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Housing Market Report: How Has The Property Market Fared In Guildford At The Start Of 2016?

Published on: 13 Feb, 2016
Updated on: 13 Feb, 2016

Tony Jamieson, senior partner at Clarke Gammon Wellers, writes about the start of the new Clarke Gammon logo rev 1year, shortage of houses to be sold and house auctions, in his latest in the series of local reports on the Guildford housing market.

We are now a few weeks into the 2016 and market conditions are much the same as they were at the end of 2015. There is still a distinct shortage of housing stock.

Manor Way (£975,000).

Manor Way, Onslow Village, (£975,000). A spacious detached chalet bungalow of some 2,250 sqft set in a third of an acre of grounds and gardens.

Most agents are reporting a fall in the number of properties that are available for sale, as opposed to this time last year.

This is resulting in over-valuations. We are seeing a number of properties on the market for a long time at too high an asking price before seeing the price reduced in order to sell.

Our mortgage brokers are reporting that 70% of their new business is re-mortgage rather than new property purchases. We believe this may be due to the vicious circle of prospective purchasers not wanting to commit to selling their own property before being able to find something to buy.

Looking at what is available to purchase and the cost implication of moving, forces people to consider remaining in their own house and extending instead – hence the re-mortgages.

The top end of the market, namely those properties with a value in excess of £1.5 million to £2 million, are still being affected, in my view, by the changes in stamp duty.

These duties were introduced prior to the last election and mean that property being purchased at £2 million will cost a prospective purchaser £220,000 in stamp duty. This is as well as associated moving costs and solicitors fees. Arguably, this has created a stall in top end property.

Changes in stamp duty introduced in the autumn budget on buy-to-let and second homes have also had an impact. We have seen a number of prospective buyers, particularly those buying new properties, wanting to see the development completed before the change in stamp duty at the beginning of April.

I think we will continue to see this type of buyer insistent upon exchange of contracts to complete the transaction before April 5.

The new homes side of the business is going from strength to strength. Clarke Gammon will be launching at least four new sites in Guildford during 2016, as well as two sites in Liphook and a site in Haslemere. We believe that these sites will attract a good deal of interest.

Quite frankly, the majority of developers are building flats and smaller family houses and cannot build quickly enough before they are sold.

Weycott (£670,000) with only one property remaining.

Weycott in Send (£670,000) with only one property remaining. A select development of six detached four-bedroom homes just a short walk from the heart of the village.

More people are seeming to favour new properties, not only for the ease of maintenance, but also to meet their busy lifestyles. With a new property, they can just move in and enjoy living in the house, as opposed to having to do anything to it.

Clarke Gammon also has a property auction coming up in March. There are a number of exciting lots. It will be interesting to see how many of these are sold prior to auction, as seen previously, and how many achieve sale prices above their price guide.

At the time where property transactions can take so long to complete (sometimes 14 to 16 weeks from offer to exchange of contracts), a sale by auction can speed this process up dramatically. Exchange of contracts takes place the moment the hammer drops, so long as the reserve price is met.

Clarke Gammon Wellers is looking forward to 2016 with anticipation, although we believe the market will be tough. Getting professional and accurate valuation advice is vital and means that properties will sell as opposed to being on the market too long and then having price reduction after price reduction.

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