Category Archives: Sales

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’s Lee Tickle Wins National ‘Employee of the Year’ Award

Lee Tickle and TM training and development’s Peter Chapman

Lee Tickle from Gascoigne Halman in Stockton Heath is celebrating after being awarded Relocation Agent Network’s Employee of the Year Award 2014. The accolade acknowledges the individual’s ability to continually go above and beyond their daily duties in providing the highest service to their customers.

The Employee of the Year Award, sponsored by TM training and development, was announced at the Network’s annual National Conference, held this year at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in London on Friday 14 November. The Annual Conference and Awards Dinner includes an industry leading trade exhibition and has become one of the UK’s most prestigious estate agency events and a calendar highlight for Network members.

John Halman said, “Gascoigne Halman is delighted that Lee Tickle has been named Employee of the Year 2014. Lee is an invaluable member of the Stockton Heath team, continually demonstrating the highest standards of professionalism and continually going the extra mile for his customers.”

Relocation Agent Network’s Managing Director, Richard Tucker said of the win, “The Employee of the Year Award recognises the high calibre of staff employed by our members. It’s a fantastic accolade for Gascoigne Halman and a great achievement for Lee, who has worked hard to be crowned 2014’s Employee of the Year.”

For further information, please contact Gascoigne Halman, 01925 860 400 or stocktonheath@gascoignehalman.co.uk

Local estate agent raises over £1300 for St. Rocco’s Hospice

St Rocco's Hospice cheque presentation (2)

 

Photo Caption (L-R): Bobby Shahlavi, Branch Manager for Gascoigne Halman in Lymm, Celia Renny, Staff Nurse at St Rocco’s, Sophie Birch, Staff Fundraiser at St. Rocco’s, Chris Rees, Branch Manager for Gascoigne Halman in Stockton Heath

Local estate agent Gascoigne Halman has raised over £1300 for St. Rocco’s Hospice in a multitude of fun and challenging fundraising events throughout the year. The donation to St. Rocco’s Hospice is part of a larger fundraising initiative which saw Gascoigne Halman raise over £10,000 with donations also going to St Ann’s Hospice, East Cheshire Hospice and Blythe House.

The fundraising efforts involved staff from its 18 offices across the North West which included a charity bike ride, The Wilmslow Half Marathon, a 5-a-side football tournament, a duck race, a Bakethon, a sponsored walk at Lyme Park, as well as a ‘It’s a Knock Out’ Challenge.

Commenting on the success of the fundraising efforts, John Halman said: “We are really pleased that we have been able to support these local hospices throughout the year. These very worthwhile charities do such a great job in supporting and caring for people when they need it the most. The team has done a fantastic job in all of their fundraising efforts and I feel very proud that we have been able to raise an extremely significant amount of money!”

Gascoigne Halman has supported a number of charities over the years including Children in Need, The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, The David Lewis Centre and The Christie. Over the recent years, the estate agency has raised in excess of £50,000 for local charitable causes.

Gascoigne Halman shortlisted for 2 national estate agent awards

Gascoigne Halman is delighted to have been shortlisted for two national estate agent awards.

The leading independent estate agent has been shortlisted in the Relocation Agent Network (RAN) 2014 Best Agent in Cheshire & North Wales and Lee Tickle from the company’s Stockton Heath office has been shortlisted in Relocation Agent Network’s 2014 Employee of the Year Award.

RAN is an affiliation of the country’s leading independent estate agents who together make up the most influential estate agency force in Britain. RAN is backed by Cartus, the world’s largest relocation company.

By being part of the RAN alliance, Gascoigne Halman has the first opportunity to access the large number of purchasers moving into the area from other parts of the country through over 620 offices nationwide.

The Best Agent award is an annual prize for the agent that has consistently made the best overall contribution to the Network throughout the year. To reach this stage of the award agents must demonstrate excellent customer service, independent business initiatives, local market share and a commitment to the Relocation Agent Network principles.

Lee Tickle’s award acknowledges individuals who go above and beyond to provide the highest levels of customer service in their estate agency.

John Halman, Gascoigne Halman’s Managing Director said, “We are delighted to be shortlisted, especially as the awards recognise the hard work and combined effort, commitment and enthusiasm of our entire team.”

The winners will be announced on the 14th November at the RAN Awards Dinner in London.

Luxury apartments at Connaught Place, Hale Barns village, released for sale

Hale_View 04_Exterior_final_UPDATE_040914

Computer generated images of Connaught Place

24 stunning new apartments, which will form the centrepiece of Connaught Place, the new-look Hale Barns village centre, have been released for sale, with prices starting from £249,950.

The 24 two and three bedroom apartments at Connaught Place, the brand new development on the site of the former Square Shopping Centre, will sit alongside new shops, cafes and restaurants as well as a Booths supermarket offering a vibrant and attractive new destination for Hale Barns.

Ideally located at the heart of Hale Barns village, the apartments at Connaught Place are contemporary in style and offer a choice of internal layouts. All of the apartments have at least one terrace (some even have three) either off the open plan lounge or one or more of the bedrooms.

Hale_View 02_Bedroom_final_01-1

Designed for a luxury lifestyle, the apartments offer a high quality internal specification. The kitchens are fitted with Neff integrated appliances, bathrooms feature Villeroy & Bosch sanitary ware and showers by Hansgrohe with underfloor heating as standard.

The apartments also feature oak flooring throughout the kitchen, living room and entrance hall providing a natural yet luxury feel.

With energy costs in mind, the apartments are heated with a highly efficient heating system, and the kitchens and living rooms feature energy efficient LED downlighters as well as a sophisticated ventilation system.

The properties at Connaught Place all come with secure parking.

Commenting on the new development, Michael Thompson, head of Land and New Homes at Gascoigne Halman said, “The former 1970’s precinct at Hale Barns was in need of a face lift. This new development is just what Hale Barns has needed for a long time, providing the village with a centre that residents can be proud of.

“We have had a great deal of interest in the apartments and have already secured a number of reservations.”

Anyone interested in obtaining more information on Connaught Place should contact the Hale office of Gascoigne Halman on 0161 929 8118.

Altrincham Estate Agent get thumbs up

RAN Tom

Photo Caption: Left to Right- Peter Higham and Tom Slater

Altrincham estate agent, Tom Slater is celebrating after becoming an accredited Relocation Agent Specialist.

The accreditation was awarded to the Gascoigne Halman employee by Relocation Agent Network and is achieved by completing a comprehensive training programme, The Importance of Service.

Gascoigne Halman is part of Relocation Agent Network, a national network of independent estate agents who assist people to find a house when they are relocating. The Network introduced the training programme to ensure each of their members provides the very highest customer service to those relocating around the UK.

To gain his accreditation, Tom completed three phases of learning, starting with four training sessions on the importance of customer service. This was followed by three online seminars covering how best to help customers who are relocating around the UK.

Finally, Tom converted his theoretical learning into a practical skill set by delivering assistance to three relocating customers.

Peter Higham of Gascoigne Halman said, “We take staff development very seriously and Tom’s accreditation is a great example of what can be achieved when staff are supported properly to improve their skills. Of course, having a Relocation Agent Specialist in the team is also great for our relocating customers.”

Jobs to do for the weekend

JFH 2014

If, like me, you enjoy your garden, you will be a regular viewer of Monty Don’s Gardeners’ World which each week features “jobs to do for the weekend” – a timely reminder of things that demand our attention.

If you are thinking of moving this autumn, or even just wanting to ensure you are doing things which will enhance the saleability and value of your home, then here’s a list of some of the things that may require your attention, not just this weekend, but over the coming weeks.

First impressions count.  The exterior of your property is the first thing a prospective buyer sees.  Keep it neat and clean.  The front door is particularly important as it is a focal point and people tend to drive past a house before making an appointment to view.  Don’t forget to keep your windows clean.

Even if you are not in Monty Don’s league, tidy the garden.  Ensure that lawns are well trimmed and keep the gardens neat.  A tidy garden looks great viewed from a window and also looks bigger than an unkempt one. Consider planting some winter flowering bulbs now in pots – you can position them by your front door to create some colour and a warm welcome during the autumn months.

Internally, if any part of your house needs decorating badly, redecorate it if possible.  It enhances the presentation.  Tidy wardrobes and cupboards look larger and give a good impression.  If cupboards and fitted wardrobes look over crowded a buyer may feel it would be too small for their requirements.

Resolve to sort out those irritating jobs (squeaky doors, dripping taps) you have been meaning to do. If your house contains stairways it is essential that these are kept clear as any objects on them are dangerous and present a crowded appearance.

Neat bedrooms help sales.  Make sure the beds are well made and that dress and table tops are neatly arranged.  Sparkling bathrooms are essential.

If your property is on the market, fresh flowers and plants in a home can make quite a difference to its appearance.  Most importantly, light rooms are cheerful rooms to a prospective buyer.  If a room is dark, try to keep it as light as possible by drawing curtains back and using carefully positioned lamps.

Also, please remember too many introductions are distracting.  Don’t have the whole family trailing inquisitively behind.  This enables a buyer to concentrate on the house.  Noise is a distraction and it is best to turn off radios and televisions.

Whilst I am sure that your pet is very dear to you, not everybody likes them.  Avoid Fido from becoming a distraction.

Finally, never apologise for the appearance of your home.  It will only draw attention to something that would otherwise have probably gone unnoticed.

I am sure, that you, like me with Monty, will find it difficult to abide by all of the tips, but if you manage the majority, it gives you a better chance to make your successful move this autumn.

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.

Welcome to Gascoigne Halman's Blog

Keep up to date with the goings on of the Area's Largest Independent Estate Agent

Agencytrainer's Blog

Helping sales and lettings agents be exceptional