Now that wasn’t Expected!

Unexpected-property-activity

The first week of Estate Agents being allowed to conduct house viewings has been a real eye opener, with the level of buyer activity much higher than anticipated which hopefully bodes well for a quick bounce back in the house market.

No doubt there will be some readers who will think, well you would say that wouldn’t you, in the hope of pepping up the market, but I can counter any such thought with some hard facts and examples, so here are a few case notes from the first week back.

New House Eversley – Under offer in three days

This fine new home by Aspire was placed on the open market on Monday 18th May at a guide £1,125,000.

By Thursday 20th May a sale was agreed to a proceedable purchaser.

Country House Eversley – Emerging Buyer Interest around £2.0m. guide

We took this property to the market a few weeks before lockdown, so viewings went on hold during the lockdown period.

Yesterday we had multiple viewings at the house and two offers have already been submitted. This home is typical of the kind of property that will be sought after in the emerging market of house buyers leaving London and other major towns and cities for rural living.

Do you have a country house for sale? We have a waiting list of buyers looking right now.

Right now the short to medium term outlook is positive and the biggest demand is for rural / semi-rural properties in all price ranges, but especially in the £1.5m. to £6.0m. sector.

So if you live in a country house and are looking to sell, this summer could be the best time to go to market. If you would like a free and confidential market appraisal contact your nearest McCarthy Holden branch.

Fleet – On £750,000 guide

With marketing help by way of a vendor inspired video tour during lockdown, this stunning detached house has gone under offer.

Blue Triangle, Fleet – Exchanged on guide £1.5m.

In just over one acre in one of the most desirable roads in Fleet, this imposing property was built by the renowned local builder Pool & Son in the 1930’s.

Fitzroy-Road-sold-fleet McCarthy Holden estate agents

As we said in last week’s market update, the prospect of house sales in the short to medium term is relatively easy to judge, because we are working with house buyers and sellers alike every day, so their motivations and the drivers of the market conditions are there for us to interpret.

House Viewing Protocols Working Well

The new way of conducting house viewings is going well, with strict social distancing protocols and excellent co-operation from vendors and purchasers alike.

Some of the social distancing protocols include the following.

• Only one viewer can be present at a time, no children will be allowed in a property (this is because avoiding the touching of surfaces is difficult with young children).
• The owner/tenant will leave property for the viewing.
• We will supply the viewer with disposable gloves and mask, subject to our supply allowing for this.
• The viewers will be allowed to walk around and asked not to touch anything.
• In order to maintain social distancing, the agent will not be able to enter every room with the viewer.
• When the viewing is completed, the agent will lock up the property and leave, then dispose of gloves and use hand sanitiser.

The House Market / Buyer Attitudes

We are impressed with the resilience of house buyers, who continue to remain upbeat about their moving plans. Furthermore, 95% of the sales arranged we had in place at the start of lockdown, continue to remain in place and in the past week many of those have moved forward to exchange and simultaneous completions..

Emerging Markets

In the last week there has been increasing signs of the biggest emerging market being driven by people wanting to leave London and other large cities or towns, to find a new home in a rural or village setting, yet remain within reasonable distance of London etc. That is a positive for the home owners we act for on the Hampshire / Surrey / Berkshire borders, especially those who live in property worth between £1.5m. and £6.0m. in our area of operation.

If you are selling a rural property, contact your nearest McCarthy Holden branch for a free and confidential property appraisal.

EMERGING MARKET PHOTO

The Weeks Ahead

Simply making hay whilst the sun shines!

 

John Holden – Chairman

House Market Update During Lockdown

cove week 5 icon

Relentless and here for a while

The bleak headlines about the impact of Covid-19 continue and of course our hearts are saddened by the relentless loss of life for frontline NHS staff and Covid-19 affected patients alike.

Any thoughts about how and when an early release from lockdown might occur, must of course be balanced with the high probability of new after waves of coronavirus cases occurring post lockdown, with perhaps the inevitable mini lockdowns being put in place from time to time. There are valuable lessons to be considered from past pandemics especially about the exit stages.

We can be certain that our exit from the current lockdown, will not mean a return to normal in many aspects of day to day life. It is likely we will continue with social distancing and simple matters like viewing property, will be conducted in a similar manner to that which occurred just before the lockdown started.

The House Market

As I mentioned in our last update, writing a few lines about the property market right now doesn’t seem that important in the current circumstances, but house sellers, landlords, buyers and tenants continue to seek insight, because the prospect of needing to move house is still a journey they will embark on post lockdown.

Buyer Attitudes

I remain impressed with the resilience of house buyers, who continue to remain upbeat about their moving plans. This positive attitude is supported by the fact the 95% of the sales arranged we had in place at the start of lockdown, continue to remain in place with vendors and purchasers keeping focused on the opportunity to exchange and complete some time soon.

Other mini indicators of buyer intent are told to me by staff, such as Matthew Fenn from our Fleet branch who has 27 buyers who want to view specific properties as soon as lockdown is over.

Contracts Are Exchanging

Some house sales are progressing to the exchange and completion stages during lockdown, mostly by exchanging and completing on the same day.

Two examples of this in the last week include a £400,000 guided house in Fleet (top image below) and stunning country house conversion in Winchfield at a guided sum of £1.250m. (video below). These special cases where exchange and completion can happen are frequently new house purchases where there are no chains.

VIVIAN EXCHANGED

Exchanged and completed last week

Play Video

Exchanged and completed last week

Working From Home

Creating new sales is virtually impossible due to viewing restrictions, but our negotiation staff are keeping closely in touch with buyers on our books, by phone, email, newsletter and even video presentations. This means that post lockdown we are already creating a list of buyers who want to view specific properties as soon a we are release from lockdown.

More Vendor Inspired Video House Marketing This Week

Many clients continue to ask if we could produce video content of their property if they sent us video clips and still photographs, this enabling them to go on the open market now.

Some of the latest collaborative results are below.

Preview – due to the market soon at Est. Guide £1,675,000

New to the market – Guide £850,000

This works by vendors sending us the video clips and then with some editing help from johnjoe.co.uk a promotional video tour is created.

We look forward to many of these collaborative home grown marketing initiatives in the weeks ahead.

The Week Ahead

In the week ahead we will be giving special focus to our new homes selection of properties for sale, because as we emerge from lockdown we believe the attraction of owning a new home will be higher than usual.

Right now we have 13 new homes development sites available for sale, showcasing a most diverse range of interesting properties for 2020, in amazing locations from rural Eversley in Hampshire, to Virginia Water in Surrey.

The developers we are representing in 2020 are as diverse in size and their personal history as you can imagine, but they all share the same passion for creating beautiful homes and leaving a legacy to their brand and reputation.

Click some of the links below to preview some of the new homes available.

We will provide another market update in a week or so, and you are of course welcome to subscribe free to our newsletter (just click the link near the bottom of our home page).

In the week ahead we will no doubt continue to think, reflect and pray about key workers and NHS people and the risks they face each day at these times. 

John Holden – Chairman and Managing Director

Property Market Insight During Lockdown

market comment image mccarthy holden estate agents hampshire

We have all witnessed another harrowing week of bleak headlines about the impact of Covid-19, and I was especially moved by the distressing news of the loss of life for some frontline NHS staff.

In many ways to write a few lines about the property market right now doesn’t seem that important in the current circumstances, but I know that house sellers, landlords, buyers and tenants are seeking insight, because the prospect of needing to move house is still a journey they will embark on post lockdown.

Market Insight and Working From Home

The transition to home working has been a relatively smooth operation. This was made all the more easy with the use of technology such as Zoom, and the ability of suppliers such as johnjoe.co.uk being able to create video and online brochures for marketing our clients properties.

We are also able to devote time to upgrading the McCarthy Holden web site, with the services of Servon Design who will be designing bespoke new homes pages on our site as well as improving the overall look of how our clients properties are showcased. We hope to have the new homes pages up and running by the end of this month, and be able to show off the amazing range of new homes we have on offer in many locations such as Virginia Water in Surrey through to Upton Grey in Hampshire.

home working image

Our negotiation staff are keeping closely in touch with buyers on our books, by phone, email, newsletter and even video presentations. This means that post lockdown we are already creating a list of buyers who want to view specific properties as soon as we are released from lockdown.

Our property management services continues with remote home workers, resulting in landlords being paid promptly as normal. Regular inspections have however been put on hold. As with house sales, the creation of new tenancies is very much on hold due to lockdown.

Are Contracts Exchanging On House Sales?

Many solicitors are now working successfully from home, and the intent appears to be that the parties proceed to exchange and agree a late completion date. Most existing sales are managing along these lines and we are expecting a few more existing sales at the under offer stage to proceed to exchange this week.

Vendor Inspired Video Gains Momentum

As we mentioned last week, the biggest surprise during lockdown was in the form of many clients asking if we could produce video content of their property if they sent us video clips and still photographs.

This is working out very well and below is a selection of the latest collaborative results.

video tour from mccarthy holden estate agents hampshire
Click image to view the video tour
video tour from mccarthy holden estate agents hampshire
Click image to view the video tour
video tour from mccarthy holden estate agents hampshire

How This Works

Vendors send us the video clips, and then with some editing help from johnjoe.co.uk a promotional video tour is created.

We are now issuing guidelines to our video focused vendors, which includes the specification of 1920 x 1080 size, landscape video preferred and MP4 output.

The ideal duration for a full property video tour online is 4 minutes. This means the file size is suitable for quick streaming online and also, it is at the maximum time a potential buyer is likely to watch a video.

We look forward to many of these collaborative home grown marketing initiatives in the weeks ahead.

The Week Ahead

As we enter a time of reflection in Holy Week, I have no doubt many in the country will stop to think deeper about the NHS workers and other key workers who keep society on track. Some will think and reflect and some will pray about these people and the risks they face each day at these times. There is no doubt they are very much in our minds and hearts as we all face into another week when the Covid-19 pressures are due to escalate.

The week ahead is also a good time to reflect on the work of political leaders such as Health Secretary Matt Hancock. I hope a positive from these events will be to hold such people in respect for the good they do, and that we don’t return to the corrosive politics and media coverage of the recent past.

We will provide another market update in a week or so, and you are of course welcome to subscribe free to our newsletter (just click the link near the bottom of our home page).

John Holden – Chairman and Managing Director

House Market Comment During Covid-19 Lockdown

covid-new-heading-item-news-page

Insight from last week

A week on from Covid-19 lockdown, and we are starting to get used to living and working in a very different way with some success, a lot of challenges and the unexpected.

We temporarily closed our branches last Monday evening as part of the lockdown process going on throughout the U.K. Right up to that day the market was fairly busy with last minute viewings, during which we conducted the systems of safe distance, latex gloves etc. which we had introduces weeks prior to the lockdown.

In the last week there were many practical issues, such as the six house sales completions on the day the Government suggested house moves be deferred. All six went ahead, because it was just too late to stand down and three of the transactions were in fact to empty properties. On the lettings front, we had different challenges such as it being virtually impossible to get independent inventory inspectors to attend tenancy check in and check out. Many tenants are now opting to extend their existing leases.

House Move Timing

Only three existing house sales fell through, and in each case there was an elderly persons on either the vendor or purchaser side. In such circumstances it wasn’t surprising and bearing in mind the hundreds of house sales we handle at any given time, the loss of three was minimal in context.

In fact, in the vast majority of house sale cases both parties are simply proceeding to exchange and agreeing a late completion date, which in some cases is capable of being brought forward by the parties agreeing a 28 days notice. So, most existing sales are managing along these lines.

McCarthy Holden estate agents sold board

What about creating new house sales?

Creating new house sale is not so easy, with the ability to do in-person viewings now removed. What is happening instead is that buyers are continuing to show keen interest, and simply asking to be place on a viewing list for when the in-person viewings are capable of being undertaken again.

Inventive solutions by our vendors

The biggest surprise this week, was in the form of many clients asking if we could produce video content of their property if they sent us video clips and still photographs.

McCarthy Holden is well known for using video to showcase properties for sale, so our wonderful customers decide to put their spin on this endeavour and suggested a collaborative approach.

Vendors send us the video clips. and then with some editing help from johnjoe.co.uk a promotional video tour is created.

Check out this first creation below from one of our wonderful clients in Fleet, Hampshire who is selling this house which is guided at £750,000.

Now this first collaborative video is a little too long, but the home owner is such an engaging person and so at ease with talking to camera we have run with most of her content.

We are now issuing guidelines to our video focused vendors, which includes the specification of 1920 x 1080 size and MP4 output. The ideal duration for a full property video tour online is 4 minutes. This means the file size is suitable for quick streaming online and also, it is at the maximum time a potential buyer is likely to watch a video.

We also supply links to a some recent videos produced by johnjoe.co.uk which might help vendors plan for capturing some content at home.

Teaser short video – https://vimeo.com/392560182
Normal full length – https://vimeo.com/390207931
Normal full length (just agreed a sale last week 1,300 views of video) – https://vimeo.com/356168136

We look forward to many of these collaborative home grown marketing initiatives in the weeks ahead.

We will keep our customers in touch with market conditions and news through our newsletter, which is free to subscribe to.

We wish you a safe week ahead.

John Holden

Chairman and Managing Director – McCarthy Holden

7 Ways to Add Value to your Home

add value to home

From ambitious building projects to timely tidying up, Luke Rix-Standing looks at how to boost the value of your property.

add value to home

Keen to add value to your home? Whether you’ve just moved into a decrepit bedsit, or have lived in a mansion for years of domestic bliss, there is still plenty of mileage to adding value to your property.

Doing so could help improve your own quality of life while you’re still in the property (if buyers find something appealing, odds are you might too), and keep you well placed on the property ladder, regardless of whether you’re currently looking to sell.

From five-year plans to on-the-day dust-ups, here’s seven ways to add value to your home…

add value to home

1. Loft conversion

Perhaps the gold standard of home improvements, loft conversions are not for the faint of heart, but can come with major domestic and financial rewards if done well. Adding square footage is a guaranteed value-boost, while the market fixation with number of bedrooms means that adding one can practically ensure a hefty payday when it comes to selling.

“The average loft conversion costs around £40,000,” says Chris Smith, regional director at estate agents Yopa, “but can increase your property value by an estimated 21%. They’re usually more of a long-term strategy, so you might not see all the money back if you sell immediately.”

Loft conversions are not cheap – and not suitable for every property of course – but they often perfectly prove that old adage, that you have to spend money to make money.

add value to home

2. Brush up on kerb appeal

First impressions matter, and putting your best foot forward is key to getting customers through the door. “We estimate that simply by improving your property’s ‘kerb appeal’, with a freshly painted exterior, clean windows, a tidy driveway and a new front door, can boost the value of a property by up to 10%,” says Smith. “The outside of your property is the first thing potential buyers will see, both when browsing online and in person at a viewing.”

On modern properties, buyers may probably expect double glazing – a savvy way to save on your energy bill in the meantime – along with up-to-date security and draught-proofing.

add value to home

3. Go for open-plan living

Open-plan living has been in vogue for some years now, and it’s clearly not going anywhere anytime soon. Most modern house-hunters are looking for spaces that are practical and adaptable, and it seems distinctly old-fashioned to cook your food in one room and then have to transport it to another to eat it.

Open-plan living spaces don’t have to be giant, or rectangular – you’re looking to create areas that are connected but distinct. Consider sliding doors or curtains that can pull back during the day, waist or shoulder-high partitions, or doorway-like arches that demarcate your space.

These are the golden rules of open-plan living: separation without isolation; continuity without uniformity.

add value to home

4. Refurbish the kitchen

A recent report by Norton Finance mapped out the most expensive home improvements performed by homeowners in their first year in a new property, and kitchen renovation ranked second only to furniture.

The centrepiece to so many homes, it’s no surprise that the kitchen commands so much attention both before and after a sale, and a well-designed room can easily pull in extra thousands.

“If your budget can only stretch to renovating one room, that room should be the kitchen,” says Smith. “You can cut costs by painting cupboard doors yourself and adding new, fashionable handles.”

add value to home

5. Add a conservatory

The stars have to align somewhat for conservatories to be sensible investments, but if the cap fits, they can enhance a property with ease. Aside from the necessary financial clout, homeowners will need to ensure proper planning permission, while those with smaller gardens might want to think twice before sacrificing valuable yard space.

Though often associated with summer, conservatories really earn their keep during the winter months, when they provide a portal to the outside world, free from the cold, damp and dark.

“The addition of a traditional British conservatory typically costs around £5,000,” says Smith, “and can increase the value of a property by around 10% when done well. To add real value, make sure your conservatory is fully glazed and blends in with the style of the rest of the property.”

add value to home

6. Redecorate

Consider any second-hand shop – regardless of what it sells – and consider the price difference between products marked ‘used’, and products marked ‘like new’. This one’s a no-brainer, and just a fresh lick of paint can make pokey rooms immediately more marketable.

Your house isn’t new – but it’s new to your potential buyers, and you’ll be doing your bank balance a favour if you can make it look that way from the moment they cross the threshold.

add value to home

7. Add an extra bathroom

As with bedrooms, the number of bathrooms appears like a ranking next to your property, and it’s a crucial integer in the valuation equation. Broom closet, pantry, cupboard under the stairs – a small downstairs loo doesn’t take much, and it can be a delightfully canny way to carve profit out of otherwise wasted space.

“You can add up to 5% value to your property by adding a second bathroom,” says Smith. “An average bathroom costs £4,500, and according to NAEA Propertymark, 70% of estate agents say an additional loo helps to sell a house.”

Property Lifestyle and Boxing Day Event

Boxing Day property event McCarthy Holden estate agents

Find out about the next big property event on Boxing Day, an take a look at our Pre-Christmas edition of the magazine In The Country & Town, which sets out to showcase some of the most exquisite homes, as well as deliver engaging editorial content and of course comment on the house market.

In addition to some amazing properties, our editorial features includes Cocktails at Downton, Go Anywhere with Land Rover and the new film release The Aeronauts.

Just click on the image below to open a new tab and view the magazine page by page and indulge in some wonderful online reading.

Click the above image to view the full magazine

There are some fabulous properties being showcased in this magazine, in areas such as The Ridges Finchampstead and the Wentworth Estate in Virginia Water

Also of note is a £1.315m. guided Georgian Farmhouse and a £660,000 guided elegant town house in Winchfield, Hampshire.

Our new homes feature runs from page 32 to page 48, and is full of amazing new homes from diverse and individual developers, with prices from around £450,000 to £1.850m.

It’s been nearly five years since The Theory Of Everything co-stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones appeared on screen together – and now they’re teaming up once again for biographical adventure, The Aeronauts.

The epic – directed by Tom Harper and co-written by Harper and Jack Thorne – tells the tale of two high-flying balloonists, pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher and daredevil pilot Amelia Wren, united in a record-breaking voyage in Victorian England. And nothing says ‘reunion’ quite like filming 70% of your scenes in a confined basket, reveals the British duo.

The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book celebrates this sumptuous costume drama and golden age of mixed drinks.

As fans of Downton will know, the Crawleys’ love of cocktails is well storied. But it wasn’t until season two and three – when Robert asks his mother, Violet: “Can I tempt you to one of these new cocktails?” – that the family adopts the 1920s American customs of an aperitif before dinner, and hosting cocktail parties at home. Now, the Downton Abbey Cocktail Book means viewers can recreate these tipples at their own soirees.

Embracing the adventurous spirit that has defined the Discovery family for the past 30 years, the new Discovery Sport is a striking evolution of the original that does not compromise capability……. new electrified engines include a 48-volt mild hybrid from launch to help reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

If you are planning a house sale or let and would like your property showcased in the New Year edition of In The Country & Town, contact your nearest McCarthy Holden branch and ask for details.

The Next Big Property Event - Boxing Day

Boxing Day property event McCarthy Holden estate agents

Boxing Day – The Perfect Time To Put a House Up For Sale!

According to Rightmove there is a massive spike in online buyer search traffic, between Boxing Day and early January, suggesting an uplift in house buyer searches online on Boxing Day. This is why McCarthy Holden are offering a special incentive to join the next big event in property, the Boxing Day Go Event.

During November and December all a would-be house seller has to do is instruct McCarthy Holden to offer their property for sale from Boxing Day.

You can indulge in all of the traditional Boxing Day activities, happy in the knowledge that house buyers are tapping on mobile devices searching for the right property and, who knows, your house could be top of their list for viewing in the New Year.

Many of our clients have already asked to go live on the Boxing Day Go property launch, so if you are contemplating a house move in 2020 then go to our home page and click on valuation, for a free property appraisal and discover the benefits of being part of the no sale no fee and no obligation Boxing Day Go property event.

Saturday Job Opportunity In Estate Agency

Hartley Wintney Cricket Green McCarthy Holden estate agents

Working in your local community is such a rewarding job, and Saturday work at McCarthy Holden results in a part time job that provides a great mix of meeting customers in the branch and viewings at properties, so the day is varied.

We have several part time positions at both our Hartley Wintney and Odiham branches, so if you are looking for a part time Saturday cover career as a property negotiator in 2020 then please get in touch.

At McCarthy Holden we care for obtaining the best possible price for our vendors by applying negotiating skills as opposed to relying on algorithms and online property portals, so excellent communication skills are essential.

Every day will be varied and different, but one thing that will not change is our desire to deliver our services with traditional values of trust, honesty and respect for our customers and colleagues. These values are very important, so only candidates that who can truly deliver on these essential traits should apply.

Hours are 9am to 6.00pm Saturdays.

email sholden@mccarthyholden.co.uk with your cv to apply.

Hartley Wintney hight street mccarthy holden estate agents
Saturday Job vacancy Hartley Wintney - photo by johnjoe.co.uk copyright
Odiham hight street mccarthy holden estate agents
Saturday Job vacancy Odiham - photo by johnjoe.co.uk copyright

Preview New Homes For Sale Near Odiham

castlebrook-new homes-mccarthy-holden-estate-agents-plots-5-to-7
castlebrook-new homes-mccarthy-holden-estate-agents-plots-5-to-7

The T A Fisher new homes in North Warnborough will be previewed for the first time on Saturday 5th October, so if you are in the market for a new home around £500,000 then take a look at the quality build available at their Castlebrook site.

castlebrook-new homes-mccarthy-holden-estate-agents-plots-5-to-7

We have been impressed with many aspects of the T A Fisher new homes, and we were most impressed with the architectural detail of the terraced properties plots 5, 6 and 7. Some of the eye catching features are shown above – 1. Distinctive plinth brick course. 2. The soldier course brick detail to window surround 3. The elegant front doors 4. The substantial porch 4. The wealth of attractive tile hanging to the front and side elevations.

Such attention to detail and styling is to be applauded.

The video clip below was taken a couple of days ago  at plot 5, and even though the house is still in the construction stage you can really appreciate the space and generous rear garden.

The above video clip showcases the vast master bedroom at plot 5, which features an en-suite dressing and shower. In addition the views over the rear gardens at plots 5 to 7 are noteworthy.

castlebrook-new homes-mccarthy-holden-estate-agents-plots-5-to-7

There are only 11 homes being built at Castlebrook, and to arrange to see the show house at the preview event on 5th October, please telephone 01256 704851.

castlebrook-new homes-mccarthy-holden-estate-agents-plots-5-to-7

Confused about Retirement Savings? 7 Popular Pension Myths Busted!

With the next phase of automatic enrolment starting from April, Alistair McQueen from Aviva separates facts from fiction.

The minimum amounts that can be put into workplace pensions will be stepped up from April, as UK savers are encouraged to put aside more for their retirement.

Under automatic enrolment rules, from April 6, the minimum that can be put in by employers and their staff will increase from 5% of qualifying earnings to 8%. Within the new 8% rate, at least 3% must be paid by the employer, with the remaining 5% made up by staff.

Automatic enrolment started in autumn 2012, amid concerns people were living for longer but not saving enough for their later years. “Automatic enrolment is approaching its seventh birthday. In its short life, it has already brought a quiet revolution to pensions in the UK,” says Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva.

Pensions are not always easy to understand, though, and there’s still a lot of confusion around them for lots of people. Do you feel unsure of the facts? Here, McQueen busts seven pensions myths…

busting pension myths

Myth 1: No one is saving into a pension

Automatic enrolment has introduced more than 10 million new savers to workplace pensions since 2012. There are now a total of 22 million people participating in workplace pensions in the UK.

Myth 2: Pensions are for old people

Contrary to popular perception, it is the under-30s who are leading the way. All ages have seen an increase in workplace pension participation since 2012, but the under-30s have seen the biggest increase – more than doubling from 35% saving to over 79% by 2018.

busting pension myths

Myth 3: The government will pay for all my retirement

It’s true that we can expect some money in retirement from the state, but this is currently up to a maximum of about £8,500 every year. Today, the majority of the typical retirees’ income in retirement is from sources beyond the state, such as private pensions and other savings.

Myth 4: I will receive my state pension from age 60 if I’m a woman, or 65 if I’m a man

These commonly referred to and long-standing ages were set decades ago, when we could generally expect a few short years in retirement. Since then, average life expectancy has greatly increased, and the age at which we are eligible for our state pension has been increasing, with women starting to qualify for their state pension at the same age as men.

The state pension age is set to keep rising too. The yourpension.gov.uk website can help you check your state pension age.

busting pension myths

Myth 5: I can’t retire until I reach my state pension age

We are free to retire whenever we want to. However, we can only really think about retiring when we feel we have saved enough money to meet our needs when we’re not working. New rules allow people to access private pensions from age 55 – but the state pension age is set by government.

As individuals, we have the freedom to choose our retirement age, but this brings with it a responsibility to ensure we can fund our lifestyle from that point onward. There are many free online resources to help make this decision – such as Aviva’s ‘My retirement planner’ (aviva.co.uk/retirement/tools/my-retirement-planner).

Myth 6: I’m the only one who is confused by pensions

Research suggests only a minority of us feel we really understand pensions. So, if you’re feeling a bit uncertain, you’re not alone. The great news is that more of us are saving for our future. And if you’re looking for a little nudge in the right direction, Aviva suggests three general rules of thumb that could help you be better prepared:

1. Save at least 12.5% of earnings towards your retirement. This can include money from your employer and the taxman.

2. If possible, start saving at least 40 years before your target retirement age.

3. Try to have built up at least 10 times your salary in your pension by the time you retire.

busting pension myths

Myth 7: Retirement is further away than ever

There’s still a collapse in workplace participation as we progress through our 50s. This represents a huge waste of talent, experience and potential. One of the strongest levers we can pull to help fund our lives in retirement is to work longer. Many employers are taking fresh steps to support a fuller working life, with the aim of ensuring that age is no barrier to opportunity.

House Buyers Ignore Brexit in January

house buyers ignore brexit image

With the first month of 2019 trading behind us, it appears that despite the chaos in the Palace of Westminster around Brexit, house buyers are simply getting on with making decisions around matters of day to day life, which are the drivers for a house move.

All of the McCarthy Holden branches experienced an uptake of buyer interest in January and the McCarthy Holden web site enquiry hits were up on the January 2018.

Whilst it is too early to comment on the market direction for 2019, it nevertheless appears that house buying decisions are mostly made by very localised factors such as schooling, access to work and general employment levels and family situations ranging from the three D’s (death, divorce and debt) through to the three N’s (new job, new baby, new beginnings).

high levels of house sales image

Amongst the Estate Agents in Fleet, our own branch had a particularly productive January with, witnessed by events such as £3.4m. worth of residential property sales exchanging contracts in just one 24 hour period.

As we said in our 2018 / 2019 market review, who knows, there might well be some pleasing outcomes to report at the end of 2019.

So, if you are considering a move this year, now is a great time to get ahead of the competition by calling one of our property experts for a free, no obligation, advice on how is best to market your home.

Latest Property Event Kick Starts 2019

Whilst it is undoubtedly too early to comment on the market for 2019, at McCarthy Holden we felt it was worth letting you know that the usual seasonal spike in online activity in the run up to New year followed that of previous years.

Based at our Fleet Estate Agents branch, Associate Director Ben Murphy witnessed the success of our Boxing Day Live, with 18 new properties entering the market for sale and a further 9 properties all reduced in price.

According to data from Rightmove.co.uk, 25,147,701 properties were viewed on Boxing Day alone with activity still strong leading up to New Years Day.

“During the Christmas / New Year period we opened our doors for trading and secured 18 viewings, 5 valuations and two instructions.

Off-street activity was also high with new buyers registering looking for property. Not a bad result in 12 hours work” Comments Ben Murphy.

“Opening our door again yesterday saw activity at a good level, with this weekend filling up with viewings on a wide range of property. “

“Clients tend to think marketing before Spring is wrong but there are some fantastic advantages to marketing before the daffodils blossom. This is because there is usually less competition and therefore clients can hope to achieve a good price for their property. Furthermore, people tend to spend more time at home over the Christmas/winter period and begin to feel their home may be too small/too big and look into moving.”

So, if you are considering a move this year, now is a great time to get ahead of the competition by calling one of our property experts for free, no obligation, advice on how is best to market your home.
Contact one of our branches:
Estate agents in Fleet
Estate agents in Hartley Wintney
Estate agents in Odiham

Ben Murphy photo
Ben Murphy - Associate Director

The unknown, or a property market that bucks the Brexit fears?

estate agent sold board

The Market 2018

Let us start with 2018, which was peppered with challenging market conditions for residential property sales.

Because our trading year runs January to December we can report on the full picture for 2018, which may indicate the direction of travel for 2019.

Surprisingly, some branch productivity levels for house sale revenue was at or above 2017 levels, especially in the village locations. That outcome however doesn’t for one moment disguise the fact that during the first half of 2018 we saw one of the poorest levels of house sale transactions for some time, however, buyer positivity surfaced in the summer and remained reasonable through to December despite the increased chaos around Brexit.

When we say house sales were up in the second half of 2018, we are talking about house sale volumes not prices. Large house price gains are gone for a while, but like all markets when they rebound from a low they come back with a sharp and fast uptake.

The rental market performed extremely well in 2018, with a notable uplift in activity for high end rentals outside of London, especially in our core area of operation on the Berkshire / Hampshire borders.

Properties taken to the rental market in the £7,000 to £10,000 p.c.m. sector frequently saw rental offers from multiple tenants. This was driven by high end house buyers deciding to pop into a property rental for the next year or so, using some of the stamp duty funds they would have allocated on a property purchase around £2.0m. or £3.0m., and then wait and see how property values shape up post Brexit.

house let
High end rental activity compensated for house sales

One certainty

One thing that is certain, is that uncertainty impacts on the property market especially around the times of a General Election or a Referendum. How this uncertainty works its way into tangible outcomes for 2019 is not straightforward and varies in different house price sectors of the property market.

In the short term, house buyers generally will be more cautious and slower in their decision making. This doesn’t mean house prices will fall, because buyer demand remains steady and employment levels are excellent. There is the prospect of a flat market in respect of property prices, however, discerning house buyers are seeing the current market conditions as an opportunity to move whilst prices remain static. House sellers will sell successfully in the 2019 market, but they can’t expect a fancy or inflated price and must engage with the reality that over pricing will fail in a market where buyers are cautious.

Different sectors, different outcomes in 2019

Different market sectors will have different outcomes in the forthcoming months ahead. Buying decisions on property sales from around £250,000 to £1.5m. are mostly made by very localised factors such as schooling, access to work, general employment levels and family situations ranging from the three D’s (death, divorce and debt) through to the three N’s (new job, new baby, new beginnings). Decisions around such matters of day to day life will continue to be made by house buyers against the backdrop of political uncertainty, so house sales will be maintained at the current level with price sensitivity being the watchword.

Further up the property price sector, and especially in the £2.0m. to £6.0m range house buyers will be more influenced by global and political factors so we could see further negative price impacts in this sector. Savvy top end buyers are playing a waiting game, but they are there on our books and will respond to excellent marketing and a competitive price strategy.

House sellers and buyers should approach 2019 with realistic expectations, engaging positively with the new beginnings for the country and house moving opportunities and, who knows, there might well be some pleasing outcomes to report at the end of 2019.

We wish you a happy Christmas and the very best for 2019.

 

John Holden – Chairman and Managing Director McCarty Holden

POST BREXIT IMAGE LEAP

Boxing Day due to be the next big property search event

boxing day go image

According to Rightmove there was a 200% spike in traffic between Boxing Day and 2nd January in 2018, suggesting an uplift in house buyer searches online on Boxing Day. This  is why McCarthy Holden are offering a special incentive to join the next big event in property.

Boxing Day Go Event

During November and December all a would-be house seller has to do is instruct McCarthy Holden to offer their property for sale from Boxing Day.

You can indulge in all of the traditional Boxing Day activities, happy in the knowledge that house buyers are tapping on mobile devices searching for the right property and, who knows, your house could be top of their list for viewing in the New Year.

Many of our clients have already asked to go live on the Boxing Day Go property launch, so if you are contemplating a house move in 2019 then go to our home page and click on valuation, for a free property appraisal and discover the benefits of being part of the no sale no fee and no obligation Boxing Day Go property event.

New Campaign Urges Consumers To Buy British Christmas Trees

christmas trees

A new campaign has been launched by Grown in Britain to encourage UK consumers to buy more assured British grown Christmas trees.

Grown in Britain says many people may be assuming they are buying fresh British grown trees, when they are not. The organisation is urging consumers to support rural businesses in Britain and reduce ‘tree miles’ by checking where their Christmas tree comes from before they buy.

christmas trees grower

According to Government statistics, £3 million pounds worth of real Christmas trees were imported into the UK last year.

Grown in Britain has created a Christmas tree licensing scheme that operates throughout the supply chain from growers to retailers and provides an assurance that trees are fresh and grown in the UK in a responsible way with due regard to the environment.

Chief Executive Dougal Driver says: “The UK has a flourishing Christmas tree growing sector and our auditing process checks that trees are definitely from the UK, grown responsibly and meet a strict forest floor to shop floor freshness test.”

He adds: “This is the start of the campaign with approximately 50,000 Christmas trees currently licensed for sale, but the public can really make a difference by asking their stockists to supply assured Grown in Britain trees now and in the future. This will help ensure the number of assured homegrown Christmas trees rises over time, with a consequential boost to the UK’s rural economy.”

To find out your nearest supplier of Grown in Britain licensed Christmas trees, look at the licence holder map on the Grown in Britain website www.growninbritain.org

christmas trees growing

House of Horrors at number 10 so what next for the house market

image of Mrs May behind doors

High drama and high stakes on the political and Brexit front have set the scene for more uncertainty, so how will this impact on the domestic residential property market?

With the imminent prospect of a challenge to Theresa May’s leadership, the resignation of Cabinet ministers including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, seemingly no prospect of the draft Brexit agreement being passed by Parliament and the increased likelihood of a harder Brexit, there is now in place a wide range of serious uncertainty factors rarely seen conspiring at around the same time. Furthermore, with Mrs Mays party in revolt and many of her colleagues departing we don’t know yet, if a General Election is also around the corner.

One certainty

One thing that is certain, is that uncertainty impacts on the property market especially around the times of a General Election or a Referendum. How this uncertainty works its way into tangible outcomes is not straightforward and varies in different house price sectors of the property market.

In the short term, house buyers generally will be more cautious and slower in their decision making, and the impact on prices will mean large house price gains are gone for a while. This doesn’t mean house prices will fall, because buyer demand remains steady and employment levels are excellent. There is the prospect of a flat market in respect of price rises, however discerning house buyers are seeing the current market conditions as an opportunity to move whilst prices remain static. House sellers will sell successfully in today’s market, but they can’t expect a fancy or inflated price and must engage with the reality that over pricing will fail in a market where buyers are cautious.

Different sectors, different outcomes

Different market sectors will have different outcomes in the forthcoming months ahead. Buying decisions on property sales from around £250,000 to £1.5m. are mostly made by very localised factors such as schooling, access to work and general employment levels and family situations ranging from the three D’s (death, divorce and debt) through to the three N’s (new job, new baby, new beginnings). Decisions around such matters of day to day life will continue to be made by house buyers against the backdrop of political uncertainty, so house sales will be maintained at the current level with price sensitivity being the watchword.

Further up the property price sector, and especially in the £2.0m. to £6.0m range house buyers will be more influenced by global and political factors so we could see further negative price impacts in this sector. It’s perhaps no surprise that in 2018 we saw a significant uplift in house rentals in the £6,000 to £8,000 p.c.m. sector, driven by future potential house buyers who have decided to retreat into the luxury rental market and watch for when the top end house sales market starts to recover. Such recovery could be a year or so away, but one thing is for sure, all markets when they rebound from a low come back with a sharp and fast uptake. Savvy top end buyers know this and are playing a waiting game, or taking care of business now by buying at extremely competitive levels.

Respond with investment, no time for the faint hearted

Check out what McCarthy Holden are doing to maximise selling and letting opportunities for clients between Christmas and New Year. If you would like and up to date market no obligation valuation, go to our home page and click in valuation.

The Christmas and New Year 2019 magazine In The Country & Town
×
Find a Property
M
Country & Equestrian