Snap election: the effect on housing
Phillip says “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s an election coming next month. Well… we haven’t had the opportunity to watch the politicians we pay for swap half-truths, for almost a year now, so Mrs May rightly assumed we were getting bored!
What does this mean for the housing market? Although a Conservative win, with an increased Parliamentary majority, is apparently the most likely outcome, there have been no shortage of electoral surprises over the last two years.
As a result, we feel that some sellers may well choose to delay their selling plans, preferring to wait-and-see the outcome of June 8th.
History tell us however that electoral results, even a change of government, have very little effect on housing policy in the short or medium terms.
With an already reduced level of saleable properties on the market, it’s my view that canny sellers will put their property on the market very soon, to capitalise on the remainder of the spring market, before the summer lull. Stock levels are already low and buyers don’t have a great deal of choice – and we all know what that can do for prices…”
Sales agreed highest since crash
Analysis from giant property website Rightmove's shows the number of sales agreed in March is the highest since before the financial crisis.
This is even more remarkable when considered in the light of the bumper March last year, when buyers scrambled to buy before the rise in stamp duty that April.
The first-time buyer sector is helping to driving growth, with prices rising by 6.5% annually to new record of £194,881. However, this is tempered by a slower pace of increase further up the market, with an overall annual rate of increase of 2.2%, the lowest recorded since April 2013.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, said: “High buyer demand in most parts of the country has helped to propel the price of newly marketed property to record highs. There are signs of a strong spring market with the number of sales agreed achieved at this time of year being the highest since 2007.”
First-time buyers now equal home-movers in number
February’s data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders shows that the number of loans to first-time property buyers rose by 11% in February compared to the same month last year.
By contrast, the number of loans to home-movers (ie those moving from one home to another) was down 6% over the same period.
This means that both groups took out 24,000 loans that month, a parity that has not existed for 20 years.
The growth in FTBs means that the total number of mortgages taken out in February was the highest seen in that month since the crash of 2007.
Selling: can I save money selling privately, instead of using an agent?
As with anything in life, people are often tempted to look at ways to save money, and it’s easy to see why some people might choose to cut the cost of an agent’s selling fee!
But we think it’s important to look at the bigger picture when deciding how to, and who should, sell your property.
First, remember that although you might save something on the fee, if you lose more than this in the final sale price, you’ve lost out overall. A good agent is skilled at negotiating to achieve a sale at the very highest price possible. A good agent knows when to push for more, and when to suggest ‘walking away’ from a buyer.
This is something that agents do every day, plus they’ll also often have more information about your buyer than you will, such as what their actual maximum price really is!
Second, an established estate agent will have sold many, many properties over many years, and will have a good grasp on a property’s likely value. Time and time again we have seen sellers, understandably, set an unrealistically high value for their property, only to see it languish on the market unsold (although to be fair, there are some lesser agents who over-value too, with the same effect!).
Third, ‘private sale’ websites almost always charge you upfront, whether you sell or not. An estate agent, on the other hand, will only charge you a selling fee if and when the property is sold.
Fourth, contrary to expectations, agents are still an important link between sellers and buyers. In fact, according to research from Which? 28% of buyers found their property directly through an estate agent.
Sixth, once a buyer is found, a good estate agent will carry out background checks into that buyer’s financial circumstances and verify their ability to actually buy your property.
A good agent will also to verify the strength of each link in a chain – after all, if one of the links breaks, the whole chain might fall apart – and then keep tabs on that chain right up till completion day to ensure you complete on time. Without a good agent, who will do this important, but often unseen, work?
In short, while we can understand the temptation to want to save the agent’s fee, it’s worth bearing in mind the bigger picture that you’re trying to achieve – to find a reliable buyer, in good time, who’ll pay the maximum price, will be solid for the purchase and enable you to move from a home that no longer meets your requirements to a home that makes your dreams come true!
In our experience, selling a house is a bit like tiling a bathroom. Most people could have a go, but not many have the skill, time and patience to do it as well as a professional!
Of course if you want to discuss anything here, we’d be only too pleased. Feel free to call us any time…
Pasta with homemade wild garlic pesto and basil
The wild garlic season is in full flow at the moment. Known for it’s blood pressure and cholesterol reducing properties this is a wonderful, free and delicious delicate ingredient that you can use in so many different ways in the kitchen.
You can find wild garlic in damp areas, particularly hedgerows and in the woods. You can smell the heady aroma as you approach a good crop of wild garlic! Don’t dig up the bulbs unless you have the land owner’s permission… just pick a few handfuls of leaves and flowers being careful not to bruise the leaves too much.
Once you have your crop, here is a fantastic, easy, wild garlic recipe for wild garlic pesto pasta.
Ingredients (this should make a jar’s worth)
- 100g wild garlic (you can eat the flower, stem and leaves)
- 50g grated parmesan
- 25g pine nuts
- 25g cashew nuts
- Approx. 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- Thoroughly wash your wild garlic and pat dry in a clean tea towel.
- Dry fry the nuts (try different combinations of nuts if you are feeling adventurous) until they take on a little colour.
- Put the wild garlic in a food processor with the parmesan, nuts, salt, pepper and lemon juice and blitz until broken up. Slowly add olive oil until it looks smooth and glossy.
- Cook your pasta in salted water, drain and then spoon some of your wild garlic pesto through. Use approx. a tablespoon of pesto per person, but maybe try less and add more to taste. Add a little fresh parmesan on top and another grind of black pepper if you wish. You can add sundried tomatoes or crispy bacon or black olives… whatever takes your fancy!
- You can also use your pesto to swirl on top of soups, in salads, in dressings, with fish or chicken; and it freezes well too. If you are keeping it in a jar in the fridge, ensure it’s covered with olive oil to preserve it. It should last a week like this.
A warning from Action Fraud…
Here is a warning from the Fraud Squad, which is particularly important for people buying or selling a property, as they may be asked to transfer funds – often sizeable – to their solicitor.
There has apparently been a sharp rise in the number of fraudulent emails allegedly coming from your solicitor telling you that their bank details have changed and that you should transfer money to the new account instead.
As you can imagine, the emails appear totally genuine, using realistic email addresses, as well as the relevant logos, etc. It's not just large sums of money that are asking for, it could be a few hundred pounds for searches for example.
The advice is to ignore the email and to not pay, but to check, by phone or in person, with your solicitor before parting with any cash.
You should also report the email by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.
For further information please check these websites:
March zero-fees winner
Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Jara of Sunset Close, Peacehaven who are our latest winners of the Zero fees draw.
Our 25th anniversary ‘NO FEES’ draw offers all customers who sell their home through Phillip Mann a chance to win back their selling fees!
That's right, each month, until the end of August 2017 our vendors will be in with a chance of selling their property through Phillip Mann for FREE!
So if you're thinking of selling, contact your nearest Phillip Mann Estate Agents branch today.
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A great day
Last Friday was a great day for our sellers. We agreed sales on our clients' properties worth a huge £2.6million worth of properties in one day!
Grin and bear it
Congratulations to Hannah Lakin Ullah on winning our Easter 'Build-a-Bear' competition. Terrific work, Hannah.