As we head into the Spring months the local property market is thankfully showing the normal substantial increase in activity that this time of year historically brings. Whilst we may still be in a buyers market, there are presently no shortage of buyers out there. These buyers range from the all important First Time Buyers, eager to get that first step onto the property ladder, through to local families keen to upgrade to something larger. In addition, there are still numerous investors out there who seem confident enough in the local market to invest in Buy to Let property. Numerous local residents are also downsizing either to pay off mortgages, or just because families have flown the nest and therefore the space of a large family home is no longer required.
All of the above reasons obviously contribute to the health of the local property market and this activity sets off numerous chains of activity up to around the £500,000 mark, where the market then tails off a bit unfortunately. Part of the reason for the lack of activity at the higher end of the market is the noticeable lack of new residents as the market is at present predominately fuelled by local activity. Whilst all of the above activity seems fine and dandy, the other side of the coin is that the local property market still has a supply and demand problem. Supply still massively outweighs demand in some sections of the market, which unfortunately results in a large percentage of local homes that are struggling to attract interest. Part of the reason for this will be the fact that, in some sections of the market, (usually the upper end) there is little activity and therefore a smaller audience at present. In this instance I’m afraid vendors will either have to be patient and wait for this section of the market to improve, or consider substantially reducing their asking prices in order to get their properties closer to the section of the market that is gaining interest.
The section of the market that is on the move is between £175,000 up to around £400,000, but there are unfortunately still a lot of properties in this price range that are not attracting much interest and there are various reasons for this. The truth of the matter is that, whilst activity in the market is increasing, the local property market has suffered over the last few years and property prices have dropped. This means that some of the older stock that has not been reduced in line with market forces is inevitably unable to compete with the more competitively priced new listings. I would suggest that vendors struggling to sell in this active price range should have their homes reassessed and compared with the competition after around six months of marketing if a lack of viewing activity is being experienced.
Of course, there will inevitably be a percentage of homes that are competitively priced, well presented and still not attracting interest. Over supply is generally the main reason in these cases as todays no chain buyers simply have too much choice in certain areas of the market. Buyers in this market may sometimes have over thirty suitable homes on their potential viewing list and, in most cases anyway, they will only view around ten homes before deciding on a suitable purchase. This obviously leaves around twenty homes per buyer not viewed, hence the lack of activity in some cases. Competitive pricing and immaculate presentation is still the best way of ensuring that vendors get on the list of ten as opposed to the list of twenty.
New listings continue to attract by far the most interest and, contrary to what most people think, competitively priced new listings will go for asking price, or very close at least. Our website homepage still lists our twelve latest new listings and on occasions as many as eight out of the twelve can be under offer.
Valuing property is obviously not an exact science and whilst the typical modern estate type homes and the traditional town houses are very easy to find comparables for, it can sometimes be hard to arrive at the correct asking price on some of the more unusual or unique properties. Manxmove continue to extensively research numerous comparable properties and take condition, location and square footage into account prior to arriving at a competitive asking price for our clients. Valuing above market value, just to be awarded the listing is counter-productive in my view as this inevitably results in properties not receiving early interest, having to be reduced and therefore missing the new listing activity due to an unrealistic asking price. On the other side of the fence, in a buyers market such as ours, undervaluing homes in order to achieve quick sales will inevitably affect the future value of all of our homes.
The rental market continues to be very strong and, unlike the sales market there is a significant lack of available properties, particularly in the East up to around £1200 per calendar month. Consequently, if you are a vendor of an empty property and finding it difficult to attract a buyer, or are considering renting your home, please get in touch with any of the Manxmove team on 619966 and we will be happy to introduce your property to one of our many tenants that are seeking short and long term rentals.
Marketing has certainly changed over the years and I am embarrassingly old enough to remember sticking Polaroid photographs on to typed property details. Todays agent really has to move with the times and make full use of todays technology in order to showcase their clients properties to as wide an audience as possible. Manxmove has always embraced new ideas and new technology with Open Days, Facebook, Twitter, Property Swaps and the international property portfolios like Zoopla and On the Market.com
Our latest Virtual Viewing idea has really taken off now with 90% of our new listings having a Virtual Viewing video tour attached to the details on our website. This is a totally unique and free service to our clients which has been really well received and this technology gives purchasers a complete audio and video tour of our clients properties prior to arranging a viewing.
To sum up then, a difficult local property market, but one where there is healthy activity in certain price ranges. Most of us will have seen a significant increase in agents Sold boards as we travel around the island, which is great. I have been through healthy sellers markets as well has difficult buyers markets and gone are the days of simply launching a property on a website and waiting for cash buyers to ring up and buy it. Personally, I much prefer a more difficult buyers market where you really have to think outside the box. In a difficult buyers market such as ours you have to come up with new marketing ideas and strategies in order to keep one step ahead. Ten years ago, in a completely different sellers market, clients were in some cases purchasing properties over the phone prior to even viewing and there is little job satisfaction in that.
Manxmove continue to be upbeat and optimistic about the local property market. We continue to go from strength to strength and it is hard to believe that we have just celebrated our sixth anniversary. We are all keeping our fingers crossed for some even more healthy activity as we head into the historically more buoyant Spring and Summer months.
Graham Wilson FNAEA (Dip REA) Director Manxmove Limited