Same old question but finally agents have a new answer
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