Despite the Bank of England being so far unable to soften inflation, and while the middle-to-prime marketplace continues to change and develop, opportunities in residential property sales abound, especially for seller. Newspaper headlines are just that – designed to capture the readers’ attention and, sometimes, scare them into inaction; but a closer reading of the data and market behaviours allow for more encouragement.
It’s easy to be consumed by the negative stories trumpeting the reduction of property values and a possible radical residential property price correction, and whilst numbers are easing (0.2% last month), we should also recognise that summer is typically a slow period for market dynamism.
Taking a longer view, figures are still trending upwards, but at a slower rate. In the 12 months to April 2023, the average house price was up 3.5%, albeit we are now well past the latest peak of September 2022. (Office of National Statistics (ONS) data can be seen here.) This data continues to underscore the fact that most property transactions represent moves for long-term residency and specific life events.
And whilst we all probably now consider the pandemic to be somewhat passé, we mustn’t lose sight of the remarkable housing market it created, with migrations from the city flourishing, as well as many buyers and sellers making decisions when they had time to ponder careers and lifestyles.
The Demand Gap
How does one reconcile gloomy headlines with the annual ticking upwards of house prices? Partly, the uncertainty in the market belies the demand gap.
Considering a typical housing market (pre-pandemic), the numbers of buyers has increased, but the level of stock in the market – and this is where current uncertainty pinches – is down by around 10%, so we still have many people looking for their ideal home, with a borderline dearth of properties meeting precise hopes and aspirations.
This latter point is key – the demand gap, along with market uncertainty, is not leading to buyers snapping up what feels like the right home, instead they are holding out for the property that meets their needs and wants. Result? Cagier buyers and a slowing of the overall market place against peak and recent historically high transaction levels. However, many buyers are still looking for quality homes from quality agents.
Quality Estate Agency
From the outside looking in, the property picture looks cloudy, but market conditions can be encapsulated in fairly basic terms. There is mortgage uncertainty (see below for mortgage commentary) and a wider lack of total confidence, but this means that those looking for that new home have fewer properties to choose from: interest rates + less stock = buyers holding out for that forever home or property that 100% measures up to their life needs.
All of which makes more important than ever the need for a quality estate agent as opposed to a plug-and-play internet-driven offering that includes not much more than a suit, a shovel and a for sale board: there is no substitute for a professional offering and high-quality service. We’ve written about this before (here) but the fundamentals bear repetition.
When it comes to selecting an estate agent for your beloved property, the right choice will mean
- Achieving the best possible selling price
- Saving money on agency and marketing fees
- Saving time, effort and emotional angst hoping to achieve prices that might have been available at the height of the market, but now are dependent on that one buyer coming at the right time who absolutely must have the property you are selling.
Vendors now, more than ever, must recognise that the marketing and sales proposition has to be 100% spot on. On the agent side of any purchase and sale, Robb Residential are on point for
- Leveraging our many years of middle-to-prime market knowledge and experience for everyone’s benefit
- Providing an accurate valuation. This is part art, part science, bringing any property for sale to as many buyers’ attention as possible
- A high-quality marketing service with a personal touch, tailored to your property
- Bringing to the table our wider network of contacts and buyers, including our extensive buyer database that includes those from the South East and overseas.
And all of the above is wrapped up in a full end-to-end service, providing peace of mind and the Robb Residential promise to deliver.
It’s never been more important to have a professional, experienced and hardworking estate agent representing sellers, and while low fees are enticing at the outset, a lack of true service, experience, knowledge and professionalism will likely prevail. This leads to frustration and it takes longer to sell – in a challenged market vendors then have to reset, and wait again for the right buyer to come along.
Space and Value for Money
Robb Residential have long commanded the middle-to-prime market for coastal and rural properties in the west of Scotland. We continue to offer remarkable value for money and great homes. In times of uncertainty, life and family do not stand still, so for those seeking to move from towns and cities, or for families and recreational buyers looking for a new lifestyle and a different rhythm day-to-day, Robb Residential sales’ boards continue to meet with outstanding interest.
Given the currently outlook and the expectation of at least one more BoE interest rate rise, we should also recognise that UK wage inflation is running at 6% – some things the central UK bank cannot control. So as strikes in some sectors continue, and as those workers hold-out for an increase in remuneration, the residential property market continues to change and face challenges. But the higher one goes up the housing market pricing scale the less mortgage-rate and price-sensitive transactions become, as those more expensive purchases are likely to depend on greater proportions of cash and equity.
For those looking for a new home and dependent on a mortgage for a material percentage of their buying power, speaking to a licensed IFA or mortgage broker has never been more important. There are many options now available – interest only, longer terms, mortgage deferment – as not only must lenders lend (mortgages are a significant profit centre for retail banks and building societies) but the UK Government wants our financial institutions to be operating transparently and fairly, recognising clients as true customers, not cash cows. Forthcoming Consumer Duty legislation is one example of this shift.
With the demand gap, multiple options for how to slice-and-dice mortgages rates, terms and payments, as well as the certainty that for most buyers a new property is a long-term investment and an integral part of daily living, the middle-to-prime market is still offering great value for money across a host of property types and areas.
It’s still important to initiate and prepare for any sale well in advance, so you can be ready to enter the market when it suits your needs. Robb Residential are always available for a confidential chat, or pop in to our office for a coffee and a discussion about what you hope to achieve with any sale or purchase. Or just get your details on our database so we can reach out when the time feels right, we’re here to assist.
Robb Residential are an Estate Agent based in Glasgow who deal in a range of unique and beautiful properties in the middle-to-prime market in Scotland. For more information, please contact us, email or call on 0141 225 3880.
Note: all statistics, percentages and references are correct at the time of writing.