The English Housing Market as I see it today…

There continues to be an enormous shortage of supply at all price levels, but especially in the entry and lower to mid-range levels. 

The relatively high per sq.ft. cost of mid-range houses of all types (valued over £500,000 up to around the £1m, and just over) makes them appear expensive when compared to more expensive properties.  Mid-market demand has been created by downsizers and those wishing to move up the ladder to a bigger home to accommodate lifestyle changes.  Shortage of (good) supply leads to higher prices. And stamp duty has become more of an issue too.

At the top end, there are few buyers currently (even in London). 

Home owners maybe staying put as maybe they’ve got a cheap mortgage and don’t want to expose themselves to higher mortgage rates that could come with moving house. Or they may be staying put as they don’t wish to expose their home to a difficult market, risking low offers as it hasn’t sold.

From a purchaser’s point of view, stamp duty is now so expensive and they’re not helped by fewer mortgage deals, different kinds of bonuses and even the situation in Europe, the EU vote etc. Maybe purchasers are also nervous about the possibility in the future of taxes being placed on those in more expensive homes too?  People are more cautious not only of larger houses but the likely cost of a larger house.

More expensive homes are available to sell.  Quietly.  However, if you view ‘off market’, you need to realise that price may become an issue.  Be mindful of this.  Fewer buyers mean more scope for negotiation.  But, do remember that higher value homes can often be more unique and may therefore offer you something that’s always been your dream.  Be rational and be realistic.  Do not overpay in this market but don’t lose your dream home either!  It’s a fine line….you need to view all off market opportunities to gauge value, choice and appeal.

All in all we continue to have a nervous property market. At all levels.

If you wish to move and buy and or sell, do consider the following:

  • This process can be difficult, time consuming and very stressful.  You need to be committed to the move and be able to give it the time it will require
  • Get your finances sorted.  If you need a mortgage, find out what’s available and get a level that you can borrow up too.  Get an offer in principle before you start looking
  • If you need to sell to move on, then get a good buyer for your current home first.  Vital.
  • To get a good buyer, you need to work closely with your Estate Agent to make sure your home if fairly valued for the market out there and that only those that can move forward to exchange, view (trust me, this will reduce stress levels)
  • Whilst waiting for your good buyer, research where you want to move too and what type of property you think you would like to purchase.  If you can, reduce your stress levels and do not view until you are in a position to proceed.
  • If you are a purchaser with a house under offer and (if needed) an offer in principle, then you are then that good buyer.  You will be more likely to be able to secure the property you want
  • Once you find your ideal next home (again, do view everything that is available at the price and in the area you want to move too, so that you can gauge choice and value), negotiate clearly and fairly.  Everyone needs to be happy with the agreed price, otherwise the sale may not get to exchange
  • Make sure you work with a good legal team, who work to your agreed timings
  • Momentum is everything. Keep on top of all aspects of the process.  Many sales and purchases fall through before exchange.

Support from your experts is vital.

  • You need to feel confident you have the best mortgage and offer available to you.  Use trusted advisors. Brokers understand the market and can be invaluable. You need the mortgage offer to pay down. 
  • Make sure the house you want is acceptable to your mortgage provider as soon as you wish to make an offer. 
  • Vendors need agents they trust and committed buyers who can proceed to exchange smoothly. 
  • Purchasers need committed sellers and lots of information to smooth the process to exchange. 

For example, the surveyor used understands the property you want (especially if it is a character property). Plus, you need to be sure that the property you want is definitely the right property for you and your family (remember to factor in schools, travel times, costs of refurbishment or making a new build the house you want it to be, as many are just basic shells etc.).  And, don’t forget to check the insurance history of any desired property, before you proceed to an offer.

If you need someone to be on your side, working to your brief and doing all of the above to your timetable and budget, please do contact Searchwells.