Monthly Archives: June 2013

Pictor pupils pitch in with Gascoigne Halman’s charity cake sale

Kids at Pictor

The team at local estate agent, Gascoigne Halman in Altrincham, recently donned their aprons and held a charity cake sale in aid of Pictor School, Timperley. The estate agent’s staff were aided in their baking efforts by pupils from the school who produced their own goodies to add to the delicious selection of home-baked cakes and biscuits.

Pictor School is a Community Special School, catering for the special educational needs of children aged 2 – 11. Some of the pupils have conditions which mean they struggle to interact with others, whilst others have language disorders, developmental delays or physical difficulties. Many of these children are reliant upon the school’s sensory room for stimulation, stress management or educational purposes and the funds raised by Gascoigne Halman will go towards updating this invaluable resource.

The team set out their expertly decorated stall on Altrincham’s busy George Street, where they sold their home-baked goodies to passing shoppers in the town centre.  Supported by parents and staff from Pictor School who brought along cakes baked and decorated by pupils, the team managed to raise a tasty sum of £502.10 for the school.

The cake sale is part of a year-long fundraising effort by the staff at Gascoigne Halman in Altrincham who have nominated Pictor School as their chosen charity for 2013. The team plan to get involved in further fundraising at the Pictor School summer fête and a few intrepid members of staff are currently in training for the Cheshire Half Marathon which will be held at Arley Hall on Sunday 21st July.

Estate agent scores £1000 for St Ann’s Hospice

Charity football photo


Photo Caption: The Gascoigne Halman A-team with the team from St Ann’s Hospice

Local estate agent, Gascoigne Halman in Cheadle, recently hosted a charity 5-a-side football tournament in aid of St Ann’s Hospice. The Gascoigne Halman team took on squads from 15 other local businesses, including a team of representatives from St Ann’s, in the competition which was held at the Lucozade Power League in Stockport.

St Ann’s is the largest hospice in Greater Manchester, delivering individually tailored care to 3,000 patients with life limiting illnesses every year.  In order to offer high-quality care, delivered by specialist staff, free of charge, the hospice has to raise £16,000 a day, making it reliant upon the generosity of donors.

Gascoigne Halman charged the competing teams to enter the tournament, enabling the estate agents to dribble, tackle and shoot their way to raising over £1000 for the charity.

Competition in the Cup final was tight as two evenly matched sides battled for glory. The Cash Store, whose team consisted of players from their corporate office based in Stockport, eventually pushed through to take the overall poll position, with the team from Sports Trafford coming worthy runners up.

A dramatic clash of the estate agents took place in the Plate final as the organisers took on the team from Edward Mellor. The exhausted Gascoigne Halman squad put up a valiant fight, but Edward Mellor battled through to take the title.

Leighton Snow, manager of Gascoigne Halman’s Cheadle office and organiser of the event said, “The atmosphere on the night was fantastic and we had lots of family and friends turn out to cheer their teams on. It was amazing to see so many people coming together to support such an incredible cause.  The competition was such a resounding success that we’re hoping to make it an annual fixture. We should have all recovered from the exertion by then!”

For further information about St Ann’s Hospice please visit or to find out more about the services Gascoigne Halman provide, contact 0161 428 1118.

What’s happening to the value of your home?

John Halman of Gascoigne Halman

At long last there is some improvement in the level of confidence and activity in the housing market. Gascoigne Halman is represented by seventeen offices across the region and, as such, our activity levels provide a useful barometer for what’s happening with the property market in your local patch.

I am sure you will be pleased to read that last month we saw not only increased enquiries but also the highest number of agreed sales since 2008.

Rightmove, the country’s most popular property portal has recently announced that average asking prices in England and Wales have passed £250,000 for the first time.  They have also stated that this is a 2.7% increase on a year ago and a 1.2% increase from the month before.  This was the sixth consecutive monthly rise.

Rightmove statistics also indicate that whilst prices in the South East were racing away climbing 14.8%, those in the North, which not only reflect our area but the wider region, rose by 9.2%. Rightmove said that this represented the possibility of a broader housing market recovery and this has certainly been reflected by the activity levels and number of sales generated across our offices in South Manchester, North Cheshire and the High Peak.

The good news for home buyers is that prices have adjusted significantly and, according to the Nationwide Building Society, have fallen 20% in real terms since the autumn of 2007. According to Oxford Economics and the Institute of Fiscal Studies’ Green Budget, prices are now below their long term trend.  They also point out that this is further backed up by the House Price Earnings Ratio which has fallen a quarter since the crisis and is now in line with its average since the period of low interest began in the 1990’s.

One of the recent factors that has had a positive impact on the market has been the increased competition among many lenders enabling more competitive mortgage deals for first time buyers and those requiring a high loan to value. These groups have been penalised over the last few years and this in itself has been a factor in slowing down the property market.

So we are seeing welcome and noticeable improvements in the property market but there are words of caution.  The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association says that post-recession home ownership levels have fallen dramatically and transactions are still operating at only 60% of those at the peak.  As a consequence it is likely that the private rented sector will continue to satisfy a significant part of our housing needs over the coming years.

The future sees the introduction of the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme for second hand homes next January and this is a 95% tax payer backed mortgage scheme.  Whilst this has attracted some criticism as it could provide an artificial stimulus to the market and cause prices to rise, it appears that some buyers are pre-empting any potential scheme-induced price rises by doing a deal now.

After several years of having to deal with a significant slump in confidence in the housing market, and with a lack of available funding, this commentator is certainly relieved that on this occasion there appears to be sound reasons for optimism for the market in our area.

John Halman

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.

Gascoigne Halman baking for the day


The team at Gascoigne Halman in Sale recently turned bakers for the day as they donned their aprons in order to produce a delicious selection of cakes and biscuits for a charity cake sale, in aid of the Children’s Starlight Unit at Wythenshawe Hospital.

The Starlight Unit provides children from the South Manchester area with outpatient, day case and inpatient care, delivered by specialist paediatric staff in a comforting, family-centred environment. The unit also provides a ‘parent’ room, which allows parents to stay with their child 24 hours a day and Parent Support Workers.

The Gascoigne Halman team set out their expertly decorated stall on Sale’s busy School Road, where they sold goodies to prospective home buyers and sellers, as well as other shoppers in the town centre and managed to raise a tasty sum of £281.83 for the charity.

The event was also attended by Jan Owen, fundraising co-ordinator for the Starlight Unit, who welcomed the support of the local estate agent and even managed to find time to indulge in a cake whilst she was there.

The cake sale is part of a year-long fundraising effort by the staff at Gascoigne Halman in Sale who have nominated the Children’s Starlight Unit as their chosen charity for 2013 and plans are already in hand for the next fund-raising event!

Gascoigne Halman turn bakers for the day


On Friday the 31st May, the team at the Knutsford office of estate agent Gascoigne Halman donned their aprons to produce a delicious selection of cakes, cookies and muffins for a charity Bakethon in aid of local charity, the Alternative Futures Group.

 The goodies were sold from a brightly decorated stall outside the office on Princess Street to prospective home buyers and sellers, as well as other shoppers in the town centre, and raised a tasty £320.

 The Alternative Futures Group is a charity providing person centred support to adults with learning disabilities and is a cause close to the hearts of some of the staff at Gascoigne Halman’s Knutsford office.  The funds raised will be of particular benefit to the charity’s supported housing facility in Knutsford which allows vulnerable adults to lead exciting, fulfilled lives as part of the local community.

 The Bakethon is the first of a series of fundraising events for the Alternative Futures Group being planned by Gascoigne Halman staff in Knutsford, with future suggestions including abseiling down a local Knutsford landmark, kayaking and white water rafting.

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