All posts by Mark Walmsley

Coventry Bucking The Trend or Could It Be Ourselves? Just Maybe….

After some careful analysis that we would be delighted to present to any potential client wishing to sell their home, we seem to have bucked a national trend somewhat.

The latest data from NAEA Propertymark has revealed that, during Februrary, agreed house sales rose to a 10 year high – 74% of which were below the original asking price, suggesting sellers are becoming more realistic when it comes to property transactions.

This, although clearly good news, and personally to me, a positive move in terms of reality and affordability, is not what we have observed ourselves. Since January 1st this year we have agreed 35% more sales than the same period last year. Of this and if we consider 100% of our agreed sales we have found that 70% have sold for the asking price or higher. 

As a business we are delighted with these results. Now we find that they may be even bucking the trend. 

If priced correctly and marketed without compromise and as well as physically possible then asking prices and over asking prices can certainly be achieved.

If your marketing is simply so so and your asking price is too high then what hope could a seller possibly have. Please don’t fall down into this trap.

I valued a house on Friday that needed decorating, offered nothing exceptional at all and had been marketed for 10 weeks by another agent. The asking price was close to 10% too high, the photography was poor and the “professional” advice he received (which achieved only four viewings in 10 weeks) was “don’t worry about the decoration, the new owners can do it themselves”.

Honestly, it’s no wonder Estate Agents aren’t taken seriously sometimes.

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A Brave & Costly Improvement With Obvious Rewards! & Well Done Sky Blues!

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Well done to the Sky Blues on Saturday! The obvious excitement and passion on the faces of Gael Bigirimana and George Thomas were a sight for us to enjoy for years to come. Now the really hard work starts! Good luck fellas!

On a purely coincidental football theme, the Shearer Property Group (tell me you get it!), the firm behind such successful schemes as Grand Arcade in Cambridge as well as the new restaurant quarter in Cathedral Lanes, will lead a huge new development in Coventry’s struggling and let’s face it, ugly, Centre Point region of the City.

Built in the late 1960’s by the architect John Madin, much of whose work in Birminghams city centre has also been demolished, Centre Point has fallen to rack and ruin and in my opinion quite honestly summarises  all of the negatives of that era’s design.

In it’s place, a £300 million pound project to transform Hertford Street, the Bull Yard, Shelton Square and City Arcade into a retail and leisure masterplan that will offer the Midlands second largest shopping destination outside of Birmingham! A similar size to Touchwood, the new “district” will offer unmatched shopping, leisure and new homes for residential owners and student tenants.

With Coventry Universities investment into Bishop Gate currently developing at a rate of knots I think it’s time to acknowledge the huge benefit that our two Universities have offered this city. Although I have issues with the overdevelopment of HMO’s and the fact they don’t fail to ruin communities in a matter of months, I can’t fail to see how, together with Jaguar Landrover, these Universities have brought nothing but positive attention and investment back to this once failing City.

Sounds a bit like the lads on Sunday  doesn’t it.

Can Self Confidence Really Improve Your Properties Value?

I’m not talking about braggadocio or arrogance here. I’m not even discussing an ability (or lack of) to point out a properties most “sellable” assets. What I’m referring to is our nations endearing strength in it’s own beliefs. With the trigger of Article 50 due later this week many conversations I’ve had over the last fortnight have asked for my opinion on “what will happen?”. Why anyone would ask me I don’t know, but it’s made for a few interesting exchanges.

The HomeOwnersAlliance, after studying recent data released by The Office for National Statistics, revealed the extraordinary evidence that self confidence has not only bucked a trend but stuck candles in it and launched it skyward.

The five regions which voted most strongly to leave the EU have all seen property price increases in excess of 3 per cent compared to June 2016, with the East of England the fastest-growing region at 4.25 per cent.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the only three regions which voted to remain have seen substantially slower growth.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance said

“There is a clear pattern here; areas that voted more strongly to leave the EU have seen property prices grow faster over the past six months than areas that were pro-reiStock_000002696243XSmallmain.

“Of course, house prices are dictated by a myriad of economic, political and social factors, but confidence – the all-important ‘feel-good factor’ – is vital.

This really does show how “optimism” can “trump” negativity. The public feeling more confident in both their everyday lives and working environments  is echoed by willingness to not only buy but also to spend. Of course, in regions where many incomes are generated by overseas trade and the associated industries that support it, a real nervousness about personal circumstances cannot be underestimated.

Why would you be willing to invest where uncertainty reigns? Like most aspects of life it all boils down to how confident you feel and no advice or opinion can normally alter that!

If You Hear “I Can’t Believe my Home is Worth That Much!?”, Then it Probably Isn’t!

BPA-Vinyls-OL-AiCC-10-Coventry_BPA_540pxYou’ve just won £250,000 on the lottery but need to pay £500 to have the cheque couriered to you! A relative has left £1.1 Million to you but it’s in a holding account in Nigeria!  We Buy Any Car have told you your car is worth more than you could sell it for yourself on Auto Trader! You think your house is worth about £250,000 but an Estate agent with a low volume of agreed sales tells you it should be marketed at £325,000!

If these declarations sound too good to be true, it’s because they are! Since January 1st 2017 we have agreed sales on an incredible amount of new instructions. Sensible sellers, once the facts are presented, understand that if their home is worth “more” they will likely “get more”. Supply and demand in a market place with little stock dictates that buyers may have to pay the “asking price” but if the property is overvalued to start with, then they’ve no idea of the true value anyway. This is when property  just sit’s there.  And that’s no good for anyone.

If priced “reasonably” the public demand increases and in 70% of the cases this year, our properties have sold for the asking price or above.

Our advice, to enable a smooth sale remains the same. If the buying public think an asking price is reasonable, then the buying public will come. They won’t come one at a time either. You will have a choice of buyers to suit your needs and it’s this balance that makes for as little stress as possible. It’s also this balance that enable’s you to move onwards and secure you new home.

“Over Value & Risk Under Selling”, Consumer Watchdog Which? Reports!

Board ImagesWe always try to explain to our clients that if their home is worth more than the valuation we have placed upon it then the public will surely make that decision.

Since January 1st 2017 we have agreed sales on homes valued at a total of £7,967,950. The actual total of sales agreed is £8,010,006.

The consumer watchdog “Which?”has found that 1 in 5 houses had been reduced from there initial asking price . Most interestingly houses that were sold after a 5% reduction sold for an average of £19,000 less than those that were sold from their original asking price.

The indication here is that by overvaluing, greedy agents and sometimes greedy vendors will cost themselves 8% of the value of their home.

A fascinating indictment of these facts was realised by Paul Higgins, chief executive at The Homeowners Alliance. “Sellers shouldn’t just consider the price that agents claim they can get. They should be thinking about how the agent is going to sell the property and whether they are asking the right questions!”

Richard Headland of “Which?” states that if the valuation is not realistic you could end up thousands of pounds worse off and wasting a lot of time.

We completely agree. Think about your onward move with one hand and your proposed sale with another. Don’t get too caught up with the minutiae. Don’t hold out for another £500 for a light fitting if there is a risk of upsetting the sellers of your dream home. Ask your agent for advice. Don’t play games. Just be logical and hopefully your agent will guide you with the bigger picture in mind, not just the initial instruction.

Price Increases in Coventry by 24%. Brexit Showing No Ill Effects Whatsoever!

iStock_000002696243XSmallNo Brexit Ill effects whatsoever? Well, as is always the case the deeper you delve the murkier the reality becomes and that certainly seems to be the case here as well.

Coventry has seen tremendous price rises over the last few years with Styvechale and Earlsdon being the forerunners in most cases. Not anymore. Median price increases are certainly more common than price reductions but some areas have suffered when others have soared.

The remarkable and seemingly unstoppable wave of new students in the city dominates those areas with the highest price rises. CV4 including Charter Avenue, Cannon Park, De Montfort Way, Cannon Hill Road and a radius stretching as far as Hearsall Gold Club have seen prices rise from an average of £370,000 to as much as £458,000 over the last calendar year!

CV6 comes a close second but with a very different demographic. Student accommodation again, albeit Coventry University rather than The University of Warwick, has seen similar increases but with dramatically lower actual sales prices agreed.

What must always be considered when analysing statistics like this is what isn’t included. Statistics are only available because transactions take place. Many areas, Earlsdon being a prime example, have become almost landlocked with sellers wanting to move but with not enough property coming to the market for statistics to be even relevant.

This suggests, as we all know, that if you are truly happy in a location then comparable prices are hard to find and that statistics, sometimes, only tell one of a thousand stories!

 

White Paper, Blank Paper or Paper Promises

A wider range of “affordable housing” is what former Prime Minister David Cameron lauded and was delivered by way of the Governments latest White Paper. However quite how this change in stance genuinely affects the balance between what is “affordable” and what could only be purchased by “first time buyers” is surely the key. Since being a first time buyer in 2001 I have seen nothing that has made the process easier other than having a larger deposit and a wage increase.

How you get this could be a matter of luck, graft, and genetics with a familiar pinch of nepotism becoming the deciding factor.

If the Governments pledge to contribute to savings, shared ownership or life time ISA’s do actually work then in equal measure they have failed. Most schemes have been withdrawn and most were badly marketed resulting in very little uptake.

Bottom line it’s simple. If you want to own a home and you want a mortgage that ties you to it, then you have to find the money to pay for it. You also have to have the earnings to support it. If both answers are yes then you now need to find the housing stock you can afford……

……As of 8th February 2017 it didn’t exist. The Government want 250,000 new homes each year until 2020. Unless the majority of this stock is affordable nothing can or will change and with 360,000 homes having already undergone planning within our existing Green Belt this entire proposal seems more unlikely than ever.

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How South Coventry Benefits From Kenilworth & Vice Versa

IMG_1952Sometimes, reactions surprise you. Our new Office in Kenilworth has been really well received and comments from one customer in particular were fascinating.  “This is great, my children can’t afford to buy in Kenilworth so I’ll send them your way!”. This was unexpected to say the least. I hadn’t even thought of that market at all. Residents of Kenilworth have children and children (and I’m talking 21 – 40 years old here!) can’t often afford to buy in Kenilworth. That’s why we advertise many South Coventry properties in the Kenilworth branch. It works and people are so interested, it’s almost as if they wouldn’t visit us if we were just a Coventry agent. On the flip side of this we have current sellers in Coventry looking to move to Kenilworth to downsize and also families within Kenilworth moving to Finham and Earlsdon. This is a fascinating market in itself because quite honestly the prices in Earlsdon and Kenilworth are surprisingly similar. A three to four bedroom period terrace in both towns are often comparable. The advantages of one over the other though are completely subjective. The schooling in Finham,  Stivichall and Kenilworth is outstanding whilst the infrastructure with the A46 and A45 being so close allows easy access to the motorway networks. What’s for sure is that homeowners with property in Kenilworth, Finham, Stivichall, Earlsdon, Burton Green, Gibbet Hill and Westwood Heath could not find greater coverage for marketing their home than Elizabeth Davenport.

Inner London Slips As The Rest Of Us Climb

BPA-Vinyls-OL-AiCC-10-Coventry_BPA_540pxI’m not saying it’s become affordable or that I’d like to live there at all, but Inner London is sensing a disturbance in The Force. Born out of Brexit jitters and high Buy To Let taxes rather than Dark Side itself, Inner London has seen property growth drop over the last year with 14% less houses coming to market and growth recorded at just 0.1%.

With a predicted national average growth of a further 2% in 2017, Inner London seems to be facing a fall of 5% with some boroughs seeing drops of up to 16%.

Now we are seeing London homeowners moving here. Coventry, much improving and seemingly year on year, has become very much part of the commuter belt now.

Please take note London Midland, your Birmingham and Coventry to London trains are integral to the success of this City, no more talk of cancellations please!

The infrastructure of Friargate is finally taking shape (strewth!) and both Jaguar Landrover and both Universities are attracting swaths of new residents to the City.

Not quite so in London where a degree of panic seems to be encroaching with Article 50 threatening even more pressures.

Like I say, I wouldn’t want to live there though.  A journey of 60 minutes (if we can find our alarm clocks!) and a railcard is certainly more attractive than a house for half the size and twice the price!

Yep. I like it here. It’s all begin to happen.

 

New Years Resolutions and A Commitment To Service

Once I’d stopped eating for more than 8 hours I realised that at some stage Christmas would end and that my routine over the last week would require a serious review. I was one of the lucky ones though. I remained in good health whilst some of the family were poorly. On a much greater scale though we’re all so much luckier than many of our international neighbours. It’s been a difficult year when we look at the World as a whole.

Whilst the festivities raged there was always the knowing that in a matter of days 2016 would be over and that all of the hard work undertaken that year would simply have to begin again come January 1st 2017.

All the successes achieved have now past. Buyers have bought and moved in and sellers having sold and moved on. There have been many lovely reviews posted on Google and plenty of grateful and enthusiastic thank you cards received. But immediate success means an immediate conclusion and once those keys have been collected, the show must go on.

We, like many businesses, are nothing without happy clients and  customers. 2017 will only see our service standards to you improve with further commitment to greater staffing levels, better technology and certainly, without exception, more smiles and more handshakes.

To Clients and Customers alike, thank you for making 2016 such aBPA-Vinyls-OL-AiCC-10-Coventry_BPA_540px good year and let’s try to make the New Year a much better one for all of us, globally, in 2017.