A first year full of chal­lenge but plenty of hope for the fu­ture

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Toby Cock­roft

IT has now been a lit­tle over a year since I took the plunge and founded DHP Croft, a res­i­den­tial agency and prop­erty con­sul­tancy in York­shire, and it has been a thor­oughly en­joy­able, if chal­leng­ing, ex­pe­ri­ence.

I knew it wasn’t go­ing to be easy, as the res­i­den­tial prop­erty mar­ket is still emerg­ing from the dol­drums, but I have been heart­ened by the sup­port of a wide range of clients old and new, col­leagues and friends.

But what is the prop­erty mar­ket like in York­shire? Dur­ing these first 12 months, we have no­ticed that there still re­mains a flight for qual­ity and we have no­ticed that top-end houses, priced at re­al­is­tic val­ues, will sell.

How­ever, a large range of prop­erty re­mains un­sold and has been on the mar­ket for sev­eral months and even sev­eral years. This is purely down to peo­ple hav­ing un­re­al­is­tic per­cep­tions about the value of their home.

If the ven­dor is ad­vised as to why their prop­erty is val­ued at the amount it is, then they have to take that on board in or­der to achieve a suc­cess­ful sale. If not and they try for what they think it is worth, the prop­erty will stand the chance of re­main­ing on the mar­ket for a long pe­riod of time.

There have also been a num­ber of transactions that have taken place “off the mar­ket”, as pri­vate transactions of­ten achieve the best value as well as keep­ing peo­ple and their prop­er­ties out of the pub­lic do­main.

As for the fu­ture, we be­lieve that the next 12 months will continue to re­main dif­fi­cult with pres­sures within the Eu­ro­zone and the dif­fi­culty in bor­row­ing money caus­ing ner­vous­ness and pre­vent­ing prop­erty pur­chas­ing.

How­ever, there are still a num­ber of peo­ple who as­pire to live in their dream home and oth­ers that have to sell for per­sonal or work-re­lated is­sues or re­lo­ca­tion. There­fore, transactions will continue to take place and, as long as the pa­ram­e­ters be­tween sell­ing and pur­chas­ing re­main at a level where peo­ple are com­fort­able, the York­shire prop­erty mar­ket’s wheels will continue to turn.

Since launch­ing last year, DHP Croft have dealt with a wide range of prop­er­ties from as­pi­ra­tional fam­ily homes to city cen­tre apart­ments, pic­ture-post­card cot­tages, mews flats, coun­try houses and es­tates to­gether with de­vel­op­ment sites and land. As al­ways, fo­cused mar­ket­ing, lat­eral think­ing and at­trac­tive lo­ca­tions have been cru­cial to ev­ery suc­cess­ful trans­ac­tion.

Over­all, the mar­ket re­mains tough in York­shire and it still favours the buyer. How­ever, ven­dors want to en­sure that they achieve a max­i­mum price while the buyer wants to feel that they have got their “pound of flesh”.

Sell­ers will have to ac­cept that they must ne­go­ti­ate on price in or­der to achieve a sale while, at the same time, be­ing re­al­is­tic about the value that is at­trib­uted to the house when it is put on the mar­ket. There are still the sales where death, debt and di­vorce are fac­tors caus­ing a prop­erty to be sold against the ven­dor’s real wishes. More of­ten than not, the pur­chaser can take ad­van­tage of those sit­u­a­tions.

How­ever, for the pic­ture post­card cottage, the at­trac­tive fam­ily home and the unique coun­try es­tate, of which there are many ex­cel­lent ex­am­ples across York­shire, this is an as­pi­ra­tional pur­chase and, if the buyer is deemed to be pay­ing the full price, then it is not so much of a fac­tor as they will be liv­ing in the prop­erty for many a year. That, in its own right, gives them some form of value back.

It also al­most goes with­out say­ing that the ven­dor must en­sure that their prop­erty is in the finest con­di­tion pos­si­ble when it comes on to the mar­ket. In­vest­ment in mak­ing your prop­erty look lovely pays div­i­dends.

Over­all, I know there will be ex­cite­ment and chal­lenges in a test­ing res­i­den­tial prop­erty mar­ket, but I am look­ing for­ward with con­fi­dence and hope.

Toby Cock­roft, DHP Croft, www.dh­pcroft.co.uk

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