A look back at 2017 - Property Market and Company Review
11 January 2018
2017 was quite a challenging year for property professionals, dealing with the aftermath of a snap Election in the summer and, of course, the wave of uncertainty ushered in by Brexit discussions.
However, we are fortunate to operate in areas that are so well regarded and that are relatively economically stable and therefore have been slightly less affected by national market trends.
The changes in stamp duty levels introduced in the latter part of 2016 have had a significant effect on reducing activity in the upper end of the market and on buy-to-let investment. The latter has perhaps enabled first time buyers to compete more effectively when buying and the recent 2017 Budget announcement of the removal of Stamp Duty for first time buyers on purchases up to £300,000 and on the first £300,000 of purchases up to £500,000 will assist that section of the market.
However, there were no moves made to assist people choosing to downsize which would have resulted in creating more liquidity in the market.
As a business, we dealt with a very similar number of properties in 2017 and sales were marginally up on 2016, which in a market that has shrunk in terms of transactions we are reasonably content with.
We have managed to agree sales for our clients at an average of 99% of the asking price, resulting in 800 positive customer reviews online and being named Best Estate Agents in both Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire (allAgents.co.uk).
We are also delighted to have at last opened in Stroud and, after relocating our Nailsworth office, we have become very busy in the Stroud Valleys. We are very grateful for the way in which we have been received locally.
In addition, we have invested in digital marketing and tried to maintain a balance between this and traditional methods, supporting local businesses and championing our communities.
Our Land and New Homes Department continues to thrive, providing a comprehensive service for land owners and developers at a local, regional and national level.
Forecasting is always a very difficult task and can come back to haunt you, but most sensible predictions put a modest growth in house price inflation this year of perhaps 1%.
2017 finished with an annual growth across the country of around 1%, although the areas in which we operate enjoyed 4% growth on average.
In 2018 negotiations will continue over Brexit and no doubt will become more detailed, and interest rates are now on an upward trend, albeit any increases are likely to be small and relatively gradual.
We are well-placed for 2018, having continued to invest in staff training and we have, we believe, the best team of agents in the areas in which we operate. Our people are very experienced and work with considerable integrity and in all offices our customer service levels continue to grow even further and are well received.
We are reasonably assured that the market is now led by those looking to downsize or upsize for genuine domestic reasons rather than those driven purely out of necessity.
We have circa 10,000 applicants on our database looking to move and interestingly some two thirds of these are looking to move for lifestyle reasons, perhaps for a smaller garden, lower maintenance costs, or more space for children, and the ever-important local amenities are as relevant as ever.
Here's to a prosperous 2018!