Now it is fair to speak of housing’s green shoots of recovery
Whilst facts might speak for themselves, there is one common theme of the market in Yorkshire and around the country as a whole, namely the acceptance of realism on the part of both buyers and sellers alike.
In December one firm Knight Frank (excluding central London) agreed sales on £250m pounds of residential property, flying in the face of accepted practice that December is quiet especially when October and November proved to be slow selling months.
The new year has started where the old year finished with my team in Harrogate agreeing sales on over £4m of property in the first full week of 2013. As you can guess this sales success has posed the inevitable question as to whether it is a sign of an improving market, New Year good fortune, brilliant estate agency or maybe a combination of all three?
I believe there are five fundamental elements to our success:
1. Our integrated national network of offices being part of a Pan European team and global network is proving to be essential in offering houses in Yorkshire to the widest range of potential purchasers.
2. We put clients at the heart of everything we do. By virtue of being a privately owned company this means that our service levels are driven by our clients’ needs not those of external shareholders and as a result we have created an environment that nurtures the best people in the business. We also have a strong sense of corporate responsibility with current sponsorship including St Michaels Hospice and a long standing association with the Acorn charity in Harrogate.
3. It may seem an obvious comment but your estate agent does need to understand the market place in which they are operating and be familiar with your type of property. It is not just a question of who will charge the lowest commission rate.
4. The changes in technology that have arisen over the last four to five years have had a staggering impact on the estate agency profession and your chosen agent should have embraced the benefits that have resulted rather than treating them with suspicion. So what are the latest features to attract buyers? For example, the ability to personalise your search seems inevitable with a “Near me” functionality on our apps proving increasingly popular, and this explains why our iPad app has remained in the top 70 lifestyle apps since its launch at the beginning of 2012.
5. Market intelligence is the lifeblood of a good estate agency and professional market research generates an understanding of the key drivers of the market. Interestingly, 38 per cent of all buyers through Knight Frank Harrogate last year came from out of the Yorkshire and Humber region, with 56 per cent of our sales been between £500,000 and £1m, with 34 per cent being to those employed in professional services industry and 14 per cent defined as entrepreneurial. A single office estate agent can also be very effective but do they have the necessary reach? An agent needs this core data to ensure that the marketing strategy of any property is structured and focused to the target market that might purchase.
So when choosing your selling agent in 2013 consider, do they have all the right tools in the ammunition box to appeal to the widest range of potential purchasers whether they are from Harrogate or Hong Kong, Leeds or London?