Category Archives: Auction

Market Review December 2014

Market receives boost from Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

As we move towards the end of the year we can reflect on a significantly improved property market in our local area with overall price rises of between 5% and 10%.  This compares favourably to the North West generally where, according to the Nationwide and Halifax statistics, properties have risen in value by less than 5%.

This divergence from the figures for the North West is brought about by our local market enjoying higher levels of employment and prosperity than many of the industrial areas which form part of the region.  In fact, when comparing the South Manchester/North Cheshire area generally, I often find that my company’s average price exceeds all parts of the country apart from those located in London and the immediately adjoining counties.

It is particularly pleasing that the market has continued to support a high level of sales right into November, a time when things traditionally become quieter.  Some correspondents are suggesting that the surge in economic activity is petering out but housing remains a highly sought after commodity and seems to be regarded as a safe haven for people’s savings and pensions.

This confidence has resulted in us seeing a growth in the number of private landlords entering into the Buy to Let market where returns can exceed those found in banks and building societies and where the investment is deemed as safe as houses!  Like all investments it is not without an element of risk but anybody who looks back in history will see the long term average is inevitably upward.  Rents too have continued to edge upwards as demand outstrips supply.

Of greater interest is what the market will do as we move into 2015.  The Chancellor’s surprise announcement in the Autumn Budget Statement of a massive overhaul of the Stamp Duty system is welcome, as many in the industry have been arguing for some years that the method of calculation as a slab tax is unfair.  Henceforth it will be calculated on a sliding scale with less Stamp Duty payable on all transactions where the house price is less than £937,500.   Early predictions suggest that this will have a beneficial effect on the number of transactions next year and some pundits are arguing that it may add between 1% and 2% to average prices.

In addition, the indications are that bank rate is likely to remain at its current level of 0.5% for the majority of 2015 with some forecasters now predicting no change before 2016.  As a result we have seen a progressive lowering of the rate of interest of fixed term mortgage deals with some five year fixed products as low as 2.6%.

Of course, next year is an election year which inevitably brings with it a degree of uncertainty and nervousness which can be reflected in the market.  The economic outlook has had a bumpy ride through the autumn with forecasts of slowing growth in China and a flat economy at best in Europe.  Although these places are a long way from Cheshire they will undoubtedly have an effect on our market and prices through the coming twelve months.

Overall, however, we remain encouraged that the Chancellor’s changes will provide a boost to activity and that prices will continue to edge upwards through next year, albeit at a slower rate than this year.

We therefore look forward with continued optimism to the coming twelve months but with a little more uncertainty for the period thereafter.

John Halman

John Halman is Managing Director of Gascoigne Halman, an estate agent with eighteen offices in South Manchester and is the North West Regional Residential Spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Gascoigne Halman Sale to raffle off Doll’s house for Wythenshawe hospital’s Starlight Children’s Unit

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A stunning mock Victorian detached doll’s house is being raffled off with the help of local estate agent, Gascoigne Halman, to raise funds for the Starlight Children’s Unit at Wythenshawe hospital (University Hospital of South Manchester).

The Starlight Children’s Unit cares for children from birth to 16 years and provides a comprehensive outpatient and inpatient service, including a high dependency facility for very poorly children.

The team at Gascoigne Halman in Sale organised the raffle, as part of their year-long fundraising efforts for the Children’s Unit, which was nominated as their chosen charity for 2013.

Raffle tickets can be purchased for £2.00 a strip from Gascoigne Halman’s Sale branch; Wythenshawe hospital’s Fundraising Office; and the Starlight Children’s Unit (also at the hospital).

The raffle draw will take place at 2.00pm, Friday 16 August 2013 outside the Sale branch of Gascoigne Halman on School Road and managing director John Halman will be in charge of drawing the lucky winner.

Described as an utter delight, viewings on this property are essential.


Brochure Here –

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.

Over £1.6 million worth of property sells at Cheshire auction

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.Image

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