Same old ques­tion but fi­nally agents have a new an­swer

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Tim War­ing

I RE­CENTLY met some­body at a party for the first time and nei­ther of us had any idea of our re­spec­tive oc­cu­pa­tions.

I had a fas­ci­nat­ing 15 min­utes learn­ing about his busi­ness and how they wash trucks on a rather large-scale in­dus­trial ba­sis. It prob­a­bly ex­plains why I have sub­se­quently no­ticed on my trav­els around York­shire why so many com­mer­cial trucks and lor­ries are kept so clean.

Given it was a Satur­day night, I could have quite happily have learned a lot more from him and a friend who was “some­thing big” in the IT world as it would cer­tainly be a change from dis­cussing the highs and lows of the prop­erty world.

In­evitably, how­ever, the con­ver­sa­tion turned to my work and whether I was the one and the same Tim War­ing whose pic­ture reg­u­larly ap­pears in the Knight Frank ad­verts, with apolo­gies and com­mis­er­a­tions to my name­sake who is a highly re­spected plan­ning con­sul­tant in Leeds.

As I am sure most es­tate agents will agree, once you ad­mit to your pro­fes­sion it leads to the in­evitable ques­tion “So how is the mar­ket? Get­ting any bet­ter?”

Well the an­swer, I am pleased to say, is “yes” – there is more ac­tiv­ity, more peo­ple are look­ing, and more prop­erty is sell­ing.

How­ever, there is a se­ri­ous dan­ger that a mar­ket­place, which fun­da­men­tally has to be driven by both will­ing sell­ers and will­ing buy­ers, could be­come some­what dis­jointed if the anec­do­tal com­ments I have heard from var­i­ous agents around York­shire prove to be a re­al­ity and in­deed be­come more wide­spread.

A bet­ter mar­ket does not nec­es­sar­ily mean prices are in­creas­ing in the re­gion, wit­ness the lat­est sur­veys from both The Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors (RICS) and the Knight Frank Coun­try House In­dex, but yet we are start­ing to see ex­am­ples of sell­ers who are be­ing less flex­i­ble in their ne­go­ti­a­tion be­cause they per­ceive there could be bet­ter times ahead.

Sim­i­larly, buy­ers who have sold, or in­deed are for­tu­nate to have cash to ac­quire a prop­erty, still seem to be­lieve that large dis­counts should be read­ily avail­able and al­most seem afronted when a seller re­fuses to ac­cept an of­fer that, rather cheek­ily, has been sub­mit­ted at 10 per cent to 20 per cent be­low the guide price.

As I have said be­fore, I urge sell­ers to be re­al­is­tic and recog­nise that if they do wish to sell and move on, a prop­erty is only worth what some­one is pre­pared to pay.

So if you have had say 10-15 view­ings but only one, hope­fully sen­si­ble, of­fer then that is the mar­ket price and there is no guar­an­tee you are go­ing to do sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter in three to six months’ time.

For a lot of sell­ers it is a ques­tion of the dif­fer­en­tial be­tween the sale and pur­chase. There­fore, if buy­ing, don’t be of­fended if you get your first of­fer re­jected, it was prob­a­bly too low any­way, and be will­ing to pay a fair price for a good house.

At the end of the day it could be the house of your dreams and if so, why not pay a lit­tle bit more if you re­ally like it?

As to what is sell­ing and not sell­ing, well that is a dif­fi­cult one to call.

In and around my usual stomp­ing ground of Har­ro­gate, there is cur­rently a vogue for town liv­ing, which I see con­tin­u­ing.

That said, de­mand does seem to be build­ing for vil­lage and coun­try houses.

Maybe the good weather of late will re­mind buy­ers why we all love “Eng­land’s green and pleas­ant land”.

So. to an­swer the ques­tion of my re­cent fel­low party guest – it’s get­ting bet­ter, but it is still not easy.

And if I meet you for the first time this week­end, hope­fully I have an­swered your ques­tion in ad­vance.

Tim War­ing FRICS is a part­ner of Knight Frank and leads their es­tate agent team in York­shire, tel: 01423 530088. www. knight­frank.com/har­ro­gate

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