Time to get real, even at the top end of the market
Sellers are learning that it pays to think about the price tag and to do it in percentages rather than pounds sterling. Sharon Dale reports.
A DELUGE of asking price data was released this week and it proves quite clearly that greed doesn’t pay.
If you don’t set a realistic price in the first place, your property can languish unsold for months even after a series of reductions.
Zoopla says that even properties over £1m, where the market has been most resilient, have has their fair share of discounting. Of all £1m-plus properties on the market at the moment, 27 per cent have had their price slashed at least once.
That’s because buyers at the top end of the market are acutely price-aware and insist on value for money, so getting it right first time is important.
Patrick McCutcheon, head of residential at estate agency Dacre, Son and Hartey says: “Even if a property is four or five per cent over what it should be, it can scupper the possibility of a sale. If the asking price is fair then there’s a good chance of selling. It’s when vendors go for a premium that there are problems.
“That’s not to say that buyers are looking for cheap houses, they they are simply looking to buy at a competitive and realistic level.”
Fortunately, says Patrick, the majority of sellers he encounters are realistic.
“Most have their finger on the pulse and know what’s going on in the world, so they are pricing sensibly.”
Harrogate-based Tim Waring, head of residential for Knight Frank in the North, agrees that price sensitivity is acute at the moment.
He says: “There are buyers about but they are price sensitive especially about anything that has an Achilles heel, like houses near a road or a plot that is compromised by size or shape. Realism is key, though there are sellers who are prepared to sit and wait for the price no matter what.”
Activity at the top end mirrors that of the rest of the market. It’s subdued but supply and demand are generally in balance and agents are expecting an autumn upturn boosted by buyers who have been biding their time.
“We have had buyers who have been holding off but now they perceive that property is good value for money. We’re starting to see the Leeds professional community coming back to the market,” says Tim, who reports an encouraging trend that seems to be growing.
Yorkshire’s traditional hotspots in the golden triangle, including York, Harrogate, Ilkley, Wetherby and North Leeds are attracting more people from the south. Some are Yorkshire born and want to return home but others have been impressed with the quality of life on offer here.
Our fabulous mix of coast, country and city plus an enviable road network and good raillinks to London have lured them up north.
Tim Waring says: “Last year a third of our buyers were from outside Yorkshire and we are now definitely seeing them coming from further afield. It’s quicker for those who work in London to commute to places like York and Leeds than it is to deepest Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.”
Away from the golden triangle, estate agent Simon Blyth, who has branches in the Huddersfield, Wakefield and Barnsley areas, is seeing a steady stream of interest in million pound plus homes coming from those trading up the property ladder and others looking to invest their savings:
“Investment is a driving force because people are looking for analternative to the stock market or the bank. We’ve just had a person buy a £750,000 house with his savings. He’s going to move into that and rent his own home out. The rental income will provide him with a better return than the bank. He’ll eventually sell his new home and move back into his old one. We have another client who sold his £800,000 house four years ago. It’s on the market again and he’s thinking of buying it back and renting it out.
“The fact is there has never been a better time to buy and those at the top end of the market are well aware of that.”