Knight Frank predicts an active year for the West Country property market going in to 2013
PUBLISHED: 12:53 18 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:38 20 February 2013
We can be cheered by what appears to be an 'active' marketplace for buying and selling in 2013
We can be cheered by what appears to be an active marketplace for buying and selling
WORDS BY CHRISTOPHER BAILEY
Knight Frank is certainly starting 2013 in a very positive frame of mind, and we have been busy since 2nd January. Reflecting on the West Country market throughout 2012, we saw a steady, gradual improvement throughout the year, and there is every indication that we will see an active market in 2013.
Overall, 2012 was certainly a better year than 2011; we experienced a strong spring and early summer market with activity tailing off during the summer holidays. This quiet period was compounded by the fantastic distractions of the Golden Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics. Encouragingly, we then had a very active autumn market that continued right up to the Christmas holidays. For those thinking about either buying or selling property in 2013, some cheer should be taken from recent statistics that have measured activity in the West Country market in the weeks leading up to Christmas compared to the same period in late 2011.
The number of active property buyers registered with Knight Frank increased by 3%, viewings increased by 29%, offers on properties were up by 33%, and offered accepted were up by 71%.
Three times as many properties were sold in the run-up to Christmas 2012 as compared to the same period last year.
Knight Franks Exeter office currently has 9 buyers on its books for every property it has marketed for sale. This all bodes well for the months ahead.
Although 73% of Knight Franks Exeter office sales throughout 2012 were priced under 1.5m across all levels in the market, we think it is unlikely that we will experience any significant price increases in the year ahead. However, the best in (all) class properties continue to attract competition, and even bidding scenarios, leading to owners sometimes achieving more than the guide price. However, in order to attract enough potential buyers to create the competitive environment, it is crucial that sellers set their guide prices at a realistic and attractive level. Buyers continue to be ever more discerning; sensible, realistic pricing remains absolutely key to successful sales.
And some further advice to potential sellers. It is vital for the necessary due diligence in preparation for a property being marketed. Assembling all the legal information in advance will enable the selling agent to ask the purchaser to exchange promptly and ensure that once terms have been agreed, the impetus of the sale is maintained right up to the exchange of contracts.Over the last few months we have noticed an increasing number of sales transactions being delayed, and in some circumstances failing to sell, simply because the necessary legal preparations were not in place. These delays can lead to as much as a 10% reduction in the sale price, or to the sale actually falling through. These situations can be easily avoided by simply instructing a conveyancing solicitor at the same time as choosing the most suitable selling agent, and then instructing the solicitor to carry out the necessary due diligence at that early stage.
Another aspect for many potential buyers (and, therefore, sellers in due course) to consider is mortgage availability. The message from the media continues to be that it is difficult to get adequate borrowing to purchase properties. However, borrowing can be relatively cheap at the moment.
Interest rates remain at a historic low and some mortgage lenders will consider potential borrowers on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, potential borrowers should discuss their individual, overall financial situation with a number of money lenders as part of their early preparation for their property search.
Knight Frank has its own independent team of mortgage brokers who have the benefit of having developed a close relationship with a wide number of private and high street banks over many years. Many potential borrowers are surprised by the relatively attractive deals that are available to them which are not widely advertised.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your interest in property so we can give you our impartial, confidential and professional advice, please contact us.
Christopher Bailey is Head of National Waterfront at Knight Frank LLP.
19 Southernhay East, Exeter.
01392 848822 or 07795 238983.