We are delighted to announce that Cross Keys Residential Sales and Lettings have moved into our flagship office located in Devonport Road in the heart of Stoke Village. Ahead of this exciting new chapter for us we have extensively refurbished our Stoke office, including a new shop front. We have also implemented changes in our building refurbishment and working practices which will see a reduction in our carbon footprint.
Our move back into the heart of the Stoke community has coincided with the end of our lease term at our Manamnead Sales hub. As such this has prompted the closure of our Mannamead Road office with immediate effect.
The Sales market in the City has dipped in recent months, for obvious reasons and it goes without saying that there is a lot of uncertainty as to what will happen in the first quarter of 2023. We are incredibly pleased that despite the current challenging climate we continue to sell and market homes to the highest standards and with successful outcomes.
Our intention is to continue to invest in Cross Keys Estates in our flagship office, where we can secure the long-term future of the Company, without having to make any of our valued staff redundant or to negatively affect our award-winning customer service.
Since our current Directors, Jack & Craig, started the Company in 2003, Cross Keys has seen some fantastic growth and has become an integral part of estate agency within the Plymouth area. Several years ago, the Company acquired the freehold to our iconic building in Stoke Village and this is a factor in our financial security going forward.
Cross Keys Estates is committed to continuing to sell and let properties throughout Plymouth and beyond for many years to come and we hope you will join us in celebrating this new era.
Here we are again. Parents are buying school uniforms, holidays have been and gone and dare I say it but “Yes” we are on the countdown to Christmas, please don’t hate me for pointing that out but facts are facts.
I have been very busy lately, not only as Plymouth’s Premier estate agent but also planning a wedding. What has this got to do with anything? I hear you say but during the course of booking entertainment, caterers, venue and all the odds and sods that go with it, I have really started to see that absolutely everything has gone up in price. Everything that I had budgeted for has turned out to be nearly double the expected costs. As a result of this, I have tried to make sure that all the contractors that are being used for this wedding are local as if you are going to be spending money, I think that the most you can do is try to keep it within the local economy.
I think that we all will be having a more pared down Christmas this year due to the current cost of living. We have rising inflation, rising interest rates and rising energy bills with the new cap that has been introduced. At the pumps, petrol is still relatively high in spite of the fact that oil is at one of its cheapest rates per barrel that has ever been.
Everywhere you look prices are on the up, but not the housing market! The price for property did not increase July or August. Average UK house prices fell in August 2022, their first drop this year, according to the latest market data from Rightmove, however the property portal’s latest house price index showed that property values dropped by 1.3% month-on-month since July – equivalent to a fall of £4,795 on average. While there are tentative signs of a slowdown in activity, with a dip in the number of mortgage approvals for house purchases in June, the effects did not come in to effect until July and have now been reinforced by August figures from the office of national statistics.
In my last blog I commented on what I thought would be the issue with the property market after the Christmas period, I still think that the latest figures coming from all the property professionals shows that the housing market buzz has or will end very very soon.
Yes, I know that you want to hear positive news or get some good advice, so here we go with a few:-
- If you are looking to sell your property, now is the right time to achieve the best possible price.
- If you are looking to save money, use Cross Keys Estates as we are the most competitively priced agent in Plymouth.
- If you are looking to increase your rental portfolio, wait until march 2023 where you will see better prices for you to buy in at.
- If you have been quoted a “package deal” by your agent, do not be fooled. It is cheaper to instruct your own solicitors than to use one supplied by the agent as part of a “deal”.
- Deals offered by new home builders are not necessarily the best deals around, look carefully at the detail and check with prices elsewhere.
- If your agent tells you that if you want to buy the house that they have on their books, but you’ll need to list your house with them in order to get it – this is illegal and any agent doing this needs to be reported to the ombudsman.
- Look at which agent shows you proof of their valuation and how they came to the property value. Do not just accept a figure plucked out of thin air, it may just be a ploy to get you to sign with them.
- Zero-week contract should mean ZERO weeks – not a 28-day notice period, which is in effect a four-week contract.
- If an agent spends more time talking about themselves rather than your property, then you know how much time they’ll put in to selling the property and how much time they will spend on just promoting themselves.
If you are looking to sell a property then now is the right time to consider putting it on the market.
Give Cross Keys Estates a call and see if our truly professional, premier service and competitive fees are what you have been looking for.
We have been experiencing some truly barmy weather these last few months, rain and hot sunshine all in the same week sometimes. Record breaking temperatures all across the United Kingdom saw packed out beaches with everyone trying to keep their cool, hot sticky nights leading to sales of electric fans and ice cream sales going through the roof, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the housing market.
I thought I would try to write an upbeat piece for this article and keep it positive and say that everything is just fine but the truth is the market has changed from the madness of high prices, gazumping, record levels of viewings and offers from the spring. As I am sat here writing this, I am wondering how to put a positive spin on it, should I sugar-coat it, perhaps soften it as to not start readers worrying if house prices are about to start falling. The honest answer is “No”, I am not going to change the type of person that I am, nor start to mislead people by telling blatant untruths.
We started to see a change in levels of activity around the beginning of June, at first, we thought it might be because summer was here and that potential sellers and buyers were now concentrating on their holidays and outdoor living rather than possibly moving property, but as the weeks went on, we saw that the levels of internet enquiries, viewings and telephone calls were continuing to decline.
Estate agents do not speak in foreign languages (despite common opinion) but we do know the secret codes that are sometimes spoken between each other, so when you have at least four other local agents ask “So how are you finding the market?” you absolutely know that what they are really saying is “are you struggling with the market at the moment?” and we also know that this means that THEY are struggling with the current market conditions.
Now in order to understand why the residential sales market is changing, we need to look at what is happening not only here in the UK but everywhere. Inflation is rising from Sri Lanka to America and all across the world. Interest rates are rising and are set to continue to rise into early next year with current plans as they are. Usually this means that the value of property would normally start to fall to compensate for this, but as there are a lot fewer properties coming to the market at the current time, property values are holding their own.
As we get nearer to Christmas, on the other hand, and everyone starts to spend their money on the festivities, I predict that we will see more and more people heading in to deeper financial difficulties due to the rise in the cost of living and the fact that absolutely everything is going up in price.
This may be starting to sound like doom and gloom but it is simply another adjustment to bring economies in to line and under control.
If the demographic of people, that I suspect, start finding themselves in financial distress, then these will be the first section of society to start selling off their assets including any properties that they own. Depending on what level of distress they are in, will mean that they may be prepared to sell at lower prices than necessary in order to stem their financial insecurities. That is when we will more than likely see property prices start their downward trajectory.
Governments all around the globe are trying to put things in place to ensure that this is not another recession but unless inflation is brought under control and soon, we may well see the UK head in to recession once again. Inflation in the US rose to 9.1% last month, driven by higher prices for gasoline, food and accommodation. That is well above the federal bank’s 2% target – and the fastest rate since 1981. CPIH, which is the measure of inflation published by the Office of National Statistics, including the rising cost of housing, is officially running at 8.2% in the 12 months to June 2022. However, Truflation’s newly launched UK index shows CPIH running at 13.8% in the 12 months to 24 July – nearly two-thirds higher and 6% more in real terms.
In conclusion to this article, all I can say is, if you are currently borrowing finance, you may want to get them locked in at their current rate for a suitable period to avoid the cost of borrowing becoming unaffordable. If you about to take out a mortgage, personally, I would be looking at a fixed rate product. If you are looking to sell a property then now is the right time to consider putting it on the market as tomorrow’s market will not get you the same price as selling today.
Here at Cross Keys Estates, we are currently seeing levels of new instructions to the market remain steady, but we are always looking to keep the status quo, so please give us a call and see if our honest, nonsense, no faff approach is what you need to help you sell your property and ensure you do not find yourself caught up in the situation outlined above.
Anyone that has been trying to find a property to let recently will know that the rental demand in Plymouth remains high. As soon as a property is listed on our website, our Facebook page, or Instagram we are inundated with enquiries. There is a definite shortage in rental properties which in turn has pushed rents up to an all-time high.
The competition is ferocious with good quality tenants desperate to secure properties, we as agents feel for applicants and understand the frustration of not being able get their foot in the door. The pace from releasing a property to it being Let Agreed is literally days, sometimes hours.
My advice to tenants looking for properties is to set up alerts on websites, register with letting agents and when applying for properties provide as much information as possible on your current circumstances to include income details. Have your documents ready, generally letting agents will require proof of ID (passports and driving licences). At Cross Keys Estates we like to give everyone a fair chance and encourage them to apply for properties via our on-line portal. All applications are acknowledged and viewed by landlords; we will then let all applicants know the outcome of their application.
Landlords are also feeling the pace having to ensure that properties are turned around quickly for new tenancies. There are many considerations for landlords to be aware ensuring that properties are compliant with Gas Safety Certificate, Electrical Installation Condition Reports and up to date Energy Performance Certificates. In October the new legislation regarding Carbon Monoxide Detectors will come into force. At Cross Keys we help our landlords to ensure that these safety checks are carried out and in place. We are encouraging our landlords to install CO2 detectors correctly now.
Obviously, the question is can this fast moving rental market be sustained. We don’t see it calming down anytime soon. Unless there is a mass influx in rental properties coming to the market in the next month or two, the trend of rents going up and properties letting within hours will continue for some months to come. So buckle up and ride it out!
Hi Folks, here we are, another month and another blog and this time, on a different topic completely, the law!
Buying and selling a property can be confusing to say the least and that is before you even get to the conveyancing part.
On 21 December 2017 the Government announced plans to tackle the growing problem of newly built houses sold as leasehold rather than freehold, and to limit ground rents on new lease agreements. Leasehold reform was included in the Law Commission’s Programme of Law Reform with the aim of finding ways to make buying a freehold or extending a lease “easier, faster, fairer and cheaper.”
In The Queen’s Speech 2022 “The Government will be taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to improve fairness and transparency in the leasehold market. The Law Commission’s work on leasehold reform is now complete and will become law from 31st May 2022.
There are around 4.6 million leasehold homes in England, according to estimates from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Long leaseholders buy the right to live in their homes for the term of the lease. Around 68% of these are flats, while 32% are houses. Most flats in the private sector are leasehold (an estimated 93% of owner-occupied flats and 73% of private-rented flats). Leasehold houses are uncommon across England, at around 8% of the stock. There’s evidence indicating that developers had started to sell new-build houses on long lease agreements as this can represent a lucrative future income stream.
Leaseholders report a range of problems, including: high service charges and a lack of transparency over what they are being charged for; freeholders who block attempts by leaseholders to exercise the Right to Manage; excessive administration charges and charges for applications to extend lease agreements or enfranchise; and a lack of knowledge over their rights and obligations.
From the end of May, estate agents and other property businesses must include length of lease, amount of service charge and ground rent and whether the property is in a shared ownership scheme when marketing properties. This information is absolutely essential to buyers finding out from the start whether a property is worth pursuing or not (e.g., is the lease so short they won’t be able to get a mortgage).
What does this information include? Perhaps most significant is that details of tenure of the property (how you own a property) must be disclosed, this includes the following categories:
Currently most reputable estate agents and property professionals are in the midst of obtaining the relevant information required to comply with this new legislation, however it is not an easy task as some of the property owners are not even aware of what their exact lease terms mean to them. There are some developments in our area that are indeed freehold but also have a leasehold element, including the cost of maintaining communal outdoor areas or the cost of electric and maintenance of gates in gated communities etc: –
what will have to be disclosed when selling a leasehold property are the current ground rent and service charge together with their respective review periods, along with the length of the lease and whether it is a shared ownership leasehold property.
The story here at Cross Keys Estates is no different. We are speaking to vendors and their solicitors to obtain this newly legally required information. The best way is to get a physical copy of the lease, that way we can quote the lease details directly. If a copy of the lease is not immediately available, then maybe either talk to the solicitor that is either doing or committed to doing the conveyancing on the property. Unfortunately, we cannot just take the vendors word for this information anymore as it forms an integral part of the Government’s reform for the housing market.
If you would like a personal chat with me to see if now is the right time for you to sell or rent out your property, please feel free to either give me a call on 01752 500099 or 01752 500018 or pop in to our Stoke office where I or one of my experienced property consultants will be only too happy to see if we can help.
I get asked a lot “What’s going to happen to the housing market?” I guess that a lot of people would expect a property professional to know the answer, however does anyone know exactly what to expect in these turbulent times.
With interest rates predicted to be around 2.5% by the end of the year and inflation currently at 6.2% and rising faster than predicted, the war in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and many of its oligarchs causing huge distress to the Russian people and putting huge pressure on the cost of oil creating a shortage and associated price increases adding to inflation and causing lots of financial issues for us here in the UK.
As I sit here and write this, I am not too concerned about how houses are selling or the figures that they are currently achieving. Here at Cross Keys Estates, we are still seeing properties going under offer in record speeds and with eye-watering offers. Just this week we have put a property on the market, booked 12 viewings in 2 days and now accepted an offer £20,000 above the asking price in under 5 days since first appearing on the property portals.
“WOWZERS” I hear you say but this is not a one off, in fact, this is happening on many of our properties at the moment. The rush for buyers to climb the next step on the property ladder shows no sign of slowing down, in fact the opposite is happening, people are entering into bidding wars for some of these properties. The exact same thing is also going on with rental properties, we are renting out houses even before they are coming to the market and we also have a growing waiting list of prospective tenants looking for a home.
So going back to the first question, “What do I think is going to happen to the housing market?” In short “I don’t know” but I do have an opinion which is what I will explain to you now. There are a lot of people, especially the younger generation, including many first-time buyers, that have only recently managed to get on the housing ladder. If the financial experts are correct then the increases in living costs, inflation and interest rates on mortgages and loans could prove to be too much for many of these people to keep their finances going.
The last time we saw these signs was in 2007 when financial markets collapsed under the strain of adverse lending and the poor decisions from the banks and other financial institutes, it was at this time that property prices fell between 10 % and some areas even up to 50%.
Now I am not saying that this is what is about to happen, however, here in the UK, we are experiencing one of the highest amounts of borrowing than ever before, mortgages and personal loans have been at the lowest levels of a lifetime and a lot of the younger generation have lived a life on borrowing. If the interest rates rise to above 2% then this level of borrowing will become unstainable and there is no evidence that borrowers have any means to pay the back the money borrowed.
I do think that the rising house prices will level off by the end of the year as will the demand for properties. I do not (at this moment in time) think that the values of these properties are likely to decline. With all of this in mind, now is still a fantastic time to sell your home if you are looking to cash in on any equity that may be in your property.
The demand is high, the values are high and the borrowing costs are still very low. Summer is not very far away and the perfect property right now is any three or four bedroomed houses with good size gardens, preferably with off street parking or a garage.
If you have a property that matches or comes close to this description then please get in touch with Plymouth’s number one (#1) estate and letting agent where we can offer you the best service in Plymouth and the surrounding areas for the best value.