Blog

Property asking prices fall, but activity is up

There are two conflicting reports out today that sum up the property market at the beginning of 2011.

The first is from Zoopla and shows that sellers are dropping their prices in response to a lack of sales at the end of 2010. Indeed they show that nearly four in ten houses that were on the market at the beginning of the year have had their original prices reduced, and that on average the drop is 6.6%. In London a third of properties have fallen in price, so slightly below the national average, though by a similar %.

The second report comes from the National Association of Estate Agents who in a poll of their members find that the number of registered house hunters with each of their agents is at its highest levels for 6 months, rising around 10% from December.

This seems to support our view, which is that alot…

Labour admits to getting it wrong – then appoints Caroline Flint!

I had to laugh today when shadow welfare secretary Liam Byrne has admitted the Labour government failed the housing sector while in power.

Byrne  said: “We just do not think we did a good enough job on housing.”

Their solution? To hold a review into what they had got wrong and to put Caroline Flint in charge of that review.

Is that the same Caroline Flint who was housing Minister from Jan 2008 and who said of Home Information Packs ” we were responding to public concern that buyers often had to pay duplicate costs for information that the seller should take responsibility for. I think that desire to stop duplication and have information in one place for people to access is as important today. Hips get a bad rep but I don’t believe that they have affected the market and I think it’s rather cheeky of people to try to drag them…

“They’ll have gone in a couple of months” – praise indeed

Have just heard on the grapevine that a large High Street estate agent in Ware has just told one of their clients – who was taking their home off the market and mentioned that they had been recommended to try BigBlackHen.com – that “we’d be gone in a couple of months”.

I had to laugh. When we started the business in 2005 in Somerset I know of two local agents who predicted we’d be gone within a year. Six years later and we were selling more property than them both and had just come 20th in the Estate Agency of the Year Awards 2010.

They were wrong then and they are wrong now. The reason is simple – we offer clients something different with our client-friendly contracts and low fixed fees – and people really are crying out for a change.

I look forward with confidence to seeing our distinctive hen boards…

Mary Portas has done us all a favour

Well, Mary Portas’s programme last night on the business of estate agency has certainly upset alot of people in the industry. But for my money she raised some important issues about the kind of customer service we deliver to buyers and some of it, sadly, wasn’t pretty.

Of course, there are many hard working and professional people in estate agents’ offices around the country who deliver excellent customer service, but it is also true that some of the criticisms highlighted in the show are valid. It is easy for the industry to call the whole thing a “circus” and to stick its head in the sand (see reaction of industry magazine Estate Agent Today below), but some of the lazy practices considered the norm do our image no good.

http://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/Mary-Portas-programme-on-agents-slammed-as-a-circus

We were once joint agents with another company in Somerset on a farm that had pylons running right…