The Local Property Market – July, Aug 2021 Article

Article by Nick Berriman

What a manic market! Just when we think things are about to slow down we have another record-breaking month!

Across the nation estate agents are experiencing huge levels of demand across all price ranges and the number of applicants registering on the mailing list increasing on a daily basis!

But will it continue? The main part of the stamp duty holiday finishes at the end of this month, with the tapered relief finishing at the end of September. Whilst it is impossible to accurately predict what will happen in an increasingly unpredictable market, my belief is that we will see the frantic pace quieten. I see no reason why prices should soften, but I think that the time taken to find a buyer will lengthen slightly, as purchasers are no longer in such a mad panic to find somewhere before the stamp duty holiday ends.

What will happen to the many sales that are in the pipeline but which are unlikely to go through before the stamp duty deadline? There was a fear that many sales would fall through but an interesting research by Rightmove – the leading property website – suggests otherwise. Of those who are expecting to make use of the stamp duty holiday, only 4% of the people questioned in a Rightmove survey said they would abandon their plans completely and stay put if they missed either June’s or September’s deadline. Encouragingly, over half (53%) said they would go ahead as planned and only 13% said they would not go ahead with the current purchase and would try to find a cheaper property.

Certainly, I am sure that conveyancing solicitors everywhere will be hoping that the market returns to a more normal pace as they are hugely pressurized with a staggeringly high workload at the moment. I have every sympathy with them and it is a credit to them that their professionalism remains superb, certainty with all of the solicitors that we have dealt with, and that they are coping admirably well under huge pressure. Our collective thanks go out from Berriman Eaton to every conveyancer that we have dealt with in recent months.

I am delighted to see that our new Worcestershire office is going from strength to strength with some notable instructions and some good sales being agreed. I am, however, still envious of their office at Churchill and Blakedown Golf Club – it is in a truly beautiful setting and a lovely place to meet clients!

Last month I wrote that I was disappointed to discover that estate agents were one of the least trusted professionals in the UK. This month I have been surprised to discover that UK estate agency fees are amongst the lowest in the world. According to a research by Get Agent we share the bottom of the league with Ireland, The Netherlands and South Korea. At the other end of the scale Australia leads the fee table with a typical fee of 5.7% of the sales price. Similar levels are charged in America whilst French and Spanish agents typically charge up to 5%! I am not suggesting that all UK estate agents should necessary increase their commission levels, as I think we are paid well for what we do, but I do think it demonstrates that a good estate agent offers a good value for money when compared to the global norm.

Finally, I would like, once again, to thank all of the team at Berriman Eaton for working so incredibly hard in a frenetic market. We are still running at about twice the normal levels of instructions and sales agreed and it has not been easy. All of our team have risen to the challenge in an unusual environment and they all deserve praise for everything that they have done.