Director, Debbie Fortune Estate Agents
The Wrington Vale and Chew Valley are the jewels in the crown of the Somerset countryside south of Bristol. Both are really popular for many reasons, not least for ease of the commuting to Bristol, Bath and Wells, but also to London and the South East via the motorway network and mainline rail.
Bristol Airport provides easy travel across the UK and Europe. The area offers outstanding state schools, private and boarding schools. Many of our buyers want all of these, combined with the country or village lifestyle and unspoilt environment, which still offers local facilities and strong communities.
At the end of the first quarter of a year, we look at how well we performed in the previous three months and try to predict where the market will go for the rest of the year. This year, we noticed a similar trend between both of our offices, which are both significantly busier than this time last year.
Comparing the first quarter of 2016 with the same period in 2015, we registered 5 per cent more applicants and conducted 5 per cent more viewings on our properties. This is good news as it shows that our marketing is attracting the buyers to come to us and that they are liking what they see! The statistics also demonstrates an increase in sales by almost 70 per cent, when comparing the number of sales with the last year (this is before any fall-throughs).
It shows that we truly have a team of skilled professionals, who know the industry well, and that we have quality properties to sell, resulting in becoming the market leaders in the area.
An important part of this trend, though, is definitely supply and demand. Where demand for housing is greater than supply, buyers are quick to make a decision about a property, often making an
offer after a first viewing in case they miss out to a buyer viewing later! This trend is further substantiated by the fact that our fall-through rates are also lower than last year, and buyers are ‘sticking with it’ much more than before, rather than pulling out from a purchase if problems develop.
We have also seen competitive bidding on a number of properties and are finding ‘our best and final offer’ procedures coming regularly into play. Often, when the buyers’ bids are not successful having followed the rules, they tend to submit further offers after the closing date!
Our lettings arm is also breaking records with business 57 per cent higher than in 2015 and everything points to a record year at both our offices.
SCARBOROUGH, NORTH YORKSHIRE
Director, RJS Estates
Here in Scarborough we are fortunate to have such a diversity of property. We have period cottage homes in rural villages, smart Victorian and Edwardian terraces, handsome semidetached houses built during the 1930s as well as a modern mix of bungalows and purpose built apartments. We have sea views, picturesque countryside vistas and harbourside fisherman’s cottages. There is something for everyone.
The property market in Scarborough and the surrounding villages is buoyant with purchasers still coming from far and wide to enjoy the lifestyle that this coastal area provides. We have seen an upsurge in popularity for properties over £250,000 with bungalows still proving very popular. Flats and apartments, especially those close to the sea also receive interest from the second home market.
There are a number of large newbuild estates that are having an effect on the smaller terraced property sales as first time buyers take up the government help to buy schemes.
The recent increase in stamp duty has not had an immediate effect on the second home market and we expect that, with all that Scarborough has to offer for holidaymakers, students and locals, this will not change.
Continuing investment in the town has brought us an Open Air Theatre, popular with many big name artists, the upgrading of North Bay which now provides a lovely walk to town and South Bay and our eagerly awaited water park is well on its way to being built. We will soon be the proud recipients of a brand new purpose built multi complex sports centre which is being developed just outside the town centre.
Coventry University is taking over the campus to the south of Scarborough and this will bring younger activity in the market which investors will be keen to support.
RJS has recently become an exclusive member of The Guild of Professional Estate Agents. This appointment means that we have been judged to have met or exceeded the Guilds exacting membership criteria. Being chosen to represent The Guild in Scarborough is a great honour and a tribute to all the hard work we have invested over many years into building our reputation for exceptional service.
WAKEFIELD, WEST YORKSHIRE
Director, Holroyd Miller
In the first three months of this year we were fortunate to have an excellent ‘Sold’ pipeline on second properties completing very quickly, most within one month.
This comes as no surprise given the new three per cent Stamp Duty surcharge on second homes that – rather unexpectedly – landed in the market in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. However, what may come as a surprise to learn is that this rush wasn’t from those landlord investors eager to secure another buy-to-let property for their portfolio.
Sadly, the impetus came mainly from divorced couples, where both names are still on the mortgage of the matrimonial home leaving the individual looking to buy their own home in a bit of rush to complete before the ‘second home’ element of the purchase.
Unfortunately our investors are still licking their wounds on investing potential but it has helped first time buyers looking to snap up a small property.
We are, however, still in the fortuitous position of attracting buyers looking for a cheaper alternative to Leeds. Professionals and first time buyers are attracted to the suburbs of Wakefield, which are ideally placed on direct commuter links to Leeds without the premium price often seen in the suburbs of Leeds.
We have also seen an increase in the number of professionals relocating here as they embark on new jobs in Leeds.
Generally people are drawn to the practical benefits of Wakefield, especially families. From the great variety of good schools, both private and state, to leisure facilities and pursuits, not to mention the average price of a detached family home being considerable less than those in Leeds, Wakefield offers good properties surrounded by good facilities.