John Halman is Managing Director of Gascoigne Halman, an estate agent with seventeen offices in South Manchester and is the North West Regional Residential Spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
At long last we have some brighter news from the economy with the recent announcement of a return to growth for the third quarter. Nobody is being bullish, recognising that it will take a little time for the economy to return to full health but, nevertheless, the recent growth and employment figures are a respite from the economic news we have had to endure over the last two or three years.
The recession has brought about a change for many people in the way we view our housing, but I wonder for how long? The rental market has been attracting ever more tenants with the majority of properties being let within a matter of days, if not hours. As a consequence we have seen a steady growth in rental values, but I wonder who is better off – the renter or the buyer?
This increase in the number of rental transactions should be set against the number of housing transactions. Nationally they are estimated to be at 580,000 in 2012 compared to 620,000 in 2011 and a staggering 1.6 million in 2007. It is now estimated that up to 20% of all households are in the private rental sector. A recent survey of Home Sale Network agents suggested that three quarters believe that the buyer is currently getting a better deal than the tenant with rents now offering substantially less value for money than mortgage repayment.
In our own areas of South Manchester, Cheshire and the High Peak we have seen a steady market during the course of 2012, albeit with a flat number of housing transactions. According to the latest Land Registry figures September showed average prices growing by 0.3% and 0.2% respectively in Cheshire East and Cheshire West making them almost level with their position last year. The rise in rents should also be compared to mortgage payments where the Halifax say that in 2007 it took up 40% of the average home owners take home pay whereas today this is only 26%. The reduction in the number of housing transactions would therefore seem to be less about affordability and more about a lack of confidence.
Many agents like us are currently speaking to a large number of people who want to move house but a combination of the gloomy outlook portrayed by the statistics together with the shortage of finance has resulted in them hanging fire.
The consequence is likely to be a release of considerable pent up activity at some stage in the future and it may just be that the better economic news that we have received recently will stimulate the market over the coming months and bring about the first increase in the number of transactions for some time. Whatever the outcome, the inexorable rise of property rents must eventually bring about a swing of the pendulum where more of those people who find themselves as tenants at present will elect to change their housing payments into a mortgage repayment rather than simply rent.
Despite continued uncertainty in the property market, recent figures show that Didsbury continues to buck national property trends, attracting new buyers and rental tenants from across the UK. So says Markus Jolleys of Gascoigne Halman in Didsbury who has seen increasing levels of activity in the local market place.
The estate agent reports that the number of properties they are marketing is up 14.5% on last year with sales up by 7.5%. Gascoigne Halman’s lettings department has seen a 22% growth in business.
This focus on Didsbury coincides with the Land Registry reporting an increase of 0.2% in Manchester property prices during August alone and 0.4% in the North West.
Commenting Markus said, “No one needs me to tell them that Didsbury is a desirable location but it’s become even more popular since the BBC’s relocation to Media City. The forthcoming Metrolink service is a huge bonus as well as the other infrastructure improvements that we are seeing. Transport and strong infrastructure is hugely important to any commuting buyer, especially those looking to work in Media City or Manchester City Centre.
“Didsbury also offers diverse lifestyle options with Didsbury village having a renowned community atmosphere and being really popular with families benefitting from the excellent schooling and West Didsbury being especially more trendy and current, boasting an array of popular bars and restaurants.
“With so much in its favour, the team at Gascoigne Halman is confident that the recent sales pattern will continue.”
For more information on buying or selling your home, visit http://www.gascoignehalman.co.uk or call the Gascoigne Halman team in Didsbury on 0161 445 7474.
Over £1.6 million was bid for nine residential properties at Gascoigne Halman’s latest auction, held last month at the Cottons Hotel in Knutsford.
In the current economic climate transaction times for house sales have been getting longer, making auctions an attractive proposition for anyone looking for a quick sale. Commenting on the process, Michael Kyte, manager of Gascoigne Halman’s Prestbury office who co-ordinates the company’s auctions said, “We are getting more and more enquiries from people wishing to sell their homes at auction. There used to be a time when auction properties were a bit quirky, in need of complete renovation or had been acquired through probate. Nowadays properties sold at auction are just as likely to be quite normal family homes – it’s just that the vendor is looking for a speedy sale.
“Once a purchaser has bid successfully for a property at auction the transaction time is 28 days, and it’s a guaranteed sale. That’s a really attractive proposition. What it means if you are the buyer is that you have to go to the auction knowing that you have the funds, or a mortgage, in place to complete the purchase.
“The other thing to consider when selling at auction is the element of magic in the auction room. If you have a couple of buyers, both interested in a particular property, the excitement of the auction situation can lead to a better than expected sale price being achieved.”
Around 150 eager homebuyers filled the auction room and the auctioneer was Nick Longworth of Gascoigne Halman.
Gascoigne Halman’s next auction is on 22nd November at Cottons Hotel, Knutsford. If you would like to discuss entering a property in the auction contact your local Gascoigne Halman office or speak to Michael Kyte on 01625 827 467.