Category Archives: Market Review

The ultimate sign that Gascoigne Halman sell (40%) more houses

Based on a survey compiled by For Sale Sign Analysis during the month of May, Gascoigne Halman is delighted to reveal that they had the highest number of ‘Sold’ signs across Knutsford, compared to any other estate agent in the local area.

For Sale Sign Analysis is an independent company who operate throughout England and Wales and have taken the original concept of a ‘Board Count’ and developed it into a Market Share Report. Their Market Share Reports evaluate a comprehensive range of statistics that help estate agents to measure their performance and compare it with their competitors’ performance. The report covers a wide range of criteria including the level of instructions and the number of properties displaying a ‘for sale’ or ‘sold’ board.

The report revealed that Gascoigne Halman, had 40% more sold signs than any other estate agent in the Knutsford area.

Andrew Rogers, Manager of the Knutsford office said, “I’m delighted to see that we have a very strong position in the housing market in the Knutsford area. We go out of our way to provide exceptional customer service to our clients and this is a sure sign that we are doing a good job. The pressure’s now on to keep up the momentum and sell, sell, sell!”

Knutsford 16 (640x427)

Andrew (centre) and the Knutsford team

Successful seminar proves Buy to Let market is here to stay


A recent seminar hosted by Gascoigne Halman has proved that the Buy to Let market is stronger than ever, with the 120 available places at the Landlord & Investor Seminar being snapped up in just one week.

The idea behind the event was to arm potential and existing landlords with sound advice about approaching the lettings market and getting the most out of being a landlord. Supported by a panel of local experts from Baker Tilly, Nationwide and Chafes Solicitors, the event which was held at the De Vere Village Hotel in Cheadle, attracted interested individuals from across South Manchester and Cheshire.

Director of the Gascoigne Halman Lettings division, Philip Chadwick, commented, “I’m delighted that so many people were able to make it to our first seminar. There were extremely positive comments across the board and many of the attendees relished the opportunity to gain some inside knowledge about the Buy to Let market from our panels of experts. 

“With many people still unable to get on to the property ladder, rental demand is very much on the increase and as demand from tenants continues, this has opened up the Buy to Let market to a much more diverse range of investors.”

Gascoigne Halman we will be holding their next Landlord & Investor Seminar at the Cottons Hotel in Knutsford on Thursday 22nd May. For further information or to book your place please contact Christine McDougall on 01625 460 344 or email:

Poynton’s Gascoigne Halman Office Celebrates National Location Ranking

Dan Brownhill Poynton Office


Photo Caption: Office manager, Dan Brownhill, stands proudly outside Poynton’s Gascoigne Halman office

The team at Gascoigne Halman’s Poynton office is pleased to hear that Poynton has been revealed as the 7th best place to live in England and Wales.

The recent survey has analysed the key characteristics of each location, including crime rates, average salary of residents and average property prices and has concluded that Poynton is the best place to bring up a family in the whole of the North West.

Poynton’s Gascoigne Halman manager and proud Poynton resident, Dan Brownhill, says that he is not surprised at the result, stating that, “There’s a great community feel here. Everyone knows one another so crime is rarely a problem and we have some great schools in the area. We are close to the motorways but also have the countryside right on our doorstep. There’s just a real ‘feel good factor’ about the place.”

Poynton has recently seen renovations to its village centre, becoming more pedestrian friendly and new shops including a Waitrose and Costa Coffee opening. The village, however, still boasts a rich history. Its coalmining roots are remembered with cottages originally built for miners still standing.

Poynton’s properties are largely varied. According to Dan Brownhill, “There is a real mix of properties, both old and new, ranging anywhere from £150,000 to £1 million in value. Even though times are still tough financially, houses in Poynton are always in demand, most likely because there still is affordable housing along with the pricier properties. With last year’s top ten leaving out the North West altogether, the result is a great one for Poynton.”

Blooming Housing Market

John Halman of Gascoigne 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.

The much heralded green shoots of the property market which have been referred to over the course of the last couple of years are now well established and moving close to full bloom!

As the year has progressed we have seen a steady increase in sales and also an increasing number of press articles relating to the recovery of the property market with many anticipating an undesirable housing market boom.  For the most part these articles become self fulfilling as they provide the confidence that the market lives off to encourage purchasers to buy, and sellers to sell.

Much of the speculation surrounds the affect of Help to Buy 2, the Government’s housing initiative where they will offer guarantees on the first 20% of the loan, thereby allowing cheaper mortgages for purchasers requiring up to a 95% mortgage.   Whilst it is still early days, the products that have been released so far tend to be at interest rates of around 5% and some carry an arrangement fee as well.   This compares to current loans which are normally available for purchasers looking to borrow not more than 60% at a range of rates between 2% and 2.5%, fixed for three years.

Whilst Help to Buy will undoubtedly be a catalyst for purchase for some buyers, it is unlikely to transform the nature of the property market and will have a less beneficial effect than the press speculation that surrounds it.

There is no doubt, however, that the property market needs first time buyers and any assistance that can be given for this type of purchaser, many of whom will already be living in rented accommodation, can only be regarded as helpful and therefore a stimulant to the market overall.

There are currently many people paying rent in excess of that which they would pay in mortgage payments, if only they could find a deposit and have the confidence to buy.  Each of these aspects has been aided by Help to Buy 2.

This increase in confidence has brought with it an increase in activity in our own property market and has also resulted in pressure on prices in the more desirable locations for the first time in five years.  Our number of housing transactions has increased over the last six months on a month by month basis and it would seem that there is a considerable amount of pent up demand from families who have been sitting tight for the last few years and are now looking to move over the coming year.

For this reason if no other, we are optimistic that those blooms I referred to may well be in full flower by next spring, but beware of the coming frosts.

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 welcomes Government’s Help to Buy Scheme

John Halman

Local independent estate agent, Gascoigne Halman, has welcomed the Chancellor, George Osborne’s, new homebuying scheme called ‘Help to Buy’, announced in last months’ budget. The Chancellor said that the plan was “a new offer to the aspiration nation” as it will help families and individuals struggling to find a deposit for a home.

The scheme has two parts. The first, available from April 1st, offers buyers the opportunity to take an interest free loan from the government. It is available to any buyer of new property with a maximum purchase price of £600,000. This is an expansion of the FirstBuy shared equity scheme. The borrower will need a 5% deposit with the government lending up to 20%, interest free. The remaining 75% will come from mortgage lenders. The government is making £130bn available for this part of the scheme.

Commenting, John Halman said, “The great thing about this part of the new scheme is that it’s immediately available plus it’s not restricted to first-time buyers. Families, for example, who find themselves shackled by a home which is too small for their needs but who have been struggling to find an affordable new mortgage can finally get moving, as long as they aspire to a new home. What’s more, anyone can benefit – there is no salary cap.”

The second part of ‘Help to Buy’, which sees the government acting as guarantor for some of the borrower’s debt, is available from January 2014 and is open to all buyers of new build and existing homes. It replaces and extends the NewBuy scheme where currently the mortgage guarantee is co-funded jointly by the government and developers. Under ‘Help to Buy’, the mortgage indemnity will be provided solely by the government.

Borrowers will need a 5% to 20% deposit, meaning they will be able to borrow up to a 95% loan to value mortgage. The government guarantee will cover the remaining amount above 80% loan to value. The maximum purchase price will again be £600,000.

Commenting on this part of the scheme, John said, “The final details of this second part of the scheme have yet to be finalised but from the information we have you can see that the mortgage underwriting scheme will provide much needed help for the second hand market.

“I would predict that by this time next year we will be seeing real improvements in the market. Government schemes have focused on first time buyers and new build properties but with this we will have an initiative that also offers help to those looking to purchase an existing house.”

Both parts of the scheme will run from three years.

2012 proved a good year for sellers in Didsbury



Recent figures from Gascoigne Halman should help build confidence for people looking to sell their home this year. In 2012 the estate agent reported that they sold 86% of the Didsbury properties they took on.

There are several reasons why buyers continue to be attracted to premium properties in Didsbury. Essentially it’s just one big village ‘Didsbury is to Manchester what Muswell Hill is to London’. The leafy suburb has a real sense of community, with plenty of ever changing and improving independent amenities which are strongly supported by the residents and enable the town to keep its well-known character and charm.

Manager of the Didsbury branch of Gascoigne Halman, Markus Jolleys, commented, “The number of properties we’ve sold has increased by 8% in the last year, a significant figure given market conditions. We have noted that more people seem to be actively on the hunt for houses, which is evident from the increased number of buyer inquiries. This is a good sign that there is improved confidence in the housing market and with house prices looking to remain fairly static and more first time buyers set to step onto the property ladder, some aided by the Bank of England’s’ Funding For Lending’ scheme, it looks like extremely good news for people wanting to sell in the area.”

Markus continues, “Didsbury has always been a very sought after location due to the number of excellent schools and the array of restaurants, bars and cafes which span across the East and West sides of the town. However, with the relocation of the BBC to Media City, superb bus links to Manchester and the highly anticipated Metrolink service set to begin operation in the summer, there are strong suggestions that the demand for properties in Didsbury is set to further increase.”

For more information on buying or selling your home, visit or call the Gascoigne Halman team in Didsbury on 0161 445 7474.

Photo Caption:  Gascoigne Halman Estate Agent, Markus Jolleys

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