Gazumping and sealed bids return to central London!

The number of buyers looking for “Brexit bargains” in areas such as Chelsea and Marylebone has risen by as much as a third in recent weeks as claims by London estate agents.

In the sub-£1 million bracket the interest is at the most intense where stamp duty rates are lower. With this also being the case in the £3-£5 million bracket, the Chinese buyers extremely keen to invest.

According to the estate agents Savills, prices have fallen by an average of 12.5 per cent in the prime central London locations. This was since the peak in late 2014 when the former chancellor George Osborne increased stamp duty on properties over £1 million.

Since the EU referendum last June value of the pound against the dollar fall of, in turn means that the London market is now around 30 per cent cheaper for foreign buyers and as much as 50 per cent less expensive for some individual properties.

“We’ve been through a torrid time but Brexit has saved the property market at the higher end. I am delighted to say we have agreed £30 million of sales in the past two weeks. We had a run of seven sales in the £3 million to £5 million range and are now short of stock.” Said Managing director of agents Glentree International, Trevor Abrahmsohn

Buying agent Jo Eccles, of Sourcing Property, said: “The market is definitely picking up across all price brackets. We have been bidding on a family house in Knightsbridge for just under £5 million, there is competition from another buyer and the vendor has this afternoon asked to go to sealed bids.We have seen nearly 35 per cent increase in the past three weeks in the number of buying clients we are representing and a 60 per cent increase in serious enquiries from potential buying clients over the past two weeks.”

The managing partner of agent Black Brick, Camilla Dell said: “We are also seeing a return of competitive bidding across the spectrum, particularly on property that is priced correctly in line with the current market. We have also seen a return of gazumping. We recently secured a flat in Canary Wharf for a client at £1.48 million. Our initial offer of £1.44 million was accepted but we were gazumped by another buyer who offered £1.5 million. Luckily, we managed to re-agree the sale at the original asking price as our client was a cash buyer.”

Between central London and the suburbs the gap has been closing, where there have been double-digit annual rises in prices over the past two years has been another factor.

Garrington Property Finders Jonathan Hopper said “Prices in the outer boroughs will never catch those in prime London, but the boom in the ’burbs is narrowing the gap with the flagging centre — and making properties of all sizes in desirable postcodes appear better value.”

These figures can only suggest that the Help to Buy scheme is helping those who wish to get onto the property ladder.

Head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, Brian Murphy stated that the findings suggest that mortgages at 90% and 95% LTV are being used responsibly through Help to Buy to give first time buyers an option that was in danger of becoming extinct.

“The Bank of England and government are coming under increasing pressure to take the heat out of sectors of the housing market, but writing off a scheme that is aiding those who most need it – predominantly first time buyers with modest levels of deposit – is not the way to go about it.

Lending standards have been carefully monitored ever since the recession, and the new mortgage rules [under the Mortgage Market Review] mean that scrutiny of borrowers’ finances remains rigorous and thorough with careful consideration given to the impact of future interest rate rises.

Providing this continues, there is a strong argument to support the availability of mortgages with far more realistic deposit requirements than has become the norm in an increasingly lop-sided housing market, especially for aspiring first-time buyers.”

Take advantage of our special discounted rates during June 2014 as Property Property Property will be introducing reviews on your listed properties and areas in which your clients are interested in, meaning that


Abbeywood where house prices are way below the London average and price growth is strong at the Crossrail hotspot!

Abbey Wood SE2 postcode has grown by an impressive 76 per cent in the last five years, but the average remains a relatively modest £309,560.

Buyers have been pouring into Abbey Wood in anticipation of next year’s launch of Crossrail ‘the Elizabeth line’ which will cut journey times to central London by almost half an hour.

While the area is not a thing of beauty and boasts few amenities, it has streets of good-value period terraces where a three-bedroom house would cost £375,000 to £425,000. You could get a slightly dated purpose-built two-bedroom flat in Abbey Wood for about £250,000.

The research by Bairstow Eves, using Countrywide data, evaluated average prices in every postcode in London. Then, concentrating on the cheapest 25 per cent of postcodes, it analysed their one-, two-, and five-year price growth to establish the areas where prices are on the strongest upswing.

Bellingham and Catford (SE6), an area well-placed to link to Crossrail services via neighbouring Forest Hill, has performed almost as strongly, with prices up 71 per cent in the same period, to an average £380,641.

For buyers on really slim budgets the bargain basement postcodes are Thamesmead, just north of Abbey Wood, where average prices stand at £252,747, up 60 per cent in five years, and Dagenham (RM10) where prices have grown 66 per cent to an average of £270,878. The once-desolate Thamesmead Estate is currently the focus of a £1.5 billion regeneration. Housing association Peabody was granted planning permission for the first phase of its transformation of the area late last year. There are also plans to link it to the London Overground.

Predictably, none of today’s leading areas are in Travel Zones 1, 2 or 3, where  nothing qualifies as affordable. More than one in three are perched on the outer fringes of London – MitchamDagenhamHarold WoodWellingSuttonNortholtWest Drayton, and Uxbridge. Their low prices combined with good transport links have been tempting an increasing flow of buyers priced out of more central locations, pushing their prices upward.

This is set to be positive year for Aberdeen’s commercial market


The political landscape and predictions are widespread over how the snap general election could affect the markets. With Scotland dealing with the negative impact on property investment and market confidence amongst some investors and developers because of the prospect of a second independence referendum.

However in Aberdeen, the atmosphere has largely driven by the fortunes of the oil and gas industry for the past two years, with the sector now showing largely positive signs. But not to say the wider political backdrop is of no concern, the UK’s vote to leave the EU immediately benefited Aberdeen’s oil and gas economy. The North Sea producers have profited from production costs being incurred in a depreciated sterling relative to a product sold in US dollars, as have local service companies pitching for business around the world conducted in a largely dollar-denominated market. With a growing confidence in the local air which is now impacting  itself in our property market.

The office sector was most impacted sector by the energy industries. The fortunes between 2013 and 2015 fluctuating and with the best quality space has maintained headline rents and interest from occupiers despite carrying a record level of voids. However, it must be said that much of the remaining stock has seen its day, being functionally or economically challenged or located on peripheral estates which have long been a unique feature of Aberdeen’s property supply.

In comparison, Aberdeen’s industrial market has held up reasonably well. During 2016, take-up was in line with the 10-year average with rents generally remaining stable although supply of second-hand stock has increased.

Investor appetite for Aberdeen is beginning to show signs of increasing. A North American investor, for example, acquired the Lloyd’s Register building in Prime Four Business Park for £41 million in February, pushing Q1 office investment levels to £49 million, more than the total volume recorded during 2016. Investors are seeking a ‘flight to quality’, looking for well let assets in the city, which may offer more attractive yields than elsewhere in the UK.

The good news is that office lettings in Q1 2017 were 181,000 sq ft (16,815 sq m), the highest quarterly take-up since Q3 2013. This clearly indicates that the local mood has moved up a gear, in part reflected by oil companies Total and Marathon committing to new leases and a number of large requirements circulating.

Further positive news comes with Hurricane Energy announcing a new find west of Shetland with estimated recoverable reserves of a billion barrels and small local independent Chrysoar announcing a $3 billion acquisition from Shell comprising 10 separate assets in the UK continental shelf with funding from US private equity firm EIG Partners.

The smart money is clearly backing a more positive future for Aberdeen and the property market is starting to reflect this.


Home ownership at 29 year low

According to the latest survey conducted by English Housing Survey, only 63% of us now live in homes we own outright or with a mortgage following the 11th successive yearly decline in home ownership.

In contrast, as homeownership fell, the private rental sector grew by 19%.

the figures show that for the first we are seeing far more outright homeowners that those owning with a mortgage, indicating how much harder it’s become to get on to the housing ladder.

The younger priced out generation is hit the hardest, as 10 years ago more than half (55.6%) of 25-34 year olds owned a home with a mortgage but now its just a third (33.7%). Over the same time proportion of 25-34 year old privately renting has more than doubled, rising from 21% to 48%.

Across England Housebuilding is at its lowest peacetime levels since the 1920s and as these prices continue to pull away from wags and deposits now averaging £30,000 the National Housing Federation fears that home ownership could soon become the preserve of only the richest in society.

with home ownership being slowly pushed further out of reach and the number of households in affordable social housing also falling over the last thirty years, more people are renting from a private landlord. they tend to find themselves trapped in a cycle of expensive short term that leave certain stability or abilities to save for a house deposit, despite how hard they work

YouGov research for the National Housing Federation showed taht almost two thirds(63%) of private renters aged 25-44 years old in Britain said they thought they would have bought their own home by now. out of all private renters, the majority (56%) say that they’ve rented for longer than planned because they have no alternative.

David Orr , chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said : “People in their thirties are seeing their chance of home ownership slip through fingers as they struggle to save for the enormous deposits and mortgage payments, no matter how hard they work. We are in danger of winding back the clock on homeowenership, as house prices continue to rise only the privileged few can only hope to affording it.

At the moment people who can’t buy a home little or no choice but a rent privately going from one short term let to another at an ever escalating cost. we believe that people should be able to have a home they can afford, which means more affordable homes to rent or buy through shared ownership and a private rental market that’s fit for purpose.

we’ve had enough of short term, gimmicky housing policies. our younger generation are having all hopes of affording , affordable homes. The  next government must produce a long term plan for housing and commit to the end the housing crisis within a generation.”

Gavin Smart , interim chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Housing, added :” The English Housing Survey is a stark demonstration of national housing crisis. its clear that the cost of housing is affecting people all over the country in particular younger generations and people living in London.

However, homeownership continued to fail in 2013-2014, while the proportion of private renters continued to rise. nearly half of all households aged between 25-34 are living in the private rented sector, a figure that has more than doubled in the last 10 years. for the first time, there are more households who owned their home outright than with a mortgage, showing just how polarised housing wealth has become.

working households who still have to reply on housing benefit has almost doubled in just five years. if radical action isnt taken now more people are going to continue to struggle and the housing benefit bill will continue to grow. Making housing more affordable means building more homes of all tenures for ownership, shared ownership, private rent and social rent. To do this we need political will, commitment and leadership, We would like all political parties to commit to ending the housing crisis within a generation, and we think the government should take a more active role in boosting housing supply

Rents has risen by 16% over the last half decade

A new report from Your Move and Reeds Rains has found that in the past 5 years the average of rent has risen by 16.3%.

In absolute term, the average residential rent in England and Wales has grown by £107 since January 2010, to reach £763 as of January 2015.

This is an annual rent rise of 3.0% over the last half decade. However this represents a real term increase of 0.6% per annum when adjusted for inflation over the same period.

Recently, rent has fallen on a monthly basis down by 0.6% between December 2014 and January 2015. Rent is actually higher on a annual basis up by 2.8% higher than what was seen in January.

Adrian Gill, Director of Estate agents Reeds Rain and Your Move, comments: “the nature and affordability of UK housing is transforming before our eyes. In the last 5 years the private rented sector has successfully absorbed an unprecedented influx of tenants, while rental prices have broadly tracked inflation. As ever, the devil is in the detail but as this growth accelerates, even more investments will be necessary for the industry to keep up. So we need more buy to let landlords to help solve the crisis in demand for homes to rent.

It’s also important to recognise that these figures don’t float in a hermetically sealed chamber. There are many other aspects of this sector that feed it like finance and the housing market.  Rent represents a landlord’s attempt to recoup investments at a reasonable market rate dictated by consumer prices, inflation and basic principles of supply and demand. Over the long term, rents also tend to reflect higher house prices.

In real terms, rents have risen only incrementally. But any real and sustained growth in rents should offer a clear lesson

As with the purchase market, the only clear way to make rented housing dramatically more affordable is to build more homes, far quicker than in our current case. And until this occurs, landlords are more likely to earn double digit returns on their investments

Property’s abroad with France at the Top of the List

With the sterling hitting a seven year high against the euro, these are ideal buying conditions are tempting the Brits back to the French Market.

This is the first time mortgage rates are at a 60 year low and prices back at the levels they were in 2007 its perhaps no surprise that France has accounted for 46% of Conti’s mortgage enquiries over the last four months.

Rhone-Alpes region best known for its Skiing properties are proving to be the most popular pulling in the most buyers.

However, this steady increase of the value to the pound against the euro, which has reached a 7year high of €1.34 last week, is effectively shedding tens of thousands of pound off buyer’s budgets.

With the pound currently hovering around €1.33, a €200,000 home in France now costs £150,376 compared with £175,439 back in the summer of 2013 when the pound was worth €1.14. That is a saving of £25,000. Investors, full of fresh optimism, are bringing their plans forward and snapping up bargains while they can.

Clare Nessling, director at Conti, says:” Over the last three years, but during 2014 in particular, Rhone-Alpes has been growing in popularity, with more than 4 in 10 French Mortgages being taken out to purchase a ski property in the region. And also the department of Haute-Savovie, where popular resorts such as Chamonix Morzine and Les and Les Gets are located, are at the top of buyer’s lists.

The French Ski market is most popular with the British but at the same time is also extremely well supported by the domestic market, making rental opportunities very good. Another bonus is that it’s also very accessible wither by air, train and car and the culture is familiar, which British buyers like. When you combine this with the current mix of ideal buying conditions, including the favourable exchange rate, it’s basically a great time to buy a French ski property.”

French mortgage rates are still at their lowest in decades, with deals starting at just 2.2% for variable mortgage over 10 years, and 3.25 per cent for a 25 year fixed-rate mortgage. Unlike many countries where the best rates are limited to those with the biggest deposits, both of these deals, and many others, are available for mortgages of up to 80per cent loan to value.

Online estate agencies are predicted to force ‘rouge agents’ out of business

Property search experts; The Buying Agents, has stated that estate agents are delivering poor levels of customer service and in by doing so will be forced out of business by 2020 this is a result of quality, online based agencies emerging in today’s market.

The Buying agents believe that high street estate agencies can no longer afford to change high fees and deliver poor customer service. This firm has also claimed that over 90% of their clients would decide who they sold with based on the level of service they received when they were buying their properties.

Consequently, Henry Sherwood the Managing Director of The Buying Agents has predicted that high street agencies are falling to apply the standards of good practice in customer service amongst other things, and in doing so they will be out of business over the next 5 years, since the property market continues to evolve increasingly in favour of the digital medium.

Henry Sherwood continues to say; “We are seeing an emerging trend in the growing number of seller who opt for an online agent as a result of their own buying experience with high street agents. Many customers feel they could do much better themselves at a fraction of the cost by only paying for the services they actually require. As a result, agencies not meeting client expectations when they are looking to buy will quickly become a dying breed over the next 5 years.

“Encouragingly, the emergence of so many online agents has inadvertently acted as a kind of filter for ensuring that only quality agencies survive on the high street which is great news for us and for the clients we look after .“

The Demand from British buyers remains strong

Sourcing Property have released a new report into its clients of 2014, this reports shows a predominantly British clients base with 69% domestic buyers.

Buyers from France and Italy made up 9% and 5% respectively, with the remainder a mixture of overseas buyers from the Middle East, Far East and Australia. Of these, 53% were owner/occupiers whilst 47% were investing in buy to let properties.

Jo Eccles, Managing Director of Sourcing Property: “People are often of the view that buying agents, particularly thoise in London, are largely acting for the super rich overseas buyers, however he goes on to say that we have a very strong British client base with the majority   of which are owners occupiers (78%). Out of this 13% are first time buyers and 12% were buying for children which are becoming an increasing trend. Our clientele also work across a very diverse range of industries, 50% are in banking and the financial services and the rest are divided across industries including insurance, fashion, recruitment, government, property and law.

We saw a lot of sealed bids in the first half of 2014; and in 4 out of 5 sealed bids we entered; we were bidding against other buying agents. Buyers that are unrepresented often didn’t even get a look in. In the final six months of the year, the market became very price sensitive and where that asking price was too high, a lot of buyers and tenants refused to even bid as they didn’t want to deal with unmotivated landlords and sellers. In whole prices remained fairly flat with the expectation of trophy homes, where some buyers were prepared to pay up to 2% premium to secure something rare.”

When dealing with rentals and relocations Sourcing Property has seen a 26% growth in 2013, with the highest majority of relocations from the US at 46% with 36% from Europe and 18% from within the UK. These also include employees from CBRE, Lulu Lemon, JP Morgan and RBC.

Jo adds: “We are in talks with a number of large corporations to handle their employee’s relocations, but we are expecting this growth to continue as companies, especially tech, digital, media and finance, increase their relocation numbers and many would be buyers opt to rent instead. We have a partnered with a superb settling in and education consultants as part of this growth.”

Confessions of a Tenant

A very new report from online letting agents PropertLetByUs has highlighted some of the secrets that tenants are keeping from their landlords.

As you would expect, the number one tenant confession revealed in the study was the one and only making excuses for paying rent or avoiding paying rent that is what this study has shown. 63% of the tenants admitted to trying to dodge paying rent followed by 59% of tenants keeping pets with any authorisation. Tenants redecorating without permission (45%) and a third of tenants admitted to damaging walls by knocking nails.

This study also reveals that nearly a forth of tenants’ confessed that they have rarely or never cleaned their ovens, 18% haven’t mowed the lawn regularly, 11% have dumped rubbish at the front and 6% have sublet a room. When it comes to expensive damage to property, 4% admit to burning holes in floor coverings and concealing them with mats.

Jane Morris, Managing Director of PropertyLetByUs comments: “Our research shows that a considerable amount of tenants have made excuses to avoid paying rent, which is worrying. The latest industry figures show that tenants arrears are on the rise again, up by 7.2% in 2014. This represents an increase of 4,600 tenancies compared to the same quarter in 2013.

One key way that landlords can ensure they protect themselves from arrears and potentially bad tenants, is by conducting very thorough tenants reference checks. Background checks on tenants are so important and in doing so, you end up picking the right tenant and it can save a long and costly process further down the line.

Landlords need to be thorough in conducting background checks and above all reference gathering, including bank statements for the past 3 months; previous landlord references to check the tenant paid rent on time; credit checks, incorporating fraud indicators; and employer’s reference. It’s highly important for to also check identity and proof of current address- ideally tax and insurance documents and talk to at length to a prospective tenant.

Landlords should also make regular check on their property during the tenancy, so they can spot and breaches. In addition, landlords should also check each rental property thoroughly for signs of common damage, which can often be misses at the end of the tenancy, potentially costing landlord’s hundreds of pounds.”

Could this be a ‘bumper year’ for North East property prices?

Are changes to stamp duty and pension reforms bringing a bounty of new buyers to the market, creating a bumper year for North East property?

The announcement last year on the changes of Pensions are due to come into effect this April these will allow savers over 55 greater freedom to take their pensions as a lump sum, with a so called “silver landlords” likely to take advantage of the return on their investment offered by buy to let properties by buying homes to rent out pushing up prices.

Chancellor George Osborne also announced in December’s autumn statement the homebuyers that are purchasing properties with less than £937,000 will pay less stamp duty cutting £1000 from the cost of buying a North East home and encouraging more buyers into the market.

Expected delays and low inflation in lifting interest rates have also led to suggestions of a “mortgage price war” as several major lenders launch New Year “record low” fixed-rate deals.

Mortgage approvals, this week have hit a 17-month low and are 23% down on this time last year.

Ajay Jagota, founder and Chief Executive Officer of KIS lettings agents, nonetheless predicts a “bumper year” for North East property

“Despite what the doom-mongers might tell you, 2015 has all the makings for a bumper year for North East property. The ease of pension regulations will undoubtedly bring more purchasers to the market both as owner-occupiers and buy-to-let investors, rising up prices.  At the same time, stamp duty changes will make it cheaper and easier to buy a home. The North East rental yields are as good as any in the UK and as rental returns rather than capital appreciation are key to making money out of property, out region stands to gain the most. As a result I think we can expect to see double digit house prices growth in the North East 10% seems a good bet with rents set to rise in the region of 6%

North East have all the correct conditions existing  , low prices, high rental yields, strong demand, affordability of mortgages – means that if buyers and investors decide 2015 is a time to buy then self-fulfilling prophecy could raise prices just like they did in London.

As a result, bargain hunters need to strike early to get the best deals, and should stick clear of  signing lengthy tenancy agreements if they’re renting at the moment and are looking purchase”