Working with Channel 4

We have been working with Channel 4 to help bring you Coast v Country.  Look out for the coming series.  Here are our happy clients from the last series who found their perfect home in Penzance, with presenter Kerr Drummond.

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November Fireworks!

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From a property perspective, it would appear that the latest budget will not be enough to light November’s fireworks. Nevertheless, overall, it did hint at a surprisingly stable economy, with improved growth prospects and an apparent end to the tighter austerity regime.
The one thing the property market needs is to find its own equilibrium with minimal government involvement. We know that a healthy property sector, based on reasonable sales volumes, is good for the economy in terms of jobs, home improvement businesses, SDLT (stamp duty) and VAT revenues. However, past “incentives”, mostly for political gain, but apparently designed to stimulate the market, have often artificially inflated house prices.
As estate agents, we are of course passionate about securing high prices for our clients. It’s what we do, responsibly, of course. But Mr Hammond’s budget, for the first time, recognised that the only way many people can buy their own first home is to do so via shared-ownership. So he abolished SDLT on shared ownership homes up to £500,000, although this is only expected to cost the government £5 million – not much in the grand scheme of things. Remember, shared ownership does not mean buying a property with another person; it means buying only part of a property and effectively “renting” the other part, usually from a housing association.
We believe that SDLT should ideally be completely overhauled, as the cost of moving for most people is at an all-time high – and this has little to do with estate agency fees, which are actually the lowest in the world!
Nevertheless, property prices have not fallen by the 10%-18% as the Treasury predicted in May 2016, as a warning in the event of a pro-Brexit referendum result. In fact, they have continued to rise, by around 9% since then, with transaction levels 13% above the same time last year (source HMRC). Wage growth is actually increasing strongly and lending remains historically low, with unemployment at its lowest level since the mid-1970s.
Whatever happens with Brexit, it seems that people are once again prioritising a house move in response to lifestyle changes such as marriage, family, schools, jobs, divorce, downsizing, etc. They seem to be increasingly immune to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and are getting on with their lives – a wonderfully British ideal that has stood the test of time.
Whatever your plans, please regard us as your local experts in property, and call us for advice on 01736 332076 before you make a move.

RECORDING BREAKING SALES THIS YEAR DESPITE BREXIT!!!

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If anyone thinks that the confusing political shenanigans of the past few weeks have destabilized the property market, they’d be wrong. If anything, we are seeing more “lubrication” in the market, as sellers realize they’d be foolish to hang on for an overly ambitious sale price in the run-up to Christmas. This in turn has freed up the market, with more undecided sellers committing to moving, as there now appears to be more choice of properties available for sale. Indeed, Rightmove reports a 16% jump in new properties coming to market in the first week of September.

In support of this increased buoyancy the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reports a “broadly stable” housing market, once again emphasizing the wonderful “Keep Calm and Carry On” mentality of the British!

Asking prices are “behaving”, with the price of newly marketed properties for the last reported month averaging a 0.7% increase. This is broadly in line with the medium-term average for September, although the annual 1.2% is somewhat subdued. Of course, asking prices do not always reflect actual sale prices, which will be a more accurate barometer of the market in the coming months. But the signs are good.

In terms of sales volumes, the prime London market (over £750,000), which can be seen as an indicator of confidence levels overall, is finally improving with a jump of 6% over this time last year, as the previously stretched buyer affordability ratios are now levelling out. Everyone knew London was overheated!

The Land Registry figures show an annual 3.1% increase in UK house prices, the lowest for five years, which can only lead to continued sense and stability in the market.

Whatever your plans, please regard us as your local experts in property, and call us for advice on 01736 332076 before you make a move. We know what we’re talking about and we offer straight-talking, good advice with a smile, to anyone who’ll listen!

Should you sell or buy first?

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Many sellers who receive a good offer for their home turn it down because they have not yet found “the right property” and worry that they will in effect become homeless should they sell first (although we have never known this to happen!)
Of course, the problem would become a self-fulfilling prophecy if everyone were to take this stance, and the entire market would grind to a halt. But in reality it isn’t that bad and, whilst we don’t have a magic wand, the closest thing we have to a miracle cure is to encourage sellers to have a little faith. Because as soon as you find a buyer, amazing things can happen!
First, the fact that you have a buyer in place positions you as a “red hot buyer” with estate agents. This means you will be offered new properties as soon as they come onto the market, often ahead of public marketing or portal exposure. Secondly, you are in a much stronger negotiating position when you do find a property you like, meaning that you are preferred to other buyers who may be in a weaker position. Thirdly, you may well find that once you are psychologically committed to your sale, you’ll have a clearer focus on which property will actually suit you best. It’s easy to “umm and ah” when there’s no pressure!
So, in essence, if you need help making a decision, find a buyer for your place first! And of course, we’d be happy to help on that front as well! Indeed, we pride ourselves on our ability to create and manage linked transactions. Why not call us on 01736 332076 to find out how we might be able to help you move!

Have the agent you prefer at the right price

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We know that when choosing the right estate agent to sell your property you have a tremendous choice, and, on the surface, most estate agents appear to do pretty much the same thing!

Indeed, it is probably true to say that any reasonable estate agent could probably find you a buyer, unless of course they are one of those agents who habitually over-value in order to impress you – don’t be fooled by that ruse!

We believe that it is as much about who we are as estate agents as it is about what we actually do. Because it is those personal elements of our service that make the difference to your move, not just the things we do to attract buyers.

For example, the fact that we are independent means we can instantly tailor our service around the specific needs of each of our clients without “head office approval”. We also understand that accompanied viewings enjoy a much better viewing-to-sale ratio than unaccompanied viewings, because we take advantage of the opportunity to engage with our buyers, which often leads to better-qualified offers.

Importantly, our attention to detail in following up an agreed sale means that most of our sales actually proceed to completion, rather than suffering the 37%+ average UK fall-through rate.

As you might expect, such personal service usually comes at a price. However, we have decided to offer what we believe is the most reliable and enjoyable service in the area, for a lower fee than you might have expected from an agency of our calibre.

So, for a refreshing new slant on estate agency, it might be worth giving us a call on 01736 332076. Or why not drop into our office for an informal chat over a cup of coffee?

September Hikes

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As we move from a scorching summer to a cooler autumn, will the property market return to “normal”? Certainly the latest HMRC figures indicate a positive outlook, with a 0.3% increase in the number of transactions over last year. That’s not bad considering increased political uncertainty and two interest rate hikes.

Transaction volumes are currently the most reliable indicator of the state of the property market, not prices, although these have risen by a not-unhealthy 3% over the past year (HMRC). It looks like the number of transactions will approach 2.2million nationally in 2018, which is still much more than the years following the 2008 credit crunch, when it took five years before the number rose over a million.

Certainly, we expect to see more activity in the first time buyer sector, for two reasons: firstly, according to the latest Ministry of Housing report, nearly 4,000 buy-to-let properties are being sold by landlords each month, resulting in the first decline in rental property availability for 18 years. The problem is most acute in London, which has seen a 20% drop in the number of rental properties in the past year. This will inevitably push up rents further, meaning that buying is seen as a more cost-effective option to renting.

Secondly, some mortgage lenders are relaxing their criteria for first time buyers, with an increase in the both number of 95% mortgages and 35-year terms.

Confidence levels are improving once again, as many people start to think about moving by Christmas. If this is you, then you’d better get your skates on as, according to Rightmove, the average time from agreeing a sale to completion is 13 weeks, and it typically takes an average of eight weeks to find a buyer (actually, our average time to sell is much faster than this at just 3 weeks).
As ever, correct pricing is the key, especially as there is 2.1% more stock available than there was a month ago. Rightmove reports that average asking prices of new-to-market properties have seen a seasonal reduction of 2.3% over last month, as late summer sellers seek to find a buyer quickly.
So if you are thinking about moving, why not give us a buzz on 01736 332076, as we can usually provide you with an idea of value, timing and confidence level within 48 hours.

Is it worth that?

 

baffled monkeyEven the most credible authorities tend to disagree on the rate of price change in the property market, leaving the humble consumer somewhat baffled!

The problem is the source of data that is used to make assumptions about the market is fickle. For example, you could look at the latest Land Registry figures. These record the volumes and prices of sales that completed potentially several months after the sale was arranged. But a lot can happen in that time – tax, economic data, interest rate changes and media influence can make a vast difference to buyer sentiment! HMLR figures also include the sale of small tranches of land in their figures, which can skew the average downwards.

You could look at the figures supplied by property portals such as Rightmove, which interpret the relationship between the monthly change in the average asking price of properties new to market during the preceding month. Of course, average asking prices are not necessarily a reflection of specific sale prices and theses figures do not take account of any asking price reductions, thereby skewing the average upwards! (Although at Kerb Appealz Estate Agents we are proud of how often we achieve or even exceed our clients’ original asking price!)

As your local estate agent, we are acutely aware of what’s happening in the Penzance and surrounding market at a given point in time. We have a huge responsibility to get it right for our clients first time, and we take that responsibility very seriously. Ultimately, we find that the most reliable indicators lie in our ability to interpret the needs and comments of our buyers at local level. After all, it is today’s buyers who determine the current value of your property.

We’re currently experiencing a healthy level of buyer enquiries, which inevitably results in some great prices being achieved. So why not contact us for an informal chat about the value of your property and suggested marketing plans over a cup of coffee? You might be pleasantly surprised!

The Latest Rises – Are They a Killer?

 

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The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has just announced a rise in the Bank of England base rate of 0.25% – only the second increase increase in over a decade. Whilst the 0.75% base rate is now the highest it has been since 2009, it is still historically low when many still remember the levels of the late 1980’s when a mortgage rate of 15% was the norm!
The latest increase is probably designed to be nothing more than a shot across the bows in response to surprisingly high consumer spending, higher employment levels and wage rise expectations in order to ensure inflation remains firmly under control.
Certainly, housing inflation is already under control, with predictions that house prices are unlikely to rise by more than 3% per annum until 2025. Stability during these uncertain times is exactly what is required for a healthy housing market, where people who wish to move for “real” reasons, can do so without fear of making a mistake.
Of course, those homeowners on a fixed rate mortgage will not immediately notice any difference in their monthly payments, while those on variable rate or tracker mortgage will notice a small increase in monthly payments, typically of around £37.50 extra per month on a £180,000 mortgage.
This latest increase is unlikely to have any direct effect on the property market, although if you are contemplating a move it might be worth bringing this forward in order to secure a low-rate mortgage now in anticipation of any further incremental rate rises in the future.
As ever, as your local property experts, we’d be happy to advise, without obligation, on how this, and any other market influences, might impact on your moving plans or property value. Please feel free to call us on 01736 332076.