Prices Soar as Demand Outstrips Supply
Rightmove released their latest House Price Index this week and it made for interesting reading.
Theo Spink, a Director of Luscombe Maye, had to say:
“Many of the trends they are reporting are being experienced by our 7 Luscombe Maye offices across the South Hams. We are seeing new buyers continuing to register with us across the region, both within the rural market as well as in our market towns and coastal offices. As we all know, it is now too late for most to beat the stamp duty deadline but high demand continues to outstrip supply, which in turn is pushing up prices. There is still huge concern that a large number of transactions will not complete by the end of March but there may be a lifeline in the Budget of 3rd March, which will remove the cliff-edge at the end of that month. Meantime there has been less property coming to the market in the first weeks of this year compared to 2020. With no Government announcement for the end of lockdown and pressures such as home-schooling and continuing furloughing, there are a number of ‘unknowns’ out there in the marketplace which are making potential sellers reluctant to make that decision to list.
Luscombe Maye has had huge success since the turn of the year with selling their new stock – so if you are tempted to bring your property to the market, do please call us for a chat, wherever you are in the South Hams.”
When a potential buyer arrives at your house you want them to instantly fall in love with it. However, that won’t happen if your property has poor ‘Kerb Appeal’.
Here are 8 simple things you can do to make your home look more attractive from the outside:
Decorate Your Doors: Does your front or garage door look tired and need a lick of paint? Those are the first thing buyers will notice. A pretty entry will give people a great first impression.
Wash Your Windows: Wash all of your windows, inside and out, as this will give buyers a fresh feel as they walk through your home. Plus, if you have a good view or a lovely garden to look at, then clean windows will allow them to do that.
Pressure Wash Your Outdoor Surfaces: Pressure washing your outdoor surfaces is a quick and easy way of freshening up your house’s outdoor appearance. If you wash your driveway, garden path, your porch or decking then this will give your home a ‘like new’ feel.
Landscape Your Garden: Make sure your garden looks tidy. Cut your lawn, weed your flower beds, trim your trees or plant some nice flowers to make your garden look prettier. A tidy garden gives out a great first impression as it shows buyers you’ve taken care of it.
Gut Your Garage: We all use our garages as a dumping ground from time to time but when you’ve listed your home for sale then a clean out is required, otherwise it might put buyers off. They want to visualise what they can use the space for. Consider using a storage unit for a little while if you’ve items you just don’t want to get rid of.
Replace or Paint Your House Number: It’s amazing how many homeowners neglect their house number. Does yours need a lick of paint or can you get a new one made? A pretty house number will make your home stand out and give off the impression that you’re house proud.
Replace Your Welcome Mat: Buy a new welcome mat for your home as it’s one of the first things potential buyers will see just before they enter your house. You want to make people feel happy when they walk into your home, not left wondering what state the inside will be if your welcome mat is anything to go by.
Are All Exterior Lights Working? It’s easy to forget about outdoor bulbs that may have gone out. Have a quick sweep around your property and replace any bulbs that may have popped. Also, you might want to add some outdoor lighting to emphasis certain features of your property.
Just a few simple maintenance tasks can make a huge difference to whether your house looks attractive to buyers or not.
If you prepare your home in the right way to hit the market then you’ll help ensure your property will be sold quickly and for the best price possible.
Thinking of selling? Get in touch with Luscombe Maye today for a FREE home valuation.
House Movers Show the Strongest Interest following Lockdown
sidered a strong start to the year
UK House Prices are up 2.5%
UK house prices continue to grow and show no sign of stopping, in spite of a post-lockdown recession.
Across the UK, the average house price has grown by 2.5% year on year. Agents across the country have been fearing a post-lockdown recession for the housing market, however there is no evidence to suggest that this recession will hit the housing market.
Associate Jason Hooper commented:
“In Yealmpton, we’ve seen a huge exodus of people looking for homes outside of cities; we have people constantly calling from Plymouth looking for homes in the surrounding countryside.
This is the first time people en-masse have had the chance to re-evaluate what they want and need from their homes. As a result, time to sell for 4- and 5-bedroom houses has dropped by a third. 3-bedroom houses continue to be the fastest selling properties, taking on average 24 days to have an offer accepted.
It is projected that by the end of the year, house prices will be up 2-3% compared to 2019. For such a tumultuous year, it is greatly welcomed to see such positive news for the housing market.”
Business is Booming!
Luscombe Maye is working really hard to keep up with the supply and demand of this property market boom, which started as lockdown eased and has been full steam ahead ever since. Our Newton Ferrers branch have sold and sale agreed a total of 19 properties in the past 60 days, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down as demand for property continues to soar well into the summer.
We normally see the housing market slow down at this time of year as people go on their summer holidays. Viewings are normally still high, as holiday-makers flock to the pretty South Devon villages, but this year people are making good offers off the back of the viewings.
So what’s causing this boom? Is it the fact we’ve all had to put life on hold whilst in lockdown, and now everyone us raring to move? Is it that people have re-evaluated their lifestyle and therefore housing priorities have changed? More people want to live in the countryside, live by the water, live the dream? All of which has been made possible by the increasing opportunities to work from home. Is it that people want to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, which will only last until end March 2021?
Whatever the cause for this boom, it all means that there are more properties to sell and more buyers to buy. In fact nationally, July was the busiest month for UK movers in ten years
Compared to this time last year, we have a 233% increase in buyers registering with our office, so there is more demand than there are properties available. Therefore if you’ve been thinking about marketing your home, now is the time to do it.
If you would like a free, no obligation market appraisal on your home, or advice on how to better market your property, please contact Luscombe Maye, or pop into the office for a coffee and a chat, where the team would be happy to help you.
The Busiest August for Agents Since Records Began!
Associate Theo Spink offers a unique look at the current UK property market:
“Rightmove have recently reported that the number of sales agreed in a month is at its highest since they started tracking this data over 10 years ago. This has set a new record of over £37 billion worth of sales agreed in the past month.
There has been a monthly price increase for housing as well, which has led to 10 of the 12 regions Rightmove monitors seeing an increase in house prices. The exception being London which has seen a 2% drop in asking price, which is not unusual for the season.
This record-breaking success of the industry is not just due to pent-up demand from lockdown (there are people that would have liked to have made a move during lockdown but couldn’t for obvious reasons). However, we are seeing a lot of demand coming from people in cities that now have different priorities for their next home – things that we take for granted in the South-West such as having space for a home office or simply going on a coastal walk after work.
As ever, we can only hope that this recent bit of good news continues and allows for the property market to grow further.”
“Booming Marvellous” – 10th August 2020
Following the recent mini-boom, associate James Caslake commented:
“The press calls the current property market a mini boom. We call it a maxi boom.
Mini booms occur when there is above average activity. Maxi booms are when buyers are queuing up, there are multiple offers for most properties on the market and deals regularly go to best and final offers only to exceed the original guide prices. This is what we are currently experiencing.
Nor has the rental sector been left out of this market frenzy. There is enormous demand for rental properties with most being let within 48 hours.
Since lockdown ended our phones have been ringing off the hook and the numbers of visitors to our fabulous website have skyrocketed. Buyers and renters from cities such as London and Birmingham have been making a beeline for South Devon. Applicants from regions such as the South East and the West Midlands have spent months dreaming of living in the Westcountry. Now those dreams can come true.
If all that wasn’t enough to trigger a boom, the temporary reduction in stamp duty has galvanised holiday home and buy-to-let buyers, especially in key hotspots such as Salcombe.
Helped by our strong mailing list and prompt, professional and reliable service, our clients are discovering how exciting and rewarding it is to be in the market when it’s booming. It has been a while since things were like this and no one can predict how long it will stay this way. So we advise making hay while the sun shines.
Call us. We’re ready to help.”
Gazunderhand – June 10th 2020
Partner Chris Davey and Associate Jason Hooper from Luscombe Maye have been discussing the current property market. Chris Davey advises caution at a time when the market is showing a robust return after lockdown.
Some buyers have been sharpening their pencils, anticipating a fall in property prices following Covid19. The early indications are that pencils can be pinpoint sharp but it might not mean a lowering of prices, or that lowball offers will be accepted. Early signs are that there is a great deal of demand in the market across all price sectors and property types.
But still, there have been cases of gazundering: this is the practice of a buyer reducing an already agreed offer to buy a property – often when only weeks or even days away from exchange of contracts.
Gazundering might follow a serious and understandable concern about a property’s condition following a survey, or genuine worry – backed up by market evidence – about a local or regional house price fall.
But sometimes, gazundering is used as a form of tactical coercion. It is not blackmail. It is not illegal. But it’s not nice and it does leave a very nasty taste in the mouth.
Our long experience tells us that gazundering can also heavily backfire on the buyer. It is not uncommon for a seller to pull out of a deal in anger. But that is not all. Today there is another concern. A late-in-the-day price change means a mortgage lender might recheck the buyer’s financial position. If new circumstances come to light – and, let’s face it, Covid19 has badly affected millions of salary and wage earners – a mortgage offer could be adjusted or even withdrawn entirely.
So when buying a property AC – after Covid19 – just as at any other time, caveat emptor – let the buyer beware.
Realism is our Vaccine – May 23rd 2020
Now lockdown is being eased, we must answer the sixty-four thousand pound question about the property market itself.
How will the Coronavirus influence property prices?
This is something that is hard to answer with any absolute accuracy at this early stage. However, the question is a crucial one.
Much will depend on the shape of the bounce back. If it is V-shaped we can be hopeful for only minor turbulence.
However, if there is a long tail then recovery prices in specific sectors could be affected.
While the lockdown has thwarted many plans to move, some people have found that post-virus working life promises the chance of more freedom.
Many people in future may work from home – the need to commute finally over – so a move to a rural or coastal location or to be closer to their families will be possible and even preferable. Many of these buyers will also be looking for properties with work-from-home space; others will want multi-generation family options. This is perhaps reflected in the graphs shown above.
A property is worth what someone will pay for it. An invisible hand called the market is not affecting property prices; people are affecting them.
We have sold properties on Christmas Eve. We have sold properties at the very depths of the great recession and in all parts of several boom-and-bust cycles and even now through the Covid19 pandemic we have seen sales through to completion.
No matter what the trend is across the country, throughout this pandemic our area has proved to be resilient and popular. Coronavirus has not altered that.
So, what about prices? In the property sector realism will move us out of this crisis. With a realistic price, a pragmatic attitude to negotiation and a sensible buyer Coronavirus will be unable to infect our market. Realism is our vaccine.
For realistic advice about marketing your property call us today. We are open for business.
Returning to ‘Normality’
As we begin to think about re-integrating into what will inevitably be different times for the country post-lockdown, we must consider appropriate ways to conduct business in line with the guidance that will be issued by the Government.
Luscombe Maye anticipate that social distancing will be a key part of everyday business for some time to come which means that client interaction will be limited and conducted safely. The firm will make use of face masks and gloves when on appointments to ensure the safety of their staff and clients alike, while drawing on the success and efficiency of day to day processes used in recent weeks – contactless appointments where necessary, video conferencing between offices and with clients as well as maintaining and driving forward with a ‘green approach’ in respect of vehicle use and paperless correspondence.
What will the new guidelines for viewings look like?
- Vendors will have to wait outside while viewings are completed, or in different parts of a house if it’s large enough.
- Potential buyers will not be allowed to touch surfaces including doorknobs and agents will have to have to carry wipes and disinfectant.
- Those completing viewings including agents will have to wear masks and gloves and must not present any COVID-19 symptoms including a cough.
- Only two potential buyers will be able to attend viewings – children and other members of a family will not be able to come.
- Viewings will not last more than 15 minutes.
- PPE will have to be worn.
- Sellers will need to have PPE and have disinfected the property prior to viewing particularly door handles.
Viewings will have to be staggered – the days of ‘open houses’ are over…
Property News from Luscombe Maye – May 6th 2020
How wrong we were!
Throughout the lockdown, our team have been working remotely. At first we thought there would be little to do. How wrong we were!
The past four weeks have been frantic. First there were all the property sales we had to get past the finishing post. Even in lockdown we have been able to do this within strict government
guidelines. Then there are the deals that we had only just tied up when the lockdown began. It is astonishing how many buyers and sellers have been keen to keep to their plans – even though they will have to add months to transaction times.
But now we are also busy working with those who are already planning new lives beyond the pandemic. We are advising on marketing and even ballpark pricing – subject to final inspection. We also have many keen buyers who have pencilled in viewing appointments for when the lockdown is over.
Despite working remotely our team is working together. We are working with our clients, our buyers, our central London marketing team and our 300 associated offices around the UK.
Working together is what sets us apart.
Working through the pandemic is like riding a bike up a very steep hill. We have had to change gear. We will probably change gear again before this crisis is over. But one thing is very certain; we will be in the right gear when it’s all over.
We anticipate a flurry of property completions coming out of lockdown. This is good news for everyone, vendors, buyers and even removal firms who currently have all their staff furloughed. It will be a sign of the economy starting up again, in readiness for a second ‘Boris Bounce’.
What will a property viewing be like after lockdown eases? Advice is expected to be issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on how to safely conduct property viewings. These instructions will seem quite alien to us, remembering how appointments were being conducted just a couple of months ago, but Luscombe Maye will follow the guidelines. They will keep us safe.
That special number
There is a simple, but crucial number at the heart of understanding the threat posed by the virus.
The basic reproduction number – or simply the R0 (pronounced R-nought) – is guiding governments around the world on actions they need to take to save lives. It also gives us clues on when lockdowns can be lifted.
The reproduction number is a way of rating a disease’s ability to spread. Measles has one of the highest – 15 – it can cause explosive outbreaks. The new Coronavirus has this number down at around 3, but estimates vary. The lower the better.
This is why we must follow the new guidelines on viewings once they are finalised. Luscombe Maye will do this. We are also sourcing PPE for staff when on appointments, protective screens and cleaning materials for our offices to keep our customers safe.
Luscombe Maye’s Rural Professionals haven’t stopped, but things have changed there too.
Luscombe Maye benefits greatly from having a rural department as well as our sales and lettings business. Many firms have changed their modus operandi to suit this new situation but here we have it already. Now we see headlines suggesting we have ‘passed the peak’ of the pandemic; can we begin to think about life post-Covid19? It will be a slow road to normality by all accounts.
Pick for Britain
One way in which the rural community has been affected in Devon is with the shortage of seasonal workers. This is due to the restrictions on international travel
preventing the usual workers, from places like Eastern Europe, coming to the UK to pick seasonal fruit and veg.
This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone not able to work normally to get out into the countryside, get involved with farming and put a bit of extra money in the bank.
If this is something that you or perhaps some of your family would like to get involved with, there is plenty of information on the ‘Pick for Britain’ website – www.pickforbritain.org.uk.
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Property News from Luscombe Maye – April 29th 2020
The Value of Home
We are all looking forward to a time when we can move freely from our homes. Walk our pets in the park as often as we like. In houses and apartments all over the country those in lockdown are thinking about life after. Essential workers travelling to work are travelling along empty roads and through eerily quiet town centres and deserted parks and playgrounds but our farmers are still feeding us, some shops are still open.
Now, as the pandemic fills the headlines, people are imagining post-virus life. We know they are because they are on the phone enquiring about property they have seen. Telling us their stories.
We will surely find a solution, be it a tracker app on our smartphones, a vaccine or even sniffer dogs, trained to seek out Coronavirus in the same way they can protect us from explosives or illegal drugs. That’s man’s best friend at work again.
If this period of isolation from our families, friends and familiar routines has taught us anything, it has taught us about the value of home. Our homes have kept us safe. This time in lockdown has given many of us the opportunity to re-evaluate where and how we live. Our shopping habits have changed, for many their method of communicating and finding entertainment has moved online.
But that is what homes do and have always done, it is what they are designed to do and now we can predict that location, location and location will be in the driver’s seat.
Luscombe Maye will be here to understand your property needs and offer suitable and attractive solutions, because if there is one thing we do know a great deal about, it is the value of home. We are working on our own post-lockdown plan for safe working practices.
Our Lettings Department
As one would expect, online searches for rentals have fallen throughout the lockdown. Rightmove reports that searches dropped by as much as 35%. But as the end of lockdown now appears in sight, searches for properties are now running about 20% lower than normal levels for this time of year. Interestingly, searches for homes with gardens are up 26% on the same week last year…
The outlook is encouraging, people are enquiring and a good number of viewings are being lined up for when the restrictions are relaxed. Being based in the wonderful and scenic South Hams allows us to capture the attention of the increasing segment of the market that is looking for a change of lifestyle – somewhere near the beaches and moors.
If you are giving thought to letting a property, please feel free to give the team a call. We have a range of services that can work best for your needs. Maybe you are a new owner and want to explore Lettings, or you own a holiday property and need tenants to occupy your asset during this uncertain time, either way, we are on hand to advise.
A new way of working is on the horizon, one that respects social distancing whilst presenting new opportunities. We are currently putting the final touches to processes that will allow us to conduct Virtual Viewings and Market Appraisals. Where possible the traditional ways of working will remain, but this new offering will be available to those who have a need.
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Property News from Luscombe Maye – April 22nd 2020
The not-so-normal normality – adapting to lockdown
It’s now been some time since the Coronavirus pandemic began to seriously impact the housing market, closing branches, furloughing staff and significantly reducing sales and letting volumes for many. Currently this is our not-so-normal normality.
People really need support and advice at the moment.
But it’s also a rare moment to take stock: both to look at operations in a new light, and plan ahead for what happens when the market revives.
Our management team may be working from home but they are working harder than ever to manage Luscombe Maye’s portfolio of 250+ properties and 100+ managed rentals. Our Rural Department continues to be busy. The workload for our managers hasn’t really gone down, we’re busy communicating with vendors, landlords and buyers, not to mention the many general enquiries we receive daily.
In the know
We thought the hardest thing about home-working would be finding out what was going on, but now we are all experts in video conferencing we’re actually more of a team than ever before.
Of course, Luscombe Maye has stopped selling and letting property where that would clash with Government guidance on social distancing measures, but there is still activity. Each office has someone ready at the end of the phone and clients and enquiries are welcome. This is an opportunity for us to look at the business afresh and make improvements, so that we can come back stronger once the coronavirus period has ended.
You’ve got to look at the positives despite what’s going on. We must use this time wisely.
So, the daffodils have bloomed and the bluebells are out. It should be a perfect time to sell property. Except it isn’t. Instead our thoughts are of saving lives, protecting the NHS and sheltering at home.
It might seem counterintuitive but keeping busy is one way to help get through this downtime.
Buying or selling?
This might be the ideal time to at least start planning your next move – and particularly the sale of your home. As the country deals with Covid19, there are positive moves you can make to prepare your property for the market – when the threat is well and truly over.
See your property through a future buyer’s eyes.
Kerb appeal vs screen appeal
How well a property looks to a passer-by, that’s kerb appeal. This impression is important. But more so at the moment, is screen appeal. Most potential buyers will see your property via a mobile or desktop device, not by walking or driving past.
This provides sellers with a great marketing opportunity. On screen you have the chance to present your property at its very best, all the time – regardless of weather and other detrimental factors. With the benefit of extra time, photographs of your property can be taken on a lovely bright day with the sun in just the right direction – and with the windows sparkling clean. Your garden can look its best with no cars in the drive or bins in the way. In other words, you have control of what people see on screen in a way that you can’t always when someone is randomly driving past at any time of day or night.
At Luscombe Maye we can advise you how to make your property look the best it can on screen for when that critical buyer comes calling online. We understand how vital it is to create an excellent first impression. Why not call us on the usual numbers (they will divert free of charge to the office manager)?
Plan your Summer garden now…
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Property News from Luscombe Maye April 15th 2020
For many years, through good times and bad, Luscombe Maye, has been an integral part of the local community.
Many of our partners and personnel have been born, brought up, schooled and married hereabouts.
Over the decades, our Agency team have provided level-headed and astute property advice to thousands of local people through storms, floods, droughts, market booms and busts, the 2008 banking crisis and all the good times. Our Rural Team is on first name terms with the South Devon farming community and our Lettings team is fast-developing an excellent reputation in its own right.
We will continue to do the same now.
Whatever your stage in life, Luscombe Maye is here to help with property advice and information. Now more than ever – call us. During the shutdown, our office doors may not open but we are very much open.
Our phone lines are open to those who would like to call and discuss their plans.
Our website is open for information, and our Facebook page is providing news and ideas.
What are we doing at Luscombe Maye?
In Estate Agency there is currently work to be done. Existing sales to bring to completion, enquiries to answer and expectations to manage. One exciting new development is the ease with which many clients have adapted to this new world of virtual technology and video conferencing. We have now begun perfecting video tours for properties that were on the market taking viewings but which are now in ‘lockdown’. With a mix of existing photography and artwork plus the owner’s video work we are beginning to see something new develop – watch this space!
Our rural team are as ever very busy whilst for our lettings team there has always been a large portfolio of managed properties to tend to.
When restrictions are lifted, with the aid of modern technology, viewings and valuations will recommence and business will be different, but possible and with so much pent up energy in the economy let us hope for a return to the days of the ‘Boris Bounce’.
What will the property market be like?
There will be new factors at work, for sure. People will be all too aware of the need for social distancing, but that might bring opportunities. A bonus to our sales team if, with people more familiar with video calls we find virtual tours supported by our property experts the favoured option. Our bid to become ‘greener’ as a firm will be easier – less travel means a smaller carbon footprint.
Demand for property in South Devon may well increase as advantages over city living become more apparent.
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Beautiful views from our Estate Agents Office in Totnes
As Estate Agents working in Totnes, we are offered a unique opportunity to explore such a beautiful and historic town in the heart of South Devon.
James Caslake of Luscombe Maye looks ahead to the March Budget.
The year has started well in the property market, but what could the Chancellor do to really get things moving?
On the 11th of March, Budget Day, all eyes will be on our new Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP.
One group of English taxpayers will be especially interested in what, if any, changes there are to Stamp Duty. This tax is payable by those buying property over £125,000 – although first-time buyers aren’t liable for stamp duty on homes up to £300,000. The taxation for Scottish and Welsh homebuyers is slightly different.
With the average house price in the UK now £134,742, this stamp duty affects a great many homebuyers. So much so, that over the 2018/19 tax period, the government collected almost £12 billion in stamp duty revenue. A cynic might think, small wonder the government is actively persuading the population to buy homes.
But the problem with high stamp duty is that it does the opposite. It deters people from moving – prevents people in larger homes, they don’t need, from downsizing and selling to people who do need them. It stalls the market and prevents a natural flow of discretionary buying and selling.
A previous Tory plan was to overhaul stamp duty by raising the threshold from £125,000 to £500,000 and lower the top rate – which applies above £1.5m – from 12% to 7%. But this was dropped from the last election manifesto. Could the Chancellor resuscitate this policy? It would greatly help the housing market if he did.
Although the introduction of a mansion tax is looking unlikely, overseas buyers will worry that the Chancellor will introduce a 3% stamp duty surcharge. This tax would include ex-pats wanting to move back home – after Brexit, more likely than for many years. This levy would be on top of stamp duty already payable, including the 3% surcharge on second homes and buy-to-let properties.
Successive chancellors might not have been precisely helpful to the housing market. Now that this government seems keen to build infrastructure, perhaps they will be inclined to treat housing – and flood defences – with the same importance the population does. Railway lines may be necessary but aren’t good homes and a buoyant property market more so?
Deal Or No Deal!
Chris Davey, Partner – Luscombe Maye – Is most pleased with the way things have been going lately…
It would be crass to say, ‘Brexit, what Brexit?’: but as far as the property market in south-west Devon is concerned, September has been a record month for Luscombe Maye – in fact, the best single month for a number of years. Why? It seems that while politicians are making plans in Westminster, people are getting on with plans nearer to home. In fact their plans are all about home.
One sector of the market that has seen a recent surge in demand is properties with land. Whether it is land for a hobby farm, horses, horticultural enterprise or space for an exciting garden project, land connected to a house is at a premium. Fortunately in this area we are blessed with a wealth of this type of property, and of course we have specialised in this sector of the market for close to 150 years.
Another area of the market especially associated with our region and Luscombe Maye is waterside property. Frontline properties, as they call them in the Mediterranean, are in high demand and there is currently a shortage. What better time to sell, if that is your plan. Many buyers from other parts of the UK cite a water view as their number one priority when selecting a home in south-west Devon. Again we are fortunate to have a wide choice of these in our part of the world, but once a buyer has secured their dream property he or she tends to hang on to it for many years. So this is the perfect time to look for a buyer, and a good price!
Nick Churton of Luscombe Maye’s London office provides some calm property insight during the feverish Brexit endgame.
Some Calm Property Insight…
Few people like uncertainty and free markets like it even less. Right now the property market is going through one of those uncertain periods – much of it brought on by Brexit. As we hurtle towards 31st October this uncertainty may well become more acute.
But Luscombe Maye can be certain of one thing: it will help its clients through this unsettling period. After all, we have been doing exactly that in South Devon since 1873 when the firm was founded.
Back then, Queen Victoria was on the throne and William Gladstone was Prime Minister. During the intervening period we have seen Britain involved in two world wars, 62 other wars and campaigns, the Great Depression and the Great Recession. We have seen booms and busts, oil crises, the UK joining the Common Market and dozens of other national incidents and occasions that have tested our mettle – like the foot and mouth epidemics of 1967, 2001 and 2007.
Perhaps that is why Luscombe Maye is relied upon so heavily to provide sage property advice in uncertain times.
But even in uncertainty there is opportunity. We remain busy advising and helping those who take our view that, with or without the European Union, the region will be no less beautiful or attractive to live in. Here in London we certainly see a lively interest from those changing lifestyles and heading west.
Also, our local lettings offices are seeing much higher numbers of tenants, especially now that they have no tenant fees to pay. And more good news: Luscombe Maye’s fees to landlords are not increasing in line with this new legislation.
Whatever your Brexit inclination or despite what you read or hear in the media, call us for up-to-the-minute property advice that is geared to the Westcountry and not Westminster.
Brexit may be in the news but it’s not uppermost in the minds of buyers across our seven Luscombe Maye offices in south west Devon. We saw a June increase in enquiries and viewings of 25% over the same month last year.
Autumn Leaves Us Guessing.
Gilly Caunter of Luscombe Maye assesses the property market as we ease towards autumn.
Before we know where we are it will be autumn – ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, as John Keats put it. But for many this coming autumn, the mists of Brexit may eventually be lifted and we may be able to see where we are going for the first time in several years. This will be good for the property market, which has certainly been in the doldrums for a while.
That is if politicians will give us a break from tinkering with the property sector. Reports that our new prime minister has some ideas about stamp duty changes and the opposition wants to alter rental legislation yet again, reminds us that one of the biggest threats to a stable property market is politicians and their policies. If evidence were needed of our main political parties’ indifference and lack of vision in the housing sector it is that we now have in place the sixteenth housing minister in 20 years – average time in post, fifteen months. The only ministers with any vision appear to have been those in the Exchequer who clearly see home sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants and sales and letting agents as cash cows.
Another mist that seems to be lifting is the online estate agency one. After several years of confusion, obfuscation, claim and counter claim, recent figures show that online agents accounted for only 7.3% of all UK exchanges in the second quarter of this year. With traditional estate agents commanding 92.7% market share it seems that the house selling public clearly knows which side its bread is buttered. Employing a gifted and experienced estate agent makes the most sense for those serious about selling.
As for mellow fruitfulness, we feel there will be no frenzy in the market this autumn. It may be mellow, but it will also be fruitful for those with an eye to moving before Christmas. With greater certainty in the market and with strong economic conditions there will be a widening choice as more property comes onto the market. With prices still relatively low this autumn should be the perfect time for a move.
Nick Churton, of Luscombe Maye’s national and international marketing office in London, looks at the phenomenal surge in property buying and renting activity in south west Devon.
The Three Bees… July Market Review
Brexit may be in the news but it’s not uppermost in the minds of buyers across our seven Luscombe Maye offices in south west Devon. We saw a June increase in enquiries and viewings of 25% over the same month last year. This has been accompanied by a staggering 75% increase in net sales agreed over the same period. These figures are at odds with many other areas of the UK which show stagnant or minimal year-on-year growth.
Of course we know why there is so much interest – our beautiful property, fabulous scenery and wonderful way of life. But we also know where much of this increased interest is coming from. With the property market taking a breather in London and the south east, it is our other hot spring of buyers from along the M5 corridor that is providing this amazing surge in activity.
We call this the three B’s – Birmingham, Bristol and Bath. All our offices are aware of it as they are on the front line for receiving buying enquiries – from high-end waterside properties to smaller rural and village homes.
And this interest isn’t only restricted to the sales sector. Demand for renting three and four bedroom family homes is high among families relocating across our region – especially with September and the new school year fast approaching.
Along with the weather this summer, property in south west Devon is hot!
Jason Hooper, Associate with Luscombe Maye based in Yealmpton, responsible for Residential and New Homes.
Where we go from here
“Despite one of the most traumatic times in the nation’s political history, with the country having no clear idea on who their future leader will be and as to the Government’s final relationships with Europe, the market has remained very resilient. At the start of 2019 it was apparent that whilst markets had cooled in London and the South East, there were signs showing lower levels of activity, which to a point helped to underpin property values throughout the nation.
Whilst in the first quarter of the year the UK House Price Index showed the South Hams with an increase for average house properties year on year by an average of 3.79%, yet with a slight dip of transaction sales. First time buyers on average paying a price of £245,000, with existing home owners in the market paying £341,000.
As a company, Luscombe Maye, (as we approach the half year), has been heartened with an apparent upswing in listings which has in-turn showed continued healthy levels of activity for buyers across all price ranges seeking quality homes in our wonderful and rich location.
Our recent informal tender at Cowsberry, Burraton is one of many properties recently shown considerable interest, having over 60 viewings and 12 offers as part of Luscombe Maye’s informal tender basis from a guide of varying lots ranging up to £900,000.
We are also seeing some very nice instructions now coming to the market the first near Tamerton Foliot Set in a very special location at a guide of £900,000 for a four bedroom home with annexe, triple garage outbuilding, barn and 14 acres .While we have strong interest at Corntown for an arts and craft home (over 3000 sqft) with stabling and 3.5 acres at a guide of circa £799,950.
It is very apparent across our network of seven offices and our associated London office, that since the delay of a definitive Brexit decision, that buyers and sellers across all price ranges are no longer content to sit on the side lines waiting for a decision to be made.
Providing homes are marketed in the correct way, by enthusiastic staff with local knowledge being able to identify the true benefits and lifestyles associated to local areas, backed up with a comprehensive marketing approach, there is nothing to be feared for sellers across the region.
The potential hurdle for any market would be the potential impact on expendable income, especially to mortgage owners, should interest rates spiral out of control. Many economic pundits consider that the previous heady days of the 1980’s where interest rates spiralled to at least 15%, probably won’t return, as subsequent Governments have learned many lessons since then, whilst allowing the Bank of England to be independent. The Governing fiscal policies across all parties do focus on lower interest rates as part of their policy. Westminster has also realised that helping first time ownership is still a priority through ‘Help to Buy’ and Deposit ISSA’s, (for New Home creation), but there is still much work to be done.
Hopefully the planning process will continue its relaxation with the common uniform policy to allow further creation of quality and sustainable accommodation through regeneration of brownfield sites and in urban areas that have fallen into decay. The key will be will be in affordable homes and to make sure they continue to be affordable as part of a legacy to future generations.
Fundamentally, a new government will need to make a commitment to protect the homeless and that every member of the population deserves the right for shelter. Once the Brexit negotiations are completed it will be for whatever Government to focus on housing the homeless and helping them back into society.”
Pictured Jason Hooper Cowsberry, “Colstfoot” Corntown and Tamerton Foliot ( North Coombe Farm)
June 2019: Nick Churton of Luscombe Maye’s Mayfair Office reports on the West Country property market from a London perspective.
As we count down towards summer, when the West Country property market reaches its annual peak of feverish activity, there are some excellent signs that despite Brexit uncertainty 2019 may turn out to be a bumper year.
Since the decision to delay Brexit until October, the market in Devon has bounced back surprisingly well – especially at the upper end. The beginning of the year was slow with many buyers and sellers seemingly reluctant to make decisions. But with the latest Brexit delay and an element of crisis fatigue setting in, there is a growing impetus among many to get moving.
And it is not just sales that have picked up; the lettings sector is vibrant, with rents now predicted to rise. To highlight this Luscombe Maye is pleased to report record-breaking rental levels for the region. With large numbers of qualified applicants eager to move before summer gets into full swing more prestige properties to let are urgently required.
Another opportunity for sellers is the increased interest in properties with income-generating land. Buyers are seeking these not only in the agricultural or horticultural sectors but are also looking for properties which could be used for leisure events, wedding venues, glamping sites, etc.
The West Country property market has something for everyone. But not everyone has something. So please call us – often we are asked to offer properties on a discreet basis, off-register. Remember, not everything for sale or to let is on the open market and available to look at online.
Whether you are looking for another property or seeking a buyer or a tenant we are confident that you will find them all under our roof.
May 2019: David Bothma (Developer) and Jason Hooper (Luscombe Maye New Homes Manager) contemplate the lovely aspect from the Hemerdon Village development.
Individual & Unique Luxury Executive Homes to be built in the South Hams
Luscombe Maye New Homes are extremely proud to be appointed as the selling agents for the very latest luxury bespoke development being created by local property entrepreneur and developer, David Bothma.
Luscombe Maye last year sold four luxury homes in a gated development within the South Hams village of Brixton, on behalf of Mr Bothma. The project was subsequently accredited with a number of prestigious industry awards.
The new project, again designed by award winning Design Development Architects, will involve two bespoke properties of circa 4,000 square feet with unrivalled views over the countryside towards Plymouth and surrounding areas. As with the previous development, there will be an array of quality fixtures and fittings, whilst each home will benefit from very spacious living areas and 10 year LABC Warranty.
The bespoke homes will be offered for sale from a guide price of £845,000 – £895,000.
Jason Hooper of Luscombe Maye commented:
“I am very pleased that we have been able to secure the instructions from our client, who in fact has won a number of industry accolades for design of their product. What David is creating is truly special, whilst the size and setting of the homes is very unique to the new home market. The houses are in the country, but very accessible to Plymouth, The moorland, The South Hams Coastline and Derriford.”
David Bothma also commented, “I am very excited to be launching this development soon, after the tremendous success of my last ventur e in Brixton, which saw all four properties being agreed within two weeks of the official launch. Apart from the countryside location, it is the fantastic views which make this development so appealing and the design of the property takes full advantage of these, as well as the peace and tranquillity the village of Hemerdon provides, along with its local amenities.”
Further details can be found initially from the Luscombe Maye office, who are able to provide further details before the official launch, please contact Jason Hooper or Joanna Churchill, Luscombe Maye Estate Agents 01752 880044.
May 2019: Nick Churton from Luscombe Maye’s London office looks at the increasing demand for West Country homes from buyers living outside the region.
Invest in the West
Those who feel the demand for second homes has waned because of the Brexit effect should think again. This may have been true a year ago but today is a different matter entirely.
What has happened? A number of factors have brought on this reversal. There is no doubt that the house buying and selling public have tired of Brexit. They have found something far more important to concentrate on – their own agendas.
No-one is getting any younger so perhaps it’s best to just get on with it and enjoy life. That is definitely the thinking of a steadily increasing number of buyers streaming to the West Country from all parts of the UK, and particularly from London and the South East. They are hardly throwing caution to the wind as property in the West Country provides a significant investment opportunity
Certainly the capital and Home Counties are seeing fast improving property markets. Those who thought they would wait in order to bag a bargain have now largely missed the boat as the market in London has begun to show clear signs of improvement. Consequently we are seeing more London buyers able to follow their dreams to the West Country.
With the region enjoying greater connectivity through improved rail services and flights from Exeter to the City of London and from Newquay to Heathrow, there has never been a better time to invest in the West.
May 2019: Theo Spink reflects on what being an estate agent really means.
Who’d be an Estate Agent?
Some people think our job is easy. They think that property just sells itself. That a buyer appears from nowhere, loves a house or flat and agrees to buy it – just like that. Some think the sale then speeds effortlessly to a satisfactory conclusion and without any other assistance. Let me tell you it doesn’t work like that – well not for most of the time anyway.
A ‘proper’ estate agent’s job is not to sell houses; rather it is to move people. Moving anything is often complicated, can be fraught with difficulty and have unforeseen consequences. Just think about moving twin six-year-olds singlehandedly from home to school every morning, or moving a central heating boiler, or moving 250,000 tons of crude oil half way round the world, or moving a herd of sheep from one hillside to another. It all takes planning, patience, knowhow, experience and resolve. It means expecting the unexpected, problem solving and, when other people are involved, the highest level of tact and diplomacy.
I don’t know about you, but if I wanted to move a herd of sheep I would hire a shepherd. And, in a way, that’s what estate agents are. We arrange for something with lots of moving parts – each with a mind of its own – to end up where it should be on the date it is supposed to be there. Estate agents shepherd people, contracts, surveys, mortgages, removals, withdrawals, gazundering, false starts, disappointments, the unforeseen and triumphs from one place to another. Sometimes it’s a smooth process. But all too often it isn’t. You may not think it’s worth paying for a shepherd at the beginning. But believe me, at the end, when it has been sheeting down with rain all day, the quad bike has broken down, a fox snatched a lamb and a large group of unreasonable ewes made a long break for freedom you will think a shepherd is worth every penny.
Why are we estate agents? We do it because we enjoy being shepherds. Some may think that selling houses is not much of a job, and in many ways they might be correct. But moving people and families on to the next stage of their lives and making it as seamless and stress-free as possible is a job we enjoy and think is well worth doing.
March 2019: Theo Spink of Luscombe Maye reflects on a property market now apparently ignoring Brexit and its associated uncertainty:
Leading the Market
There comes a time in the life of any political crisis when the public take matters into their own hands – not to rise up in arms, but just to get on with life. It seems that time has come.
Our offices across southwest Devon report increased activity with more property coming onto the market. It appears that many people can’t be bothered to wait for a Brexit solution or don’t see why any final resolution should influence their life plans.
This means those who are coming into the market to sell property are highly motivated – they want to be on the move – and they won’t let much get in their way.
Our offices also report increased demand for property from buyers. Of course this is the traditional time of year for new activity, with purchasers hoping to move before summer. However, this year it seems there is even more interest than usual. Our database shows that buyers are not just those living in the Southwest. They come from all over the UK and especially from London and the Southeast, and from the West Midlands.
Fortunately, we have the exclusive 300-office Mayfair Office network across the UK feeding us with unique buyers.
So, with UK employment at an all-time high, and interest rates at a near record low, we are busy getting ready for a very active summer – no matter what the outcome of Brexit. After all, whatever happens with Brexit it won’t make the Westcountry any less beautiful, and to many buyers it could make it even more desirable.
Theo Spink: Luscombe Maye (Salcombe).
T: 01548 845090
March 2019: Theo Spink of Luscombe Maye reflects on a property market affected by Brexit and uncertainty, but showing clear signs of resilience:
Reading the Market
It has been a trying two years since the Brexit referendum. No market likes uncertainty and the property market is no exception. It is hard to think of an event in recent memory that has fostered so much worry and confusion over such a prolonged period.
However, as we (hopefully) reach the Brexit endgame, we can see some welcome signs of regeneration from opposite ends of the market.
At the lower end, tax changes have significantly affected professional landlords. However, it is an ill wind that blows no one any good. Across the UK many first time buyers, benefiting from low interest rates, help-to-buy schemes and, frequently, the bank of mum and dad, have filled the vacuum created by those leaving the rental investment market.
Tax changes have also affected the top end of the market. The tax on foreign buyers, especially in London, has had an adverse effect. The capital has seen a dramatic drop in property values over the past three or four years with the knock-on effect that fewer central London sellers have been moving out of the capital for lifestyle reasons.
However, there are now clear signs that London is on the rebound. The fall in the value of the pound and a readjustment in sellers price expectations have brought investors back into the market with force. So London sellers are once again planning their escapes and they are filtering through to the middle market property sector in areas outside the capital. The South Hams has always been a destination of choice and, with Luscombe Maye’s 8 strategically placed offices we are ideally placed to assist.
It would seem that Brexit is not necessarily deterring active buyers in all sectors, as a great many of them are focused on some great opportunities. We understand this only too well. As a firm, we have always concentrated on the opportunities that economic, legal, personal and social changes bring for clients.
It would be foolhardy to try and forecast how the market will react in the months ahead. We are estate agents, not clairvoyants. However, two things are very certain in the post Brexit epoch; there will be excellent opportunities for both buyers and sellers and we will be there to steer clients through this period – whatever happens to the market.
To speak to a Luscombe Maye property specialist, call any of our 8 Luscombe Maye offices or visit us here at www.luscombemaye.com
Theo Spink: Luscombe Maye (Salcombe).
T: 01548 845090
January 2019: James Rideout of Luscombe Maye asks:
Is Perception Greater Than Fact?
As we return back to our offices after a well-earned Christmas break we are both reflective of the year gone, as well as optimistic for the year ahead. The reflective part we analyse to help motivate us for the year to come and it tells us an interesting story, it’s not that bad you know.
We constantly get bombarded with negative news, the biggest of the day being Brexit, which is pretty depressing in itself whatever camp you are in. This, like a lot of uncertainty, will filter into the financial and property markets, which are very much sentiment driven. Now this gives us the perception that the property market in the South Hams must be on its knees with not a buyer to be seen – WRONG.
Last year we registered more buyers than the previous year, received more offers and sold more property. We had a healthy number of buyer enquiries over the festive period and this has continued into the New Year. Rightmove recorded over two million hits on Boxing Day alone – FACT.
The FACT is that sensibly priced property is selling, buyers remain keen to purchase and are becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of available property to view. Luscombe Maye has been giving professional advice since 1873 and in uncertain times it becomes even more important to seek this advice.
In the last couple of weeks leading up to Christmas we agreed several sales. The Buyers were moving for a variety of reasons, some moving into the area, some upsizing, some downsizing – People still have to and want to move, so why should factors mostly out of our control impact this?
The PERCEPTION is that Brexit will reduce property prices, but the FACT is price is affected by demand, and there is still plenty of demand for properties in the South Hams now.
Exchanged contracts in just over eight weeks of marketing before Christmas.
Moor Road, Staverton
Launched to the market a week before Christmas receiving well over 2,000 internet hits and multiple viewings to date.
December 2018: James Caslake from Luscombe Maye takes a look ahead at the 2018 autumn/winter property market in the final months of the pre-Brexit period.
Those of us who have been connected to the property market for many years will have seen a number of ups and downs. But I am quite sure we will all look back at this pre-Brexit period as being the most demanding.
This prolonged period of uncertainty, despite some underlying positives in the economy, has brought market activity to seemingly low levels for many buyers and sellers.
Buyers complain that there is nothing on the market. Sellers complain that there are no buyers. It’s understandable why they should do so. But both sets are wrong. There are in fact excellent properties on the market and there are certainly enough buyers. It’s just that there aren’t as many as we have all become used to over the past half-decade. Nor are some buyers and sellers quite as realistic as they could and should be in these testing times.
Waiting for Brexit to be over is certainly deterring some movers. But how will doing nothing help? The market is unlikely to shake off its torpor quickly after 29th March 2019. The effects of Brexit will, no doubt, linger on until some stability and acceptance has returned. But some people can’t wait a year or two for something to happen before they move. Nor should they.
By and large, governments and politics do not determine the property market. People do. So our advice, as ever, is to do what is right for you and your family in the near-to-middle term and not try to anticipate the market too much – especially in these uncertain times. We are in a period without precedence. But the two handmaidens of a successful sale – good presentation and accurate pricing – still apply. Get those two things right and the market will love your property and you will have moved out quicker than you can say Michel Barnier.
Over the years we have moved thousands of people in all sorts of personal circumstances – many of them happy but some of them not so. But every single one of those moves was important. Call us about your house move. You will then find out what having a friend in the business really means. You see, good estate agency isn’t about economics or politics. It isn’t even all about property. But it is all about people.
James Caslake is Manager of Luscombe Maye (Modbury) and can be reached here: 01548 800152.