Bargains to be had as sellers opt for discounts
New Year, new price. Now is the perfect time to reduce the price of your property in a January sale. Sharon Dale reports.
BUYERS may not be queueing round the block just yet, but Yorkshire estate agents have reported a rush of interest in their first few days of 2011 trading.
Patrick McCutcheon, Head of Residential at Dacre, Son and Hartley, says his Ilkley office was full to bursting on Tuesday lunchtime, adding that he hadn’t seen anything like it since the heady days of the boom in 2007.
Andrew Beadnall, of Beadnall Copley, was run off his feet too.
“The phones haven’t stopped ringing and there have been people in and out of the office all day,” he says.
The new year is traditionally a busy time for estate agency as people re-assess their future and think about where they want to live.
For sellers, it can be the perfect time to reduce the price of a property whose For Sale board has hung around for far too long.
Patrick says: “January is a good time to reduce the price of your property. The new year sees a flush of new people coming to the market. Many have taken the decision over the Christmas holidays that they just want to get on with life, whether that means upsizing, downsizing, getting married or divorced. This time of year is a trigger point that brings a burst of buyers.
“Discounting can be a good way of refreshing a property that has got a bit stale in the marketplace. It will appeal to fresh buyers and give it a second chance with those who have already seen it.
“Price reduction can be brutal but effective.”
Though sellers may see a five per cent reduction as a huge financial loss – £20,000 on a property previously priced at £400,000, Patrick urges them to think logically.
“If you haven’t got it you haven’t lost it. Some sellers get fixated with a certain price, but if the market won’t deliver it then they and their agent should lower their aspirations.” Andrew Beadnall agrees. “It’s all about differential,” he adds.” If you’re buying another property and trading up then it shouldn’t make a difference.
“You might also want to question whther the price you’re asking is out of kilter with others in your area.
“If people can buy a similar house down the road for less, why would they bother coming to view yours?”
There’s no shame in discounting, according to Andrew, who says:
“There are two things that sell a house and they are price and marketing.
“People have short memories. Even if they have seen the house before at a higher price, they won’t care.
“It is the price they are looking at as it spins before them and if that, and the house appeals, they’ll view. If the price doesn’t grab them they won’t come to look.”
Ben Pridden of Savills York, reveals that discounts made at the end of last year paid off for him, but they were generous.
“Price reductions in the last part of 2010 certainly paid dividends, often resulting in sales.
“Unfortunately, reductions of much less than 10 per cent rarely make a marked difference. Sellers beware though, buyers may well still chip your price by another five or 10 per cent.”
Prices are not forecast to rise this year and they may even fall. Predictions range from a drop of one to ten per cent, followed by slow growth in 2012.
Tim Blenkin, of Blenkin and Co, York, says: “All the pundits, both local and national, predict further price falls in the residential sector of up to 10 per cent this year. Our message is sell early and price keenly to avoid any slippage later in the year.”
Buyers, says Patrick McCutcheon, should see this year as a “sea of opportunity”, as it is predicted that prices will begin to rise slowly in 2012.
“Now is a good time to buy if you are looking to keep a property for the medium term,” says Patrick.
“People who are serious about selling are offering property at realistic price levels and there are more competitive mortgage deals around.”