Reeds Rains Property Blog

Property News from Reeds Rains

First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer

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Housing ties with healthcare as the biggest election concern for tenants

  • For tenants, housing and healthcare will be the issues most likely to affect their vote in the 2015 General Election
  • Seven in ten prospective buyers cited the inability to build a deposit as one of the biggest blocks to homeownership
  • December sees 24,800 first-time buyer transactions, 8% lower than a year ago as demand slows

Housing and healthcare are the two biggest concerns for both tenants and first-time buyers in the run-up to the General Election in May, according to the latest First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer from Your Move and Reeds Rains.

For tenants, housing is just as likely as healthcare to affect how they will choose to vote. One in six tenants (16%) revealed that housing was the issue that would be most likely to affect their vote at the General Election, while a further 16% cited healthcare as their primary concern. The jobs market was the third most-quoted option, selected by 11% of tenants, followed by education (6%) and infrastructure/transport (1%).

Housing also proved a primary concern for a large proportion of first-time buyers (17%), although it was not their biggest concern – 23% of first-time buyers reported that healthcare was the issue that would be most likely to affect their vote.

Despite this, the vast majority of prospective first-time buyers (78%) reported that the upcoming General Election has had no influence on their decision to actually buy a home at this point.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, comments: “Of all the troubles facing tenants, the struggle to get onto the housing ladder is their biggest concern – and it is most likely to affect how they may choose to vote in May. We are in the grips of a housing crisis, with our population increasing at a faster rate than we are building new homes. And while wages have experienced a marked uplift over the last few months, the affordable housing conundrum is far from solved. Even economic heavyweight Mark Carney has complained that housebuilding is too low.

“In order to put a dent in this housing crisis we need to make some tangible changes in how we control construction. We should ease planning regulations to get rid of the layers of bureaucracy slowing the process, and we need to make it easier to regenerate brownfield sites. On top of that, we should support smaller construction firms hampered by the credit crunch, and encourage skilled construction workers to stay in the field. This is about making it quicker and easier to build, and making sure we have all the resources at the ready."

More details about the First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer can be found here

6 Top Tips to Selling

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First, remember first impressions do count

Presentation of your home both inside and out can make all the difference. Add a fresh coat of paint. Tidy the front garden and clean your front door. The inside of your house should be as clutter-free as possible. The kitchen is a key selling room, so make sure it's tidy. Check all the light bulbs are working and fix squeaky doors. List all the non-obvious things that make the property attractive, like a particularly sunny spot in the garden, friendly neighbours, good local shops. It's small things like these can really help create the best impression.

Second, access matters

It's important that we can let people view your property at a time that's convenient for them. Give us a set of keys so we can organise accompanied viewings, leaving you free to get on with other commitments. Rest assured, we will sell the best features of your house on your behalf - it's in our interests as much as yours.

Third, be patient.

Don't worry if the first few positive viewings don't lead to a sale. It doesn't mean there is anything wrong with your home or the way it is presented. However, do be open to any feedback from viewings and be prepared to listen to ideas to make your property more appealing.

Fourth, be open-minded

You don't have to accept the first offer and it is worth discussing with us whether we think more could be achieved by waiting. On the other hand, do think about what criteria might prompt you to consider offers below your asking price, such as cash buyers or chain-free buyers; a swift sale may save you money in the long run.

Fifth, be prepared to negotiate

For example, if you are trading up and your house is perfect for first-time buyers, be aware of how you can help them. Offer to leave some furniture or soft furnishings like curtains. Also, a survey may reveal repairs that are needed which could affect the price a buyer is willing to pay. If you are concerned about such potential issues, we can help arrange an independent survey, through our sister company E.Surv, for your peace of mind.

And finally, be prepared to actually move!

The excitement of accepting an offer is the start of the process of transferring the property from your ownership to your buyer. This takes several weeks. Our top tip for this stage is to be prepared. Make sure you have legal representation (we can organise this), so that you can move to the stage of exchanging contracts and setting a completion date, so you are ready to go.

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Buy-to-let index December 2013

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Rents rise 3% over course of 2014 

  • Annual rent rises of 3.0% over twelve months to December defy slowdown in general rate of inflation 
  • Rents fall between November and December, down 0.1% month-on-month across England and Wales 
  • East of England, Yorkshire & Humber, East Midlands and London see no seasonal fall and new records 
  • Tenants feel the festive squeeze – with 8.9% of rent in arrears, the highest since previous December 
  • Landlord total returns drop to 11.1% over twelve months to December, on back of cooling property prices

Rents have risen by 3.0% over the course of 2014, despite falling on a monthly basis between November and December, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from Your Move and Reeds Rains.

The average residential rent across England and Wales now stands at £767. This compares to £745 in December 2013.

Strong annual growth comes despite falls on a monthly basis, with average rents 0.1% lower than seen in November 2014.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, comments: “There appears to be a new fire in the rental market as we enter 2015. Demand for homes to let is hotter than we would normally expect at this time of year.

“Recent months have shown a divergence from usual seasonal norms. Historically, there is a tendency for rents to ease in the winter, particularly December. With fewer tenants willing to relocate in the festive period, landlords usually compete to fill empty properties and agreed rents tend to dip as a result. Last month that happened – and rents fell compared to November – but by much less than the usual extent.

“In particular a jobs boom across the eastern regions of England has seen a larger than usual number of people relocating in the winter months. This has pushed up rental prices in these regions even further.”

Read full details of the Buy-to-let index here

Tenant Arrears Tracker January

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Tenant finances see short-term setback

  • In Q4 2014 there were 7.2% more tenants severely behind on rental payments compared to Q4 2013 – the first annual rise since 2012 
  • Despite setback, 48,500 fewer tenants face severe rent arrears compared to worst of 2012 record peak 
  • Evictions fall in the face of recent rent arrears, with latest evictions orders down 6% on a quarterly basis 
  • Landlords pay off buy-to-let mortgage arrears to the healthiest levels seen since the start of 2008  

Tenants have felt a financial setback, with the number falling into serious rental arrears rising on an annual basis for the first time since 2012, according to the latest Tenant Arrears Tracker by estate agency chains Your Move and Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services PLC.

In Q4 2014 there were 68,100 tenants in severe rent arrears of more than two months. This represents an increase of 4,600 such tenancies compared to the same quarter one year ago, or a 7.2% annual increase. On a quarterly basis the setback is less severe, with 1,700 more cases of severe arrears in Q4 2014 than in Q3, or a quarterly increase of 2.6%.

Despite this recent deterioration, the longer term trend for tenant arrears remains positive, as improvements seen in 2013 and at the start of 2014 remain overwhelmingly large in comparison. As a result, since reaching a peak of 116,600 tenancies in Q3 2012 the number in severe arrears has dropped by 48,500 as of Q4 2014, an improvement of 42%.

In terms of the proportion of all tenants now in severe arrears, there was no significant setback in the last quarter. As a percentage of all tenants, 1.4% owed rent arrears of more than two months in Q4 2014, the same as in Q3 2014 and in Q4 2013. This leaves a remaining 98.6% of tenants who have consistently avoided serious rental arrears.

A slight deterioration in the most serious rental arrears is consistent with figures for overall levels of late rent including shorter lapses on payments. According to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from Your Move and Reeds Rains, overall tenant arrears of any duration stand at 7.5% as of November, up from 6.6% of rent late in November 2013. However, as with severe arrears, even after November’s slight deterioration, rent arrears remain considerably lower than in previous years, since peaking at 14.6% in February 2010.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, comments: “Escaping the worst deprivations of the financial crisis has taken half a decade. And even now, for so many households every month is still a difficult month.

“Stretching to include even a little festivity often makes December particularly hard. But just as the occasional setback is inevitable, the long-term trend is increasingly clear. Since the sharpest pinnacle of tenant difficulties in 2010 the number in serious rent arrears has practically halved.

“As rising wages start to combine with much lower levels of unemployment, the fundamentals of the economy have started to turn in favour of tenants. If that can continue, then so can the trend away from arrears, as renting becomes more affordable.”

Read the full Tenant Arrears Tracker here

 

Five years on, Reeds Rains Whistable continue to grow from strength to strength

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  Its party time at the Whistable branch 

There are celebrations at estate agents Reeds Rains as the local team celebrate their fifth anniversary in Whistable and, at the same time, reflect on the success and development of the agency over that period.

To mark this anniversary, glasses of champagne and keepsake key rings were handed out at Reeds Rains as it opened its doors to past and present customers to mark the special day.

Since the launch of its Whistable office in January 2010, Reeds Rains has continued to grow from strength to strength and remains resilient and strong within the property market. 

Customers past and present are welcomed to the party

Lavinia and Malcolm Trueman, franchise owners of Reeds Rains in Whitstable commented:  “We’ve had a Reeds Rains office for five years and we’ve been able to help hundreds of customers during that time in selling, buying and renting houses.

We strongly believe that the way we have responded to the market has influenced our on-going success – we’ve had to think proactively, respond to situations quickly and remain positive at all times – it’s clearly helped us and, of course, our customers who, as a result, remain loyal to us.

 

 Customers enjoying the newly refurbished office

Reeds Rains has been established since 1868 and in that time, it has grown to become one of the UK’s largest estate agencies, with an expanding network of branches covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We’ve never lost sight of the need for local expertise or moved away from our principles that building great relationships, being genuinely interested in our customers and getting the job done is the way to achieve success. And it’s this that we think puts us in the perfect place to respond to the local market activity.

The size of Reeds Rains has also meant they have been able to invest heavily in developing a range of award winning products and services. Only recently Reeds Rains has been successful at the Estate Agency of the Year awards 2014 where it won the Silver award for Best Estate Agency National and the Bronze award for their Financial Services.

Reeds Rains Whistable

From the feedback we’ve received we have exceeded many of our client’s expectations over the last five years and would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for the custom and support they have given us. We always endeavour to ‘go the extra mile’ for our customers and we believe that this is one of the core reasons for our success. We now hope that we can build on our success and our growing reputation for quality service during 2015 and beyond.”

For more information about Reeds Rains in Whistable– simply contact the local team at Reeds Rains Whitstable, 98 High Street, Whitstable, CT5 1AZ or telephone them on 01227 770717(*)

 

Reeds Rains Whistable

(*)Calls maybe recorded for training and/or monitoring purposes.

 

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