All posts by Mark Walmsley

Congratulations to All! Not Just GB Olympians Win Gold!

BPA-Vinyls-OL-AiCC-10-Coventry_BPA_540pxWhen you have an eight week period in any business you expect to have a volume of enquiries that, despite dealing with professionally, do  not lead to genuine fee earning business. Whether fee earning or not every enquiry made about any property and many that are made  to simply to register interest must always be dealt with as courteously and promptly as possible.

The last eight weeks have seen this service rewarded with the team at Elizabeth Davenport earning us our own Gold Medal from the  British Property Awards! With this success we’ve now been entered into the Regional and National Event so if you don’t read a blog about  them then clearly we’ve still got more work to do!

So, for speed of answering calls, email enquiries, answerphone call backs, integrity of reviews, in fact with a judging criteria of 25 separate  factors, this Coventry award really is quite special.

Massive credit to all of our colleagues, Chris, Jan, Jo, Kate, Lauren, Nicki and Shelina for being so personable and efficient in each and  every way. Having fun, enjoying your job and generally caring about what you do make the Monday blues a thing of the past. It really is a  pleasure to go to work! This Award is proof that Red tape and over zealous Management are simply out of fashion and not what it takes to  win a Gold Medal in 2016!

Now we’ve got to retain it!

 

Every Home Can Be Your Castle!

Researchers at Cambridge University have recently undertaken a study revealing British new homes to be amongst the smallest in Europe. New homes being built at sizes potentially detrimental to our health are  one of the claims the research suggests. With the average new build in the UK being measured with 76 sq metres of living space comparing to Ireland at 87.7, Germany at 115.5 and Denmark at 137 sq m the evidence does appear to overwhelmingly support the findings as well.

Pre loved, second hand, used or nearly new are not phrases associated with house buying or owning but every house has a tale to tell and older properties have assets all of their own. Mature Gardens with trees and hedges rather than seeded rubble strewn turf  are the external equivalent of high vaulted ceilings versus energy efficient light fittings. The emotion evoked when purchasing a period building cannot be replicated in other than the most bespoke new build.
The space available in many a 1960’s detached home together with it’s driveway and traditionally generous plot should always compensate for it’s not so aesthetic façade. Two up, two down, Victorian houses, found abundantly throughout Coventry offer two terrific double bedrooms and two reception rooms and can be easily modified to incorporate two bathrooms if the mood takes. You’ll have period features, more floor space and real character for less than your average starter home! Look around, take your time and use your imagination. You don’t have to own a Castle for it to be a lovely home.

As London Property Falters Much Of The UK Bucks The Trend!

When we have written about London pricing soaring and the rest of us catching up, the London marketplace may have smirked. Now, the boot seems to be on the other foot with active growth and non deterred sellers coming to the market in the majority of regions outside of the Bubble. If we take a snapshot over the  last six weeks of activity we can see that the two weeks prior to the Referendum saw a like for like drop in instructions by 8% while interestingly the first two weeks post Brexit saw instructions rise by 6%.

Regionally Estate Agents report that the property market continues to build momentum due to the lack of property coming onto the market. The interesting dynamic here is that prices will likely continue to rise unless the volume of instructions increase. With Mortgage rates remaining low and buyers experiencing a degree of panic that further “suitable” properties will “not” come to the market, the higher prices are being,in the majority of cases, offered.

At Elizabeth Davenport we like to see what the public really feel about the price of there ideal home. Our goal is to generate as much interest as possible and not just to sell, but to find the very best buyer; have a choice if you like. This is not going to happen if you price the buyers of your property out of the equation. If the advertised price isn’t cynical the public will appreciate it and multiple buyers can be found. As I’m sure you can see, this does not occur from demanding a price above that which the property is worth. Our Sold to For Sale ratio reflects this with over 65% of our stock consistently sold.

Brexit has not affected the market place in Coventry and Warwickshire because there is not enough stock for sale. Whilst the demand outweighs the supply the prices will, for many of us, remain too high for comfort. But everyone does need to live somewhere. Possibly not London though.Board Images

Goodbye Mr Cameron & Hello Mrs May, Let’s Crack On!

Having just received a call from BBC Coventry and Warwickshire with a question regarding David Cameron’s legacy and his impact on the property market, I found myself having to look at the same results but from two contradictory angles.

Are dramatic property price increases a positive or a negative? It’s that fundamental. Who is to congratulate and who’s to wave a fist at?

 According to data from the Land Registry, average UK house prices have risen from £161,148 in 2009, just before Mr Cameron became Prime Minister, to £206,953 in 2016 – a 28 per cent increase. If you own a home and don’t want to move then could this be irrelevant? Well, not if you want to remortgage and borrow more thus releasing more money into the economy. And what if you want to move? Well, unless you are moving from an area of wealth and high property value to an area not so, then irrelevant it is. The property you purchase will likely have risen proportionally too.

As far as I can see, David Cameron, Britain’s youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812, has been sturdy if not so Gung Ho as New Labours last elected incumbent. His parties decision to increase Stamp Duty for investment landlords seems flawed but his restructure of traditional stamp duty was welcome.

Now, we must move forward as a country, not just a political party and Theresa May be the right person to do this (See what I did there!) . Until Labour’s leadership creates solidarity within it’s own party I see we have little choice other than hoping that this Governments moral decision making prevails within our new “Brexit” nation. No rash decisions, some cleverly thought through policies and a goal of making everyone who at least lives here now as comfortable and productive as possible.Garden-Grabbers

Brexit, Your Property & Not Falling Into The North Sea

Stocks & Shares, the Euro Sterling Exchange rate and the global financial markets have reacted as everyone either predicted or expected.
What of property? Where do we stand? We haven’t fallen into the North Sea since Friday last but listening to the media we’ve done almost everything but.
Property at it’s heart has always been a safe investment. We all need homes to live in whether we are lucky enough to own or to rent.  The housing shortage in this country has needed addressing for a long time and the governments investment in new homes has not made a dent in this whatsoever. Supply and demand therefore suggests no immediate change to this dynamic.  Families will continue to grow and first time buyers will still have a passion to own. Housing will therefore still be needed.
In the short term (after a week or two of head scratching) there is every chance that sellers, worried, perhaps unnecessarily of a potential slow down, will come to the market before a slump. This will create more property for sale. Let’s say that an equivalent amount of buyers don’t buy either for the very same reason. This will create more available property for sale. This could, as the market has needed for a long time, create a cool down where a choice of homes means lower selling prices and demand and supply become equal.
This, surely, would be great news for everyone. More choice and lower prices.
Unlike Brexit, this suggests that everybody wins. As far as England’s Euro 2016 challenge, that would have been a nice result as well!
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London Shifts as Coventry Twists

Miles Shipside, Housing analyst and director of Rightmove, has commented upon the interesting shifts in boroughs throughout London. At the end of March, London has seen the second lowest monthly rise in the last Seven years. I say lowest monthly rise, we are still looking at growth but not to the extent we have been familiar with.

The most exciting analysis of growth is directly relevant to Coventry and it’s own twists and turns. Suburbs of London and neighbouring towns with Train Station improvements have seen dramatic growth over recent months. Rochester in Kent, having spent £26 million on it’s own improved terminal, has seen a mini boom of 20% over the last year. Slough, Gillingham and Gravesend have seen very similar.

A further reason for “abnormal growth” is due to the most obvious and archaic commercial adage of all time. Supply and demand. In a number of these regions the reason for such rapid growth is the lack of property coming onto the market. Coventry and a number of its most desirable areas are seeing multiple buyers for each. We have properties sold whose sellers are desperate for that right property to come to the market to move in to. When it does, the price they have to pay, by default, is a premium.

Very interestingly, if we take this analysis at it’s most simple and if all sellers placed their houses on the market before finding another property (rather than waiting to see what properties appear before marketing), the stock levels of property would increase and the demand therefore wouldn’t be as great. In time the prices would stabilise as sellers and buyers began to match each other in number. Rather than sell high and buy high we would all be selling sensible and buying sensible. I like the sound of that. That’s how solid and sustainable growth occurs. I wonder what Mr Shipside thinks of that.MovingDay

Friargate, Coventry Train Station & This New Commuter City Of Ours!

Well it’s really beginning to happen! Mastery of the much maligned but surprisingly safe 1960’s ring road requires a touch more forethought but otherwise FriarGate is really beginning to take shape. All being well and if politics, procrastination, budget and bloody mindedness don’t interfere the new Train Station development will see 39 sustainable new buildings, including Offices, Residential Accommodation, Hotels, Restaurants and open spaces for families to enjoy. With completion in 2018 we’ve still got awhile to go but it’s clear improvement, throughout the city, is at the forefront of minds and not simply brushed under the table as has appeared in years passed.

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With Coventry – London in under an hour and buyers relocating to Coventry from the Capital City, improvement and investment seems set to continue. Let’s not panic though. These buyers are not driving prices upwards like the Oligarch’s in Chelsea and Kensington. They’re a small proportion but certainly a demographic that haven’t been so familiar before. Home owners in Styvechale, Cheylesmore and Earlsdon certainly could take advantage of this affluent new wave though.

Property a 10 minute walk from the Station, whatever you own, whether Apartment, Terrace or Detached, should certainly see above average growth as FriarGate continues to prosper.

Together with Virgin Trains we’ve invested on Platform One & being situated on Greyfriars Green,  just a stones throw from the development, we’ve already begun to see a difference.

The Birmingham Children’s Hospital & Thank You

supporting-BCH-Logo-5000x4287The Birmingham Children’s Hospital is very close to my heart. We promised a donation from Elizabeth Davenport after running the Coventry Half Marathon. George and I had a great day, completing the course whilst being cheered on by wonderful spectators. The Birmingham Children’s Hospital treats about 250,000 children a year and by the nature of never being good enough, they are a fundraiser in themselves. From a £5 donation for colouring books to £45,000 for a mechanical heart, the hospital genuinely believes that the families who are treated know that the care of their child is the most precious priority. We wanted to raise enough money to be able to buy a Glideaway bed. These enable Mum’s and Dad’s to spent the night next to their little ones at times when they simply couldn’t be apart. By donating from fees earned between Christmas and now, we are really pleased to have succeeded. Thank you all for your instructions. Every one of our clients has helped!

I’d also like to add that George beat me and that I am not at all bitter. I haven’t dwelt on it. Not at all. I haven’t really given it a second thought. I swear he must have jumped a hedge. Or a corner. Maybe both. Yes, that’s it. I feel much better now.

Buy To Let vs First Time Buyer, A Fair Fight or a Set Up!

So what do Mr Osborne’s tax changes mean for buy-to-let investors in Coventry after 1st April 2016? Time for a heated debate? Well it would have been nice to have had one at least!

 “Frankly, people buying a home to let should not be squeezing out families who can’t afford a home to buy,” So George Osborne proclaimed in his Autumn Statement, before announcing major policy changes aimed at making buying property to let out less profitable to investors. Noble comments indeed but do we seriously believe that the intention is not to raise money for the treasury? Will this decision slow Buy to Let? Will first time buyers and owner occupiers have more opportunities?

The reigns have been pulled taught at the coal face and beyond into the mine. To purchase an investment property or a second home the buyer will, from April 1st, have to spend 3% more in stamp duty than anybody else. This places a charge of 3% up to £125,000 where owner occupiers pay 0%. Between £125,000 and £250,000 3% is added to the existing 2%. £250,000 to £925,000 adds a further 3% to the existing 5%. Then, once rented, the landlord will also have to suffer a variety of further profit dampening changes. I’m not crying about all of this but I do think the changes are too fast and too hard.

Garden-GrabbersAt Elizabeth Davenport we have seen a volume of buyers investing from London. This is where Mr Osbourne’s theorising hits a potential brick wall. His buy to let investors in Shoreditch, Twickenham and Croydon may well decide to look elsewhere where the expenditure is less and the short term returns equally attractive. This may free up potential “1st Time Buyer” opportunities on his doorstep but geographically the investment will just occur elsewhere. My theory is simple at best and wrong at worst. Realistically the volume of buy to let investors from outside of Coventry will grow and there will no change to the volume of first time buyer opportunities whatsoever.

Thinking practically if you wish to purchase a second home or buy to let investment then move fast! Look for chain free properties or tenanted homes. Don’t quibble about a reduction of £2000. On April 2nd it will cost you a lot more than that.

Father Christmas Drops In With a Sackful of Great News!

Dear Father Christmas, On behalf of all of the staff at Elizabeth Davenport we’d really like to thank you for your visit and for the wonderful news! Your Elves really brightened up our day when they told us we’d made the Christmas Number One for instructions worth over £120,000 this December. What fantastic news! So many agents seem to have struggled this past month, which in fairness is the norm. In fact, being Number Two for instructions at any price gives us the same illustrious standing as Beiber and Bruno Mars so we can’t complain at that either! Santa (1)I’d also like to thank you for making sure that George received the fantastic camera and equipment he asked for. They’ll certainly be put to good use (He asks for the same thing everything year and you’ve never failed to deliver!). Well, for this year I think it’s time to say goodbye, give my best to Mrs Christmas and Rudolph (tell him I didn’t mind clearing up his mess from the roof!) and we’ll be sure to drop you a line again next year! Kind regards, Mark.