We had a chat and a pot of coffee with John Lay to get his insights and expertise on what is happening in the property market. Here’s what he had to say..
What is the current property market like?
It is definitely less busy than it has been in the last two years. There are whispers that it’s quieter which in turn, contribute to it being quieter, it’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. But quiet isn’t necessarily a bad thing and after the extremely high prices of the pandemic it’s coming back to a more stable and sustainable level.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in the market and the pricing structure unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed (and we’ve witnessed a lot!) but it couldn’t continue like that. The market fluxuates, ebbs and flows and that’s healthy. Yes, there are fewer purchasers per property now and the bidding wars have largely stopped but this means getting a house is more achievable for local people and it means estate agents have to work harder to achieve a sale because every viewing counts. There has been so much talk about “the new normal” but actually, this is the normal normal and it was the pandemic spike that was unprecedented and a-once-in-a-property-market lifetime experience.
There will always be ups and downs in the industry. Back in 2007 the property market fell by 19% over an 18-month period but that also returned its previous level, as all things eventually do. When the market continues to be pushed upwards through incentives such as stamp duty holidays and global pandemics, eventually there has to be a correction; to get things back into balance. Otherwise, everybody would be priced out of their own property and in fact we began to see just that as mortgage companies were not approving some properties that were selling above their actual value. You cannot continue to go up just as you cannot continue to spiral downwards, there is always a balance as the market corrects itself when off kilter.
We are feeling our way so far this year; it’s unpredictable and the winds have shifted. There have been a few fall-throughs which is something we try to mitigate against but of course, there is so much happening in the media, economically and with interest rates etc. that buyers and sellers are a little more unsure. For those selling or buying through us we offer support and knowledge at every stage; communication is key. We’ve had a steady start to the year and our experience and knowledge that will stand you in good stead In this market thoroughly checking chains and ensuring the buyer position is paramount.
Is now a good time to sell or not?
I think now actually is a good time to sell, yes. Houses are not reaching the same levels as they were a year or two ago so it’s not that fight and pricing war scenario that played out during the summer of 2021. There is less competition now and a chance to have your property be seen without all the competing properties. The imbalance in the housing market has been redressed and now we can sell properties at a sensible price without the bidding wars and high anxiety that accompanied that period. Importantly, now is a very good time to buy and most people selling a house also want to purchase a house. So even though you might not make the same amount on your sale that perhaps you could have done previously, you can close the gap by purchasing at a lower price so it’s all relative. There are still people looking for properties so the market is very much there.
What sort of properties are selling?
There’s no particular pattern or prediction to what is selling, and even we are unsure of what will sell quickly or not but what we are learning is that most properties are selling, it’s just a slightly slower pace. We’ve got quite a number that have exchanged contracts already with sales moving forwards at a steady pace, but we are finally able to catch a breath which we haven’t done prior to 2020. One thing that is selling particularly quickly is anything suitable for a first-time buyer. As you can imagine, this is a brilliant market for them, and these properties don’t hang around long. As agents, we know that it’s not so much a numbers game, it’s a name game. Every single viewing counts and how we position your property is what will stand it apart.
What is your advice to anyone wanting to go on the market?
I would absolutely put your property on with confidence. Market it in the right way with enthusiasm and assume the best because you don’t know until you test the market. At the end of the day, you have nothing to lose because you have full autonomy and it’s up to you whether you accept an offer, we can only advise. If you don’t try you’ll never know. The good thing about going on the market now is that it is slightly quieter and that gives your property the stage to be seen as there is less competition. In the spring/summer it will inevitably pick up but for now, you would have a prime position and probably a very good opportunity to purchase something at a promising price as well. It’s important to look at the bigger picture – yes, you might have to consider a more realistic price on yours with the current economic climate but that has a knock-on effect to what you want to buy. So, you won’t be out of pocket because you’ll save at the next stage (and you’ll have a better pick of the properties on the market).
What do you estimate is going to happen with the property market for 2023?
It’s anyone’s guess to be honest, we are feeling our way and working it out as we go, but I am confident about the conditions of the market and the quality of the sales we are achieving. You cannot always assume that the market will go upwards, pricing is a delicate dance of reading the market, understanding the data and demand and being flexible according to interest. We are very lucky that as we have been around for so long, we have experienced a few property dips and peaks on the rollercoaster of the housing market and we know that nothing is certain. One thing I can promise is that we will be on hand to offer advice and expertise at every stage. If you are interested in selling your house but have concerns or trepidation, why not just have the chat? You can have myself or a member of my negotiating team over to view your property or simply pick up the phone to one of the members of Heather & Lay here in the office. We are more than happy to talk to you about the market as it stands but also your specific property because we will have information, data and real-life experience from your street, road or area.
We always come armed with evidence of why we are pricing a certain way (and our extensive experience so we can explain how the market conditions might affect your sale). We want to get our sellers the best price and we know the importance of getting that initial price right, first time, in order to gain momentum in the market. It’s our realistic approach based on real-world experience and up-to-date statistics that enables us to achieve the right balance and secure the sale.
What an interesting chat and great to hear his perspective and experience. If you would like to chat with John and have a valuation and an understanding of how your property will be placed in the market, give us a call on 01326 319767.