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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 Solihull, Enfield and North Somerset.

The Negotiator
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STATS: (1/12/20 – 30/11/21) Average Timescale for SSTC – Completion: 112 Days Market Share for North Solihull: 21% Completed Sales: 166


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Samantha Dunne, Sales Negotiator

As we draw to a close of an exceptionally busy 2021, we at Ferndown Estates continue to see high activity levels within the property market in and around the North Solihull and East Birmingham areas. After the end of stamp duty holiday earlier in the year and another record-breaking month in September the general expectation was to see a potential drop in sale activity across the board. However, buyer demand remains persistent and continues to push property prices up furthermore. As a result, we speak daily to interested property owners keen to know how recent market conditions may have affected the price of their property, thus deciding to then enter into the marketplace whilst the going is good.

The supply unable to meet the demand situation is creating multiple offers on most of our stock and at times achieving well over market value, requiring extra due diligence in the offer/acceptance stage. The buyers who we are seen as most successful are mainly those second time round buyers or property owners looking for additional property, as opposed to the first-time buyers.

HS2 boost

With the excellent facilities Solihull has to offer such as the education and healthcare services making it highly desirable place to live, work and raise a family. As well as our current transport networks we will soon be home to the HS2 Interchange Hub with the works well underway to install the Phase One High Speed line and station. After a recent Government announcement for the HS2 project confirming Phase One plans to continue with our area once again been brought into mainstream media and has opened up lots of positive conversations and enquiries into our branch.

Moving forward we are investing into different areas of our business, such as prospecting services to assist our vendors in finding their next property either in or outside of our region. We’re also looking at ways to shorten our SSTC to completion timescale working with conveyancers and developers, trialling new software and processes as part of our aftersales process. Ultimately our goal is to continue in delivering our usual high standard of service.

Pictured property: The Pines, Bickenhill Road – £639,950 OIEO

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STATS: Offers taken in November: 87 Offers agreed in November: 30 Market Appraisals booked in November: 100


Adam Sanders, Director

The final two months of 2021, much like the previous two years, proved to be quite challenging. An absence of available sales stock proved to be a double-edged sword. On the one-hand, the properties we were introducing to the market, were flying out the door due to lack of competition. We had one property which we had to unfortunately remarket and within four hours of re-advertising, we had seventeen viewings for later the same day. Someone offered just fifteen minutes after viewing the house. Their initial bid was thirty-five thousand over the asking price.

This sounds like an extremely efficient way of working. But the flip side of this is that we must then let down sixteen applicants who had also viewed and might have been interested. This left us with lots of quality, proceedable applicants who had missed out on listings and nothing else to offer to them. We had even set up the marketing for several properties, but the owners did not want to market until they could find something for themselves. But with nothing new coming to the market, we couldn’t proceed.

Record-breaking prices

Market demand of this nature allowed us to secure excellent prices for our clients. In one instance, we managed to set the record selling price for homes in a particular development by about fifty thousand. Four weeks later we then beat our own record by another twenty thousand for a home in the same development.

The lettings department were lucky enough to have a wealth of available stock at the back end of 2021. A combination of new properties available to the market, due to the Stamp Duty relief from the Government and existing tenants feeling comfortable and confident enough to move on after two torrid years, meant stock levels remained high throughout the opening winter months.

As new variants of the infamous virus reared theirs heads in early December, tenant move-ins and sale completions became notably harder with clients less willing to move prior to the new year and external trades people / removal firms becoming harder to book in. We look forward to the new year ahead.

Pictured property: Woodland Close, Hoddesdon, EN11 – Offers in Region of £900,000

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STATS: House prices increased by: 15% in last year Average price sold: £492,945 (against district average of £307,753) Homes for sale a year ago decreased this year by: 39%


Andrew Simmonds, Director

A post-pandemic rise in divorces is skewing the housing market and causing estate agents to increasingly find themselves pawns in bitter disputes between couples. The situation is getting so common that we are considering charging a fee for valuations involving divorcing couples.

We’ve seen an increase in the number of couples contacting us for home valuations for divorce purposes. As a business we are obviously delighted to meet prospective customers, but divorcing couples can present a challenge that can leave us between a rock and a hard place. Each party always has a different view on valuation. Often you get a call from one or the other before the visit to ask if you would ‘do them a favour’ and value the property ‘up’ or ‘down’. It obviously doesn’t work like that. And more times than not, you actually only meet one of the parties. We don’t even know whether they are even going to sell or are just gathering independent valuations from local agents so they can use the information to settle their financial affairs.

Advice for divorcing couples

Based on experience, I think that divorcing couples should consider a more formal valuation such as a RICS Red Book valuation that requires a fee if they are looking to buy one-another out of the property. Valuations, based on local trends, are useful though if you intend to sell the property and split the proceeds.

Chris Longbottom, partner and family law specialist at Clarke Willmott LLP, adds that it is important to ensure that divorcing individuals obtain expert advice from the outset from specialist family lawyers. They will also clearly need to obtain independent and accurate advice as to the value of their assets to ensure that the right expert and report needed is obtained – and at the right time. Lawyers can also assist to ensure that valuations are undertaken and obtained independently and therefore reduce the chances of circumstances like those referred to above occurring.

Pictured property: Backwell, North Somerset – Three-bedroom house – £475,000



February 17, 2022

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