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The housing market was expected to stagnate this year because of political uncertainty over the General Election, fears of deflation and low interest rates. The impact of low or temporary inflation on the housing market would have been mixed, negatively affecting London but the rest of the UK in a positive manner. Furthermore, the European Central Bank programme of quantitive easing has also led to a strengthening of the pound against the euro, making London less affordable for the European investor. This combined with the fear of a mansion tax and the December stamp duty changes has resulted in a tough time for the prime London market over the last few months.
However, the most unpredictable General Election in memory produced a result that very few could have forecast before the results began rolling in on election night. Now, the uncertainty in the market and the end of threat of mansion tax should provide much-needed stability to the residential sector. Many of those that we place our faith in have revised their 5 year forecasts and some predict mainstream prices will improve by as much as 23%. We would expect the biggest house price growth to be outside the capital, with the strongest medium term prospects in the south. The usual constraints remain, notably mortgage regulation and prospect that interest rates will rise but many buyers and sellers alike are looking to take advantage of the Cameron bounce.
Many people are gravitating towards Romsey. Those from Southampton and Eastleigh see it as an aspirational move, those from Salisbury (not much further from central London than Romsey- but transport links are slow) are prepared to buy into a more expensive area to improve their commute whilst those from Winchester see Romsey as an attractively priced (10% less expensive) alternative. Furthermore, as I allude to above, London buyers are very much evident at present, exploiting the increasing differential in prices between ‘Capital and Country’.
So, the market is good- we have sold 10 of 11 brand new, million pound plus homes within weeks of launching the development in Ampfield, thatched cottages in Awbridge within 0.5% of the guide price and within a week of launch, period village homes, modern village homes, a barn conversion, town houses and plenty more aside over the last month or so. Life is good but, far from easy.
Whether we like it or not, there is much more in common between Agents than separate them and it is the people that make the difference. Woolley & Wallis pride ourselves in having some of the best staff in the profession- they are energetic, determined, commercially aware, have the right attitude and have the time to look after our clients. We have assembled a team which has amassed many collective years of experience within the local property market led by Julian East and myself. All staff have a detailed knowledge of the housing market and the local area and they are always on hand to offer advice and to assist whenever it is required. Reputation is key and we have built an impressive CV (both as a firm and as individuals) as our excellent track record goes back over 130 years.
More recently however we have been behind some of the most high profile sales locally.
As established agents we understand the market and the variables that affect it. We are brave enough to be truthful with vendors and every now again, must dish out tough love! We accept that there is something wrong with every property but we tend to focus on the positives not the negatives. Staging and furniture, presentation, these are things we can change and influence. If however the location is a bad one, it is only bad if the price is wrong. Our advice would be to reflect it in the price; all of a sudden it becomes an amazing property.
First impressions count, so it is important that potential buyers see your property in the best possible light. I often advise clients to focus greater attention on the exterior of their property rather than the interior since this will give potential purchasers their first and last impression. Internally the most important rule is to make sure the house is clean and tidy. Reduce clutter where you can and make sure every room is furnished for its purpose. It pays to make sure rooms are aired in the Summer and warm and cosy in the Winter, and to use lighting if a room is otherwise gloomy. Decorating with flowers gives a welcoming feel to a property but remember that whilst your property does not have to look like a show home it ought to feel like a family home.
The post-Election feel-good factor has kicked in immediately and we, along with buyers, sellers, developers and various other property professionals are feeling very positive about the future and can plan with confidence.