SEPTEMBER UPDATE – And the market still seems to be quietening…

“It must be September,
July sun has disappeared”

― Charmaine J. Forde

Sunday 25th September 2022

When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles.”

Winnie the Pooh

And just like that, summer is behind us, and September is here. I have always loved autumn to be fair, the colours are astounding, and I am looking forward to that drive into Winchester, along the Alresford Road, towards St Swithuns School, where the colours from the leaves are breath-taking … we are not quite at the leaf colour turning yet but they are a joy.  To be fair, the winter ice on these trees are also astounding, but thankfully this is still a few weeks away,

I have found it difficult to know what to write for this month, and when, to be fair. The passing of our Queen, albeit expected in the near future, was still a jolt, and I will admit to a fair amount of crying.  I was saying to someone recently how sad a time this is, to which the reply was. “old lady dies, no big news”. I was pretty shocked, and cried a little more, but, of course, not everyone has the same view.  Royalist or nor, monarchy supporter or not, the service and dedication of our Queen was, to my mind anyway, astounding.  Even to her last days, to be out of bed (I cannot be the only person shocked by how she looked in that final photograph), and doing her duty.

Thus, we came off social media for a couple of weeks, in deference to the occasion, and immersed our spare time in watching hours of footage on the news.  The pageantry of the funeral was incredible, and we were proud to be British.  

And we are now into a new age.

And onwards.

So, this September has seen a distinct change in the housing market.  I was using the phrase ‘the market has softened’ but of course, as it was pointed out in a post from a regular contributor to LinkedIn, Julian O’Dell, this is the opposite of what is happening. The truth is that the market is ‘hardening’.  

The impact of the cost of living changes, coupled with rising interest rates, means that there are far fewer buyers out there than there have been.  Housing stock being sold is far fewer too as sellers a) are thinking twice about moving and increasing their mortgages and b) cannot find a house to buy as stock is low (note ‘(a)’ above!)  which is deterring many from coming onto the market.  

This lack of stock is causing a hold up in the market – and issues for first time buyers who have mortgage offers waiting but with timelines of those offers due to expire, and increasing concern of what the interest rate they will next be offered might be.  

There has been a ‘mini budget’ (not much ‘mini’ about it to be fair!) this week, which had a much heralded ‘stamp duty change’.  However, this was fairly minor in essence, far more of interest to first time buyers but, in Winchester, there is little shortage of first time buyers, is it more a question of shortage of housing stock availability, either chain free or with complete chains ahead.

If I could get everyone into a room, who was thinking of selling but holding back from listing their homes due to lack of stock for them to buy, we would, I am sure, have the most extraordinary day.  We could match those looking for a three bedroomed home, with those for a four, and those looking for a two bedroom, etc … the buyers are there, the sellers are there, they all need the confidence to come to the market and be introduced.

Reminds me of my days working on the TV show Blind Date .. the introductions we could make … and what a day to remember it could be.

To anyone thinking of selling, please be aware that the market is extremely price sensitive.  We would strongly advise you to get a few valuations, but also bear in mind what you truly believe your home to be worth, rather than be flattered by several agents who might quote higher numbers, due to the lack of housing stock available and keen to get some stock on their lists.  

The market might be slowing down, and there might be a lack of housing stock, but buyer still know what is a good price, and what is overpriced, and the last thing a seller needs is for their home to sit on the market, unsold, and become stale.  

This hasn’t changed from last month, where I wrote about this – and how a seller had been quoted £625k to £900k for her bungalow.  How was she supposed to know what to price it at, and with which agent?  

She decided not to move in the end, it was all too confusing.

We met another client this week, whose house was on the market with one of the leading national and high street agents. She was on for £650,000 (albeit her agent had recommended £675,000). Barely a viewing had taken place, after four weeks, and her frustration was palpable.  I asked her what she had thought her property was worth from the outset.  She replied £575,000.  Only one other agent apparently valued it as such. Another had said £600,000; and she went with the highest, despite misgivings, at £650,000.  She is thoroughly disappointed and is now locked into a 16 week agreement with an agent who won’t release her, despite the bad advice from the outset.

Thus, if you are looking to sell your home, please consider carefully the agent you choose, not just on the highest figure you are offered, or the lowest fee.  Each does not make a good agent, and neither will necessarily help you sell your home in a tricky and ‘hardening’ market place.

If you are looking to sell your home, and would like Sam and me to pop over and have a chat about the market, and how we would represent you, please do give us a call.  

We will always be honest and straightforward, as (one client recently told me with his relief) we are the least estate agency-ish estate agents out there.  

We are exceedingly proud of our reviews.  

An extract of one we received this week reads

To say that Nony and Sam went above and beyond is an understatement, and to call them simply Estate Agents would be an insult – these two don’t just sell houses, they help you navigate what can often be an extremely worrying, exhausting and unsettling time.

Having said all of that, Sam and I have some fabulous houses coming onto the market this week and next, for which we are organising photography over the next few days.  We will keep our fingers crossed for some sunny days!

If not, we will do as Winnie the Pooh suggests – 

“When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles …”

Have a super autumn, and we look forward to catching up in October!