days or in some cases hours. Buyers seem to be concerned about missing out on properties and rather than coming second place again they seem to be making extremely compelling offers to sellers right from day one. Combine this with the market warping stamp duty concession and the prices have stayed ‘pushed’. We have also been strict with applicant positions making sure they are proceedable.
Despite this, viewing levels are still at a record high, but it has helped securing prices as we are only out of the office with people in a position to make a decision. Had we been booking viewings for just anyone who wanted to view we likely would have conducted circa 2,000 viewings this year many of which would have been redundant.
Bushey still has a village feel and many people move from Bushey to Bushey so offering a great service and strong communication is key to continuing repeat business year after year. In Bushey we specialise in second hand residential sales and lettings but will always assist/point a seller in the right direction with any type of property need they have.
Although the Stamp Duty concession is soon to end there is no obvious let up in the keenness of buyers. New instructions we are bringing to the market continue to have a typical 7- to10-day period before going under offer even when buyers are made aware that there is no realistic prospect of hitting the stamp duty deadline. This is a marked change from February when buyers seemed more cautious citing that they wanted to see what was going to happen after the stamp duty went back to normal. We are not hearing this now which should lead to a positive second half of 2021.
Indeed, with the lack of holidays likely taking place in 2021 there should be no Summer slump in activity.
Pictured property: Larken Drive, Bushey – £1,199,950
WAKEFIELD, WEST YORKSHIRE
Simon Miller, Partner
The last few months have seen the market quieten down as Covid restrictions were lifted, clients finally could go to the pub, go for a meal and go shopping or on holiday. The level of viewings seemed to drop to a more manageable level, dealing with serious buyers wanting to buy! Instructions have been at an all-time low, some clients not wishing to go on the market knowing there was not anything out there for them to buy, a vicious circle. Demand for properties up to £250,000 continue to be very high with Guide Prices being used as offers are now commonly in excess of the guide price. The upper reaches of the market locally over £500,000 seems to be quietening but there is still very little choice in the market. Transaction times seem to be returning to some kind of normality with some sales now only taking 10 weeks from sale agreed to exchange of contracts.
Rental stock shortage
The rental market is also suffering from a shortage of stock, many landlords seeing the opportunity in the sales boom to cash in and finally sell at a price well in front of 2006. Rental stock is in high demand with a lack of quality stock, many applicants wanting properties with some outside space and an additional room so they can accommodate ‘home working’. Rents continue to increase with the shortage of stock and high demand, quality tenants are also in short supply.
Wakefield continues to be a popular location due to its excellent communication links to the M1/M62 motorway network and rail links to London Leeds and Edinburgh, how prices are still affordable for first time buyers with one or two bedroomed flats available around £100,000, 3-bedroomed semi-detached houses from £200,000 and four-bedroomed homes from £300,000. There is a large new build development on the outskirts of the Wakefield called City Fields with a great range of 2/3/4 homes by a number of larger developers.
Pictured property: Chapelthorpe Hall, Church Lane, Chapelthorpe, Wakefield – £195,000