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22Dec

Hot on the heels of Rightmove, property portal OnTheMarket have published their Property Sentiment Index December 2022, which reports on their data from November 2022 on UK and regional basis.
In their report, OnTheMarket describe what they refer to as 'subtle rebalancing' of the market with a slowdown caused in part by 'continuing upheaval, challenges in the macro-economic climate and the chatter around mortgage rates' affecting 'the confidence of average property-seeking consumers'.
They do go on to discuss the seasonal impact of the festive season, which in pre-Covid times we would have expected to be the case. It's worth not forgetting that it is December and we would normally experience a quietening of activity ahead of a pick-up again in Spring. As we mentioned in our most recent article following the reporting of Rightmove, it's difficult to remember normal trading patterns in the property market but these could be them.

The main points from OnTheMarket were as follows:
November 2022 Headlines

From our sample of sellers surveyed, UK average rates of confidence over the last month were as follows:

63% of sellers were confident that they would sell their property within the next 3 months, a decrease when compared to 82% October 2022 (65% in November vs 84% in October in Wales)
27% of sellers were confident that they would sell their properties within the next 6 months, an increase when compared to 13% October 2022 (26% vs 13% in Wales)
4% of sellers were confident that they would sell their home within the next 9 months, a slight increase when compared to 2% October 2022 (4% vs 1% in Wales)
6% of sellers were confident that they would sell their home within the next 12 months, a slight increase when compared to 3% October 2022 (5% vs 2% in Wales)

The OnTheMarket Property Sentiment Survey asks sellers across the UK how confident they feel about selling their home in order to provide a ‘temperature check’ of market sentiment both on a national and regional basis.

Sellers are asked to indicate how confident they are that they will sell their home:

Within the next 3 months
Within the next 6 months
Within the next 9 months
Within the next 12 months

OnTheMarket then go on to give broadly flat figures across October and November when it comes to buyer sentiment, which echoes what we feel is the situation we are currently in, which is that demand levels and values will flatten out and remain stable, albeit at a reduced level, during 2023. Gardens, garages and off road parking remain at the top of buyer wish lists in Wales.
The full report can be seen below, and if you want to discuss any of this information in relation to your own property, we are more than happy to offer our advice.

https://plc.onthemarket.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/OTM-Property-Sentiment-Index-December-22-.pdf.

16Dec

Rightmove have this week announced their annual House Price Forecast - for 2023.

In it, they explain the market forces from a year ago as we entered 2022, with ongoing 'record-breaking house price increases, huge levels of demand from buyers, and homes selling more quickly than ever before' and this was certainly the case here in Penarth. This growth, fuelled by extremely high demand and a relative lack of supply continued for the large part of this year, through spring, summer and into the autumn.

As we've reached the end of the year, the market began to fall back towards a more normal, pre-pandemic level and this has manifested itself in lower levels of activity and demand. Supply remains low. At the same time, as Rightmove explain 'interest rates started to increase, and some buyers put their moving plans on hold as mortgage rates also climbed.'

 

RIGHTMOVE'S THOUGHTS ON 2023 

This year we saw asking prices in Great Britain rise by 5.6%, to an average of £359,137. This was almost £17,000 higher than in 2021, when prices increased by 6.3%. 

In 2023, we’re forecasting that average asking prices will drop by 2%, which means prices will still remain higher than they were after the incredibly busy home-moving period of 2021. 

One of the main drivers of the house price growth we’ve seen over the past two years has been the imbalance of supply and demand, with far more people looking to move than there were homes available for sale. And in a more settled housing market, buyers will have the time and space to make sure they find the right home for them. As a result of this, we anticipate the time it takes to sell a home increasing to what we’d expect to see in a more ‘normal’ housing market, of around 60 days. 

Our property expert, Tim Bannister, says: “After two and a half years of frenetic activity, it’s easy to forget that having multiple bidders immediately lining up to buy your home was the exception rather than the norm in pre-pandemic years, and there will be a period of readjustment for home-movers as properties take longer to find the right buyer.” 

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PENARTH, SULLY AND LLANDOUGH?

All of the data and opinion above is based on national numbers from across the UK, and clearly some areas will weather these economically and politically turbulent times better than others. We've talked before about the strength and popularity of Penarth, Sully, Llandough and ultimately the 'Greater Cardiff' / Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan area. As was seen following the 'credit crunch' years from 2008 to 2010, our area faired better than others, reduce in value by a smaller amount and recovered more quickly. These are a totally different set of circumstances but there are no reasons to suggest that it won't be the same this time around. As Rightmove point out, 'price growth in an area could vary from street to street depending on the types of property available, the desirability of the location, and buyer affordability' and this is something that we have definitely seen in reverse, during the growth period.

 

DO RIGHTMOVE FEEL PEOPLE ARE LOOKING TO MOVE?

(From Rightmove) After the uncertainty brought about by interest rate rises and high inflation, we’re seeing signs that some buyers are ready to get started with their home moves as we head into the New Year. This month, views of homes for sale on Rightmove are up 11% when compared to the same period in 2021, suggesting that 2023 moves are on the cards for those who are able to do so.  

Our property expert, Tim Bannister, says: “We’re heading towards a more even balance between supply and demand next year, but we don’t expect more significant price falls in 2023. This is reflected in our prediction of a relatively modest average fall of 2% next year. 

 

20Oct

After all the goings on of the last couple of weeks and the continuing uncertainty surrounding the UK economy, we felt it was time to sit down and put together a blog post to talk you through our thoughts on the market and what we might expect to happen in the short to medium term. As part of this, we sat down with some local experts in the mortgage market to get their view.

 

NO GUESSING!

Of course, anyone who tells you they know how the market will be in two, four or six months time is lying or guessing! We can draw on our experience of previous economic shocks, most recently from 2008-2010, but these are a different set of circumstances and we don't have the benefit of hindsight that we have when looking back to the credit crunch period. As we came out of the summer, it was starting to feel like we were past the peak in terms of activity and demand levels with that particular curve starting to flatten. Demand continues to outweigh supply in many sectors though and based on the principles of good old fashioned economics that should stabilise prices. We can’t ignore the changing cost of borrowing though and we have certainly been brought out of what has been a very prolonged period of historically low mortgage rates, as demonstrated by this chart below from The Guild of Property Professionals using Bank of England data.

Cost of borrowing - Bank of England

Interest rates have risen sharply and many mortgage products have been withdrawn. The big question is how long this period of uncertainty will last.

ALEX LEWIS – CURO ADVISERS

“Whilst the current mortgage market has seen drastic changes in a very short space of time, once lenders have reassessed their products we will see lots of them come back to market, albeit at a slightly higher interest rate than before. It may be that mortgage rates are higher than the historic lows of the past few years, but in a couple of years the expectation is that, all being well, they will come back down a bit as economic factors start to balance out. If we look at the bigger picture, this a short term bump in the road and the expectation is that things will settle to a more manageable level.”

 

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS?

It means the days of packed out open days, a dozen offers per property and sealed bids may be over for the time being. However, we're not quite ready to call an end to what has been a sellers' market. Estate Agent Today reports this well in their article here. Will this change further over the next few months? Perhaps, but the mortgage market has to free up a little before that happens to any major degree as a buyers market is only possible if buyers have options.

 

THINK LONG TERM

Anyone looking to purchase a new home, should and need to be looking long term. House market trends over time show a gradual growth and the effects of the 2008-10 credit crunch were relatively short lived for most. If you are planning to be in your new home for 2-5 years at least, there is still reason to be positive about things.

House price inflation over time A

House price inflation B

 

 

AND WHAT ABOUT HOME OWNERS?

Of course, the current flux doesn't only impact on those looking to buy and sell. Anyone about to see the end of their current fixed mortgage term will know more than many the effect this is having on personal finances.

KATE PEDLEY – TRUFFLE MORTGAGES

"The rise in interest rates is causing financial pressure on many households. If you are in a fixed rate then you do not need to act, but if your rate is ending with in the next 6 months it is vital that you contact a broker. A broker will review all your options in one sitting, and secure your new rate for you to commence as soon as your existing rate ends without penalty. It is anticipated that rates will increase to over 6% with all high street lenders in the coming weeks. Lenders do not want to increase rates any further as they understand the strain and financial implications it is having on their homeowners. They are committing to limit interest rate rises despite further increases to the Bank of England base rate being forecasted. They do not want homeowners to default on their payments."

It's fair to say that homeowners need to give this their full attention, and as Kate continued to say, "where possible, plan ahead and make overpayments where you can. Overpayments come purely off your capital and reduce your loan size when re-mortgaging. Always look for the best product when your deal ends as the majority of lenders offer free legal service removing costs a barrier for shopping around and changing lenders.

 

IS IT STILL WORTH BEING A PROPERTY INVESTOR?

Rental demand remains very high. Of course, the cost of borrowing and legislative changes are giving landlords more to think about but good quality, well managed rental properties will do well. Bricks and mortar are still seen as a relatively safe investment amid the chaos of the financial markets, and that can deliver good, steady returns.

 

Whatever happens, we are here to guide you through the all aspects of the property market as we've been since 1969. If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call or pop in for a chat.

15Oct

The Guild of Property Professionals has been awarded Best Agency Network at the Estas for the second year running!

Together, we have won Best Agency Network 2021 and 2022 at The ESTAS and this is a fantastic achievement for the network! Congratulations to everyone that has put so much effort in to this. As proud Guild Members, we benefit from the range of products and services they supply, and as a result our vendors get to reap the rewards too!

Being a Member of The Guild is a kitemark of quality, going above and beyond to deliver excellent customer service.

 

06Jul

Welsh Government have this lunch time updated guidance on moving homes in Wales. The main point that they have clarified is the definition of a vacant property. They have also continued to stress that occupied properties should not be viewed, and have once again spelled out the importance of virtual viewing before physical viewing, the important of social distancing, and they are keen to stress that physical viewings of any property should only happen if absolutely necessary.

The full guidance can be found here, and the main points relating to house viewings are as follows:

Property viewings

Physical viewings should only take place where the property to be viewed has been unoccupied for at least 72 hours, or has been deep cleaned. The following advice on prioritising virtual visits, hygiene measures, maintaining social distancing at all times and avoiding contact where possible should be followed. 

You should use virtual viewings before visiting vacant properties in person, in order to minimise public health risks by ensuring you are visiting only those properties that appear to be most suitable to meet your needs and desires. Physical viewings of vacant properties that have been unoccupied for 72 hours or deep cleaned should only take place where absolutely necessary. 

If you are tenant, your landlord and/or their agent cannot arrange physical viewings of your home whilst you are occupying that property. Where your tenancy agreement has come to an end, landlords and/or their agent can only arrange physical viewings once you have vacated the property with all of your possessions and 72 hours has passed or a deep clean of the property has been undertaken.

Key points to consider are:

  • you should do your property searching online in the first instance
  • initial viewings should be done virtually and property agents should help you to do this
  • all physical viewings of vacant properties should be by appointment only
  • physical viewings of vacant properties should be limited to members of the same household, and ideally, where possible, the adult members of that household only (thereby limiting the number of visitors including children, viewing a property)
  • the landlord or agent can accompany the viewing, but must maintain social distancing at all times
  • no open house viewings should take place
  • the agent must travel separately to the property from the household viewing the property, no car sharing
  • when physically viewing vacant properties you should still avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands at the earliest opportunity following the visit and bring your own hand sanitiser
  • viewings of empty rooms in houses of multiple occupation or shared accommodation should not take place
  • once the viewing has taken place, the landlord or agent responsible for accompanying the viewing should ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate

22Jun

Further guidance has been issued by Welsh Government for those looking to move home in Wales during the Coronavirus pandemic. The main points are as follows, as taken from gov.wales https://gov.wales/moving-home-during-coronavirus-pandemic.

 

When you can move home

From 22 June 2020, you can move home, but we recommend that if the property you are moving to has not been empty for at least three days, that it is deep cleaned before you enter it.

These moves do not involve different households being inside a property at the same time, so the risk of transmission of coronavirus is lower. 

 

Putting your home on the market

You can put your home on the market, but potential buyers or tenants cannot view your property in person if you are living in it or it is occupied. 

Marketing of occupied properties can begin. Valuations and other related activities should be carried out in line with safe working requirements. Initial viewings can only be carried out virtually. Marketing and viewing of unoccupied properties can take place.

 

Viewing homes

You can view a property if it is unoccupied and has been empty for at least three days, or it has been thoroughly cleaned. It is important viewings do not involve different households being inside a property at the same time because this increases the risk of coronavirus being transmitted.

You can view unoccupied properties in person but you must follow physical distancing guidance and keep good hand hygiene. 

You cannot view occupied homes (where someone is still living). Virtual viewings of a home can be provided by a letting agent, estate agent or landlord.

 

Moving from Wales to England

You can move across the border to England. 

If you are moving into Wales, we recommend you should only move to properties which have been empty for at least three days or have been deep cleaned.

 

Moving more than five miles away from where you live 

You can move more than five miles away from where you live but we recommend you should only move to properties which have been empty for at least three days or have been deep cleaned.

 

Allowing estate agents, surveyors or removal workers into your home

Estate agents, surveyors or removal workers are allowed into a property. They need to follow the physical distancing in the workplace guidance.

 

Visiting estate and letting agent premises

Estate and Letting Agents are allowed to open but we encourage them to minimise the need for people to visit their offices in person, but if you do, they will need to ensure you do so in accordance with the workplace guidance for employers and employees.

 

Visiting new build housing site sales offices

Sales offices are allowed to open but we encourage them to minimise the need for people to visit their offices in person, but if you do, they will need to ensure you do so in accordance with the workplace guidance for employers and employees.

19Jun

Following the announcement from Welsh Government on Friday 19th June, the property market in Wales is beginning to re-open. This is what it means:

VIEWINGS

Viewings of vacant properties will now be allowed in Wales. This means that a selection of our available properties will be able to be viewed from Monday 22nd onwards. For viewings, we will reqiure all interested parties to complete our Covid-19 Health Assessment that can be found here. We also have in place PPE such as masks, gloves and overshoes while there will also be plenty of hand sanitiser. Viewings will be limited to 15 minutes where possible, with a maximum of two viewers per property with the accompanying agent - all respecting the current 2m social distancing rules.

 

PUTTING YOUR PROPERTY ON THE MARKET

We will now be able to visit your property for valaution purposes and once instructed, to prepare the property for marketing. This invovles the full measure up, photos and video. Having not visited any properties since the lockdown began, we are now working through a backlog of those that we were preparing back in March, and are fully available to take on more enquiries. 

 

SURVEYS AND VALUATIONS

As well as market appraisals mentioned above, we are also able to resume our full service of property valuation and survey. Valuations could include those for Probate, legal purposes and Help to Buy valuations while we continue to offer HomeBuyer Survey Reports. Once again, we are working through a backlog here but are now fully available once again for new bookings.

 

If you want a visit from one of the team for a full market appraisal, or should you need a valuation or HomeBuyer Survey report, please don't hesitate to contact us via email or on 029 2070 2622.

More information on this can be found by using the following links:

https://gov.wales/moving-home-during-coronavirus-pandemic

https://www.arla.co.uk/news/june-2020/partial-reopening-of-housing-market-in-wales.aspx

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-wales-53093037

https://gov.wales/first-minister-announces-further-steps-to-unlock-wales

https://gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-changes-monday-22-june

 

 

11Apr

The whole team at David Baker & Company would like to wish you all a very happy Easter. This may be the strangest one yet, but we hope you can all find ways to enjoy it. 

Keep safe.


David, Richard, Craig, Charles, Liz and Hannah x 

27Mar

We are trying our best to maintain channels of communication between tenants, landlords and contractors in order to keep the service a smooth one. I’m sure that we can all appreciate that these are trying times and there is currently some guidance out there from the Government, mainly concerning Mortgage Holidays for landlords, and protection from eviction for tenants.

Landlords

The main government support for Landlords is the encouragment for lenders to offer Mortgage Holidays. It is prudent to look into this on a personal level, with your lender, from what we understand, the idea of the mortgage holiday is just that, and that any break would need to be paid back through the term of the loan. There is some good information on the Money Advice Service website. The full Government advice can be found on their website here and is as follows:

The government is also committed to supporting landlords, and maintaining the positive partnership between tenants and their landlords. That is why, in addition to the measures outlined above, we have also agreed with lenders that they will ensure support is available where it is needed for landlords. Landlords will also be protected by a 3 month mortgage payment holiday where they have a Buy to Let mortgages.

 

Landlords remain legally obligated to ensure properties meet the required standard – urgent, essential health and safety repairs should be made.

 

An agreement for non-urgent repairs to be done later should be made between tenants and landlords. Local authorities are also encouraged to take a pragmatic, risk-based approach to enforcement.

Tenants

As mentioned above, the main support for tenants in the protection from eviction. There is currently no legal protection or assistance for rent and are still legally obliged to pay rent. Landlords are able to take mortgage holidays, but his has potential implications for their repayments moving forward. Our best advice if you are a tenant and are struggling to meet a rent payment, as always, would be to raise any concerns over rent as soon as possible, with us, and we can have that discussion with the landlord.

In terms of tenant eviction, the period has now been increased from two months to three months with all ongoing eviction applications being delayed for 90 days and this is something that we imagine will be under constant review.

 

Again, the full guidance from the Government is as follows:

The government has brought forward a package of measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). With these in force, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home.

To ensure all renters are clear on the full package of support that is currently available to them, we are bringing this together into one place.

From today (26 March 2020) landlords will have to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession (i.e. serve notice that they want to end the tenancy) – this means the landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period.

This extended buffer period will apply in law until 30 September 2020 and both the end point, and the 3 month notice period can be extended if needed.

This protection covers most tenants in the private and social rented sectors in England and Wales, and all grounds of evictions. This includes possession of tenancies in the Rent Act 1977, the Housing Act 1985, the Housing Act 1996 and the Housing Act 1988. After 3 months if the tenant has not moved a landlord needs to apply to court in order to proceed.

From tomorrow (27 March 2020) following a decision by the Master of the Rolls with the Lord Chancellor’s agreement the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action – this means that neither cases currently in the system or any about to go in to it can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted.

This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed. This measure will protect all private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. This will apply to both England and Wales.

Tenants are still liable for their rent and should pay this as usual. If they face financial hardship and struggle to pay this, support is available. In the first instance they should speak to their landlord if they think they will have difficulty meeting a rental payment, and in this unique context we would encourage tenants and landlords to work together to put in place a rent payment scheme. However we have also put specific measures in place:

· We are working with the Master of Rolls to strengthen the pre-action protocol requirement and also extend this to the private rented sector. This will help landlords and tenants to agree reasonable repayment plans where rent arrears may have arisen.

· We have already made £500 million available to fund households experiencing financial hardship.

· As part of the workers’ support package, the Chancellor announced the government will pay up to 80% of a worker’s wages, up to a total of £2,500 per month, where workers are placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

· Both Universal Credit and Housing Benefit will increase and from April, Local Housing Allowance rates will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area.

26Mar

With many bold headlines out there, we look at the implications of the Coronavirus pandemic and the potential next steps for the UK property market.

DB sold

Many major media outlets are today reporting that the property market has been shut down by the UK Government. One example being here from the Guardian. Guardian Article. This explains that the Government have started to expand on their lockdown instructions by giving guidance to those in the process of moving. Despite the alarming headline, the article points to specific sections of Government advice, such as asking buyers and seller to adapt and be flexible in order to agree new moving dates at a more convenient time. This sounds very sensible and providing all parties in the chain want to work to the same goal, there is no reason why ongoing sales such fall through. The government points out that there was no need to pull out of transactions but both parties should try to agree a new date unless the property is empty, and that banks and lenders should play their part by extending mortgage offers where possible. Of course, homeowners should allow no visitors to their homes for viewings or valuations and this is something that we would wholeheartedly agree with. Your safety, and the safety of your family and friends as well as our team is of paramount importance.

As an independent, family run estate agent, David Baker & Company pride ourselves on being small enough to be flexible and adapt quickly to the constantly changing landscape and give our clients the best advice possible to our clients. We are now fully working from home, and the market is on hold, but we are expecting things to get moving fairly quickly when this is over and restrictions are lifted.

 

We recommend that any home currently on the market remains on the market, so that you maintain a visible presence online. Of course, if it suits you to remove the property from the market for personal reasons then we would support you in that. Potential buyers may still be keeping an eye on the market and we are able to arrange remote viewings where possible. 

 

For those wanting to explore their options, we are able to offer remote valuations either through a desktop report or using a video call servic such as WhatsApp, Facetime or Zoom – as with all our market appraisals, remote valuations are free of charge and come with no obligation.