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Regional round-up

Each month we visit three agents across the country to discover what is happening in their businesses and local markets. This month we visit Surrey, London and North Yorkshire.

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Woking, Surrey – Number of open houses: 17 Average viewings per open house: 23 Number of properties sold from open houses: 14 Total viewings: 397 Average achieved price: £604,250 Number of applicants registered: 222 Total Viewings: 397

Woking is regarded as a commuter territory, with its mainline station into London Waterloo. Therefore it is no surprise that Woking attracts many people who are moving out of London or those who work in the Capital.

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Tony Lynch

The flow from London to Woking has continued throughout the past year. With demand remaining strong, encompassed with low mortgage rates and lower stock levels, this is clearly a sellers’ market, which often results in sales being achieved in excess of their quoted price.

Prices in the past year in Woking have increased by about 8-9 per cent.

I would like to particularly highlight the enormous success we have had with our open house events this year. More and more clients now desire their property to be marketed with an open day. With competition high to secure a purchase, open days can be arranged with the expectation that a sale will be agreed during the following week.

Therefore the turnaround time from the point of listing to a sale being agreed can often be within the first few weeks.

I would encourage estate agents to seriously consider conducting open days, as there are so many advantages from the clients and agents point of view. Often our clients will receive offers over their asking price from between 1-5 per cent, depending on the type of property, if marketed by an open house. However, the pre-marketing for the open house is the key to ensure the desired outcome is met.

I expect the low stock levels will continue until at least the middle of this year. With bank base rates not likely to increase for a while yet, the market should remain stable.

When supply increases heavily I expect there may be a slight cooling off as buyers will have a wider choice. However, for now it clearly remains a sellers’ market with open days often being seen as a formula for a successful early sale.

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Skipton, North Yorkshire – Average sale price: £338,861 Average sale asking price reduction: £8,600 Number of sales and lettings viewings: 121 Number of sales and tenancies agreed: 25

The historic market town of Skipton, in Craven, is known as the ‘Gateway to the Dales’ and provides extensive recreational facilities with stunning open countryside nearby. Situated on the cusp of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the area boasts excellent walking, climbing and fishing opportunities including the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks.

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Andrew Procter

The area is great for professionals as Leeds and Manchester are within comfortable (about an hour by car) daily commuting distance and direct trains to London’s Kings Cross as well as Leeds, Bradford and the Settle to Carlisle line, run regularly.

Two-bed homes below £125,000 sell almost overnight, but Stamp Duty affects those in the next tier.

Skipton offers a wide range of shopping with high street brands as well as a diverse range of private retailers and regular markets. Another central attraction is the Leeds and Liverpool Canal which provides fishing, boat hire and sightseeing trips as well as walks on the level.

Many families want to buy within the area as there are very well respected primary and secondary schools within the town including Skipton Girls High and Ermysteds Grammar.

The Skipton property market is doing very well. Activity is up 30 per cent year on year but this has not yet had an effect on price increases in any part of our selling area. I believe this is because prices across the UK, other than in London and a couple of hot sports to the North West of the capital, are generally not increasing.

Our sales are up but mostly on properties with two or more bedrooms and under the first two tiers of Stamp Duty. Properties below £125,000 are selling almost overnight and we have a long list of investors and owner occupiers looking to snap up this type of property. However, we’re seeing one bedroom properties struggling a bit, with prices starting at around £99,000 for a quality apartment.

Further up the ladder and especially above the next stamp duty level of £250,000 things are starting to slowdown. Unless the Government raises the current stamp duty threshold or reduces the levy itself, I cannot see much changing at this level or the next in the coming years.

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Bayswater, West London – Average property price: £1,310 sq ft Property price range: £700 sq ft to £2,500 sq ft Average lettings fee: 9% Average rental value: £650-£750 per week

Bayswater is one of the Capital’s most exciting areas for prime regeneration. This is a fascinating part of London, brimming with its own special character, and the plans to renovate the Whiteley site on Queensway are already having a positive effect on property values in the surrounding area.

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Sam Allport

There are a great variety of buyers here. Overseas and local buyers, investors, and even first time buyers, are all attracted to the central location, great transport links and the prices – which can be up to 10 per cent less than neighbouring Notting Hill or Marylebone.

Over the past year in particular, we have noted a significant increase in local owner occupier buyers who are seeing more and more value in the area.

The majority of the properties here in Bayswater are apartments, ranging from small studios, to palatial lateral apartments offering over 3,000 square feet of space. There are also a large number of mews houses, appealing to buyers looking for quintessential London living, on attractive quiet cobbled streets.

From a lettings point of view, the market in Bayswater is buoyant, making the area extremely appealing to buy-to-let investors.

A high proportion of our applicants are international students of all ages, largely from the Middle East and the Far East. They might be looking for a studio or one-bedroom flat, for around the £300 to £400 per week mark, right up to a fully furnished three-bedroom property with parking, for around £1,450 per week.”

January 26, 2015

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