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Updated: 24 min 19 sec ago

Price surge now moving out to the regions

14 April 2014 - 1:00am

The latest Rightmove price index confirms the trend that London’s buoyant market is now rippling out to the regions.

The data, based on asking prices by agents and vendors for homes advertised on the portal, shows a 7.3 per cent annual rate of increase. This is the highest since October 2007 and takes the market back to pre-credit-crunch levels.

New ‘record’ asking prices across southern England as a whole have taken the average in that half of the country to £262,594 – that’s up 2.6 per cent in just one month. By contrast, northern regions are still an average of six per cent behind October 2007 levels. 

Meanwhile the number of properties coming to market so far in 2014 is up 13 per cent on last year but supply shortages are still fuelling price rises in many areas in the south. 

Rightmove housing market analyst Miles Shipside says: “The ripple effect from the capital means other southern regions are starting to play catch-up. While London’s new sellers are asking an eye-watering £168,711 more than six and a half years ago, the northern regions are actually down by an average of £10,653, with the north west specifically still £16,049 adrift.”

But like many analysts he is wary of how the mortgage market review, which will create tougher lending conditions imposed on borrowers from the end of this month, may knock back the market as spring continues.

“If this hits a substantial number of potential purchasers then it could drive buyers out and force sellers to moderate prices. While some prospective buyers will fail the more stringent checks, we suspect the drop off in approvals is more to do with slower processing by lenders as new systems are introduced to comply with the MMR requirements, and volumes will recover” he says.


  • rightmove
  • House Prices
  • Estate Agent
Categories: News feeds

Windfarm reports blow hot and cold on prices

14 April 2014 - 1:00am

Where there’s a research document saying one thing, there’s usually another saying the opposite - and so it is now over the alleged effect of windfarms on house prices.

A report by the London School of Economics last week suggested that large windfarms can lead to a fall in prices of up to 12 per cent for properties within a two kilometre radius. Smaller effects on prices could be felt even up to as much as 14 kilometres away from a windfarm, the report alleged.

However, a separate report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research suggests something rather different - that there was no negative impact on house prices even within a five kilometre radius of a windfarm or an individual wind turbine.

The LSE survey, called ‘Gone with the wind: valuing the visual impacts of wind turbines through house prices’, concluded that "windfarm developments reduce prices in locations where the turbines are visible, relative to where they are not visible, and that the effects are causal".

The CEBR report - which perhaps reached an inevitable conclusion given that it was conducted on behalf of the windfarm trade association RenewableUK - looked at seven sites across England and Wales. It said that many turbines were concealed by nearby buildings, trees and the natural landscape so had no or little effect on house values. 

So now we know - or don’t.


  • Estate Agent
  • Windfarms
  • House Prices
  • LSE
  • CEBR
Categories: News feeds

Storms caused sales to stall, company admits

14 April 2014 - 1:00am

Sales fell five per cent in March compared with February in some parts of the country as a direct result of the poor weather, admits LSL Property Services.

 Transport delays, viewing cancellations and a general hesitation from buyers resulted in fewer completions in March than usual for the time of year, with the south west particularly badly hit, says the firm. 

However, it says nationwide sales volumes are still 22 per cent ahead of March 2013 despite the month-long weather hiatus. 

“A rejuvenated economy, more accessible mortgage market and better employment prospects are underpinning greater confidence among aspiring buyers. For the ninth month in a row average prices have set a new record, a clear sign of the sustained growth that has galvanised a ‘feel-good factor’” says LSL director David Brown.

But Brown warns that without more homes coming on the market, or more new homes being available off-plan or nearing completion, the housing recovery could yet stall. 

“The bottom line is we simply need more homes, not just to satisfy the growing demand but also to curb prices from rising beyond reach - particularly in London, where those at the lower end are already facing an uphill struggle” he warns. 


  • Estate Agent
  • Weather
  • Falling Sales
  • LSL
Categories: News feeds

82,000 UK homes worth £2m+ says Zoopla

14 April 2014 - 1:00am

The Zoopla portal claims that over 82,000 homes across the UK are valued at £2m or more and unsurprisingly 95 per cent are in London and south east England.

The portal says that any annual levy on high value homes of this kind - as proposed at different times in the past year by the Liberal Democrats and Labour - would generate less than £1.2 billion in tax revenue per year. On average, each of the 82,000 property owners could be required to pay an extra £14,500 per year in tax.

Remarkably, more than one third of the properties are in a single London borough, Kensington & Chelsea, where £427m of the annual charge would fall on the 18,660 properties currently worth over £2m.

Zoopla claims the Liberal Democrats and Labour have overestimated the amount the proposed mansion tax would generate - the parties claim up to £2 billion annually, over a third more than the portal calculates. The portal also suggests the title ‘mansion tax’ is a misnomer as many of the properties hit by the measure would be relatively modest apartments and houses. 

  • Estate Agent
  • zoopla
  • Mansion Tax
  • House Prices
Categories: News feeds

New mortgage rules 'will slow transactions'

11 April 2014 - 1:00am

There were 65,498 house purchase approvals by lenders in March, showing the second successive monthly drop as mortgage firms test out stricter rules which will be implemented across the country at the end of this month.

The March figure was seven per cent lower than the 70,309 in February. The recent falls reverse 11 months of improvements which saw average monthly lending levels increase from 52,537 to 76,753 between February 2013 and January 2014.

The new Mortgage Market Review regulations, due to be introduced on April 26, will see increased affordability checks conducted by lenders, with the application process lengthening considerably. 

Lenders are already putting in place changes to fit the new regulation, to ensure a seamless transition to the new rules in April.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, which conducted the survey of purchase approvals, says this is a “period of transformation” for the industry. 

“New regulations have played a part in the slowdown. Lenders are trialling systems, tightening up affordability checks, training staff and putting in place lengthier advisory processes. House purchase lending has dipped as a result” he says.

Meanwhile the e.surv research has also shown that the number of high LTV borrowers has now risen to one-in-six of all successful applicants. There were 9,628 loans to borrowers with a deposit worth 15 per cent or less of the total value of their property in March - this is half as much again as the figure a year earlier. 

This confirms a recent Bank of England Credit Conditions Survey which showed that high LTV loans increased significantly in the first three months of this year, fuelling some observers’ concerns of a possible housing market bubble.


  • Estate Agent
  • mortgage market review
  • Transactions
Categories: News feeds

Rebrand uses personal touch to combat online agencies

11 April 2014 - 1:00am

An agency is rebranding after 25 years to emphasise how a personal touch and the look and feel of a branch office can be an advantage over new online agencies.

The Hexham-based agency formerly known as Northumbria and Cumbria estate agents is now being renamed Andrew Coulson, after the firm’s founder.  

Andrew Coulson says he has been spurred to undertake the rebrand to combat what he calls “the proliferation of online agencies”. 

“We’re based in a two-storey building in a primary pedestrian flow, so are clearly visible to passers-by. We wanted to opt for a new look and feel giving the impression of a living room so it felt warm and inviting. At the same time, we wanted to change the name to Andrew Coulson, to give it a more personal feel and reflect our bespoke service” he says.

 “Inside the office it’s really relaxed. Our comfy sofas and open fire means people come in and sit down and they seem to love it. The great thing is, we also have the upstairs office for those who would like to discuss their details in a more confidential setting” he explains.

 Suzie Pattison of Ravensworth, the design firm masterminding the rebrand, says some agents miss out on ways to improve the effectiveness of their displays - increasingly important when combatting online agencies.

“We knew [the office space] would benefit from backlit displays due to its prominent position on the street.  Many agents make the investment to install backlit displays then fail to maximise impact by printing window cards in-house which is a false economy. We print them on a transparent material made for backlit display systems” she says.


  • Estate Agent
  • Rebranding
  • Traditional Estate Agency
  • Online Agents
Categories: News feeds

Thumbs up (from most) for BBC's Under Offer

11 April 2014 - 1:00am

Agents and even the mainstream press have been continuing to give mostly-favourable reactions to Under Offer, a six-part reality TV show which launched on BBC Two this week.

“It was a pretty cool bit of TV, showcasing all sorts work in the property industry. Lewis cares which is what most of us want. Nice” was the response of Haus Properties’ Jamie Lester.

The ‘Lewis’ in question was Lewis Rossiter, who is based in Exeter and has worked for Bradleys for two years. His personable style made him very much the star of the first show; he has already appeared on BBC’s The One Show. 

Alan Page, author of the popular online renovation blog Doerupperdiary says: “The young agent from Exeter is in danger of giving estate agency a good name.”

James Wyatt of Barton Wyatt in Virginia told his Twitter followers that “Estate agents on Under Offer were given a comfy ride. Gary Hersham managed a decent impression of a St Bernard.”

But some agents were more cautious in their welcome and a few were even critical of their colleagues.

“It was a bit OTT in parts. Really can’t understand why people make our job out to be stressful. It’s not” tweeted Michelle Wilden of JDG, an agency in Lancashire.

Some TV reviewers liked it too. 

“It simply followed a diverse bunch of agents from a range of economic areas, and showed us what they do (apart from calling you every eight minutes)” wrote Will Dean in The Independent, adding: “It's surprising, given our infatuation with homes and the buying of them, that there have not been more estate agents on TV. It's another surprise to see the kind side of (some of) them.

Zoe Williams in The Guardian saw it more harshly. “When it becomes clear that a programme fails to offer any real insight into the human condition – as was the case here, roughly four minutes in – you start to ask, what did they think they were trying to achieve? .... Gems were proffered from the agents themselves, such as ‘any time they start referring to the house as theirs, that can only be a good thing.’ It's part look at the crook, part rehabilitate him. That agenda is so 80s I didn't know where to look; nobody thinks of estate agents as the people in control of this runaway train.”

Christopher Howse in the Daily Telegraph said he had to constantly ask whether it was worth continuing watching or putting on the kettle:

“The best lines were delivered by Kuki, long-suffering driver for the flamboyant Gary Hersham of Beauchamp who likes to sell a London house with 13 bathrooms at £39.5m. Kuki had to be ready at all times. ‘Going to little boys’ room difficult. You have to hold,’ Kuki explained, as he waited for Hersham outside a house. ‘You have to hold because Gary could come out any minute.’ It seemed a sort of parable for always being ready to jump at the best offer on a property.”

Under Offer continues next Wednesday on BBC Two.


  • Estate Agent
  • BBC Two
  • Under Offer
Categories: News feeds

RPSA launches new diplomas next week

11 April 2014 - 1:00am

The launch of new Diplomas in Residential Surveying and Valuation take place at the Residential Property Surveyors Association annual conference next week. 

These new qualifications, formally recognised by RICS, will “set new standards for residential surveyors and valuers and provide both a pathway into the SAVA Scheme and a pathway into the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors as an associate member” according to the RPSA. 

The primary aim of the new qualifications is to bring consistency and clarity to home buying consumers: currently only 20 per cent of them choose to commission a condition-based survey when buying homes.

The conference, which takes place on Tuesday at the Building Research Establishment in Watford, will hear from housing market commentator Kate Faulkner, Paul Broadhead of the Building Societies Association and Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director of RICS.


  • Estate Agent
  • Qualifications
  • RPSA
Categories: News feeds

Fall-throughs up as higher offers tempt sellers

11 April 2014 - 1:00am

A bulk house buying and selling firm says 27 per cent of transactions in the wider market are falling through despite the recovery.

Quick Move Now says the fall-through rate - which shows a 60 per cent rise in a year - is mostly because buyers drop earlier offers in favour of more recent higher offers, or have problems in the chains of their own onward purchases

“As buyers are rushing to make purchases before prices increase further, a higher proportion of those sales are falling through” says Donna Houguez, Quick Move Now analyst. 

“Since the property market crash in 2007, although the fall through rate changed, the main reason had remained solid - the inability to secure mortgage finance. Now that’s changed. The majority of sales falling through do so because of issues on the buyers’ side – they either receive a better offer or they experience problems within their own chain” she says.

Quick Move Now sells hundreds of properties each year and its fall through statistics are calculated month-on-month using a six-month average. 


  • Estate Agent
  • Quick Move Now
  • Fall Throughs
Categories: News feeds

More agents seek your Marathon support

11 April 2014 - 1:00am

More estate agents have been in touch with EAT about their bid to raise thousands of pounds for charity in Sunday’s London Marathon.

Amie Unwin, an agent at Sarah Mains Residential in Gosforth is running to raise cash for Get Kids Going, which helps disabled youngsters. “I’ve completed the Great North run on three occasions to raise money for this charity. It’s a really amazing cause and the work they do to enable disabled youngsters to take part in sport is truly inspirational.”

Amie’s donation page is

Jennie Roberts is a negotiators at Force and Sons in Teignmouth, Devon, and aims to run the 26 mile course in a maximum of four and a half hours. She’s running for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and her donation page is

Miranda Pearce, a partner at Cornish agency Clive Pearce Property is running for the same charity and her donation page is

Jason Messingham, the digital marketing manager at Romans, is running for the Children With Cancer charity and is looking forward to finishing in four and a half hours - quite an achievement for a rookie. 

“This is the first marathon I’ve ever run and training is going really well. I’ve clocked up over 440 miles so far. I’ve already hit my target of £1,600 and I’m now challenging myself to raise an extra £1,000,” he says.

What are you waiting for? His donation page is



  • Estate Agent
  • Marathon
  • Sarah Mains Residential
  • Clive Pearce Property
Categories: News feeds



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