WINTER UPDATE – Market Slows But Good Buyers Still Out There!

“Christmas must be coming”, said Pooh
I can already feel the merry”.

Winnie the Pooh
A.A. Milne

   Wednesday 20th December 2023

“Every time a bell rings, 
An angel gets its’ wings”.

It’s a Wonderful Life
Philip Van Doren Stern

Happy December, one and all!  

Well, and another year has whizzed by, and it seems like only a month or so ago that I was last writing about Sam bravely entering the Mysterious World of the Garage to retrieve the decorations and grotto our home with tree, lights and baubles!

Thus, with the decorations up, and viewings starting to slow down as we approach Christmas, I finally have a moment to write the closing blog of the year! 

It has been an interesting year to be fair. The pundits all professed that the market would crash, and house prices would fall considerably in 2023. 

We haven’t seen this here in this part of Hampshire to be fair.  

Okay, admittedly there are many ‘reductions’ noted in Rightmove but most of these were properties arguably overpriced in the first place.  This is a dangerous thing to do especially in this market as most buyers have a limited attention span when clicking on properties newly listed, and glance briefly at photograph, address and price, and often decide in a heartbeat whether to look further at the listing, or click it offline and do something else instead. 

The danger is that if a price comes down later, many buyers will subliminally ignore the repeat listing showing a price reduction as they will know they have seen it before and had disregarded it for some reason … and consider that there must be an issue with the property if it hasn’t been sold already.  The further concern is that when this happens, a house which has been reduced, and has an element of having been on the market for ‘a while’, could end up selling for less than it should have had it been priced correctly at the outset.

As one client wrote to us recently within her testimonial,

….”… I chose an agent with offices in the high street, in London and abroad who told me that he could get a higher price for my house, as I thought that he would have further reach. However, despite a price reduction the house didn’t sell in 3 months, after which I withdrew it from the market and asked Nony to relaunch it.” 

She went on to add:

Prices fell significantly during the time my house was on the market, and I feel that if I’d asked Nony and Sam to market it from the outset I would have received more for it. I’m very glad that I eventually switched to them.”

Thus, Sam and I work closely with our clients to check and confirm pricing of a property before we launch, to ensure that we get the best interest, at the right price, from the outset. 

That all aside, Sam and I have enjoyed a very good year, with more sales than in 2022, which had also been a good year for us as well. 

We have found that more and more clients are turning to us to represent them than the traditional High Street agents.  They attest to preferring our level of service and commitment, and enjoy being one of a few clients, and a more boutique level of service, affording more time to them, and the buyers, which in turn produce a less stressful transaction.  As another client wrote just yesterday:

“It is always a pleasure dealing with Nony. I have always found her to be a fair and honest estate agent having bought and sold with her. She doesn’t mess about on price she knows the Winchester and Hampshire market better than most. She knows what the market will give for property and prices properties to that and sets realistic expectation to both buyers and sellers.

Most importantly is the time and care Nony puts into viewings. Viewers are not rushed amidst back-to-back appointments. And for sellers she advises, and dresses houses to sell. Nony is a legend.”

From this, I take particular pleasure from the words, “fair and honest estate agent”, “sets realistic expectations”, “viewers are not rushed”, and “time and care”.

We could not be more proud of this review, which attests to the service we seek to offer our clients, any why we believe so many more people are turning to us to represent their homes in the ever changing housing market.

It is difficult to know what will happen in the market in 2024. 

Again, we do not foresee significant changes in pricing, and we also believe that buyers will continue to be cautious on what they are buying and at what level.  Inflation came down today, but no one knows how long this will last, and if/when this will be reflected in mortgage interest levels, which continue to be vastly higher than they were up to autumn 2022.

We also have an election likely coming in 2024, and elections historically cause a slow down in the housing market due to the uncertainty of what might follow, the result of which potentially could impact the stability of the market.  

The same was true in 2019 ahead of the election at that time. 

The market slowed considerably from late summer until the election in mid-December, and once the winning party was elected, it leapt forward again, sadly to be a little scuppered by Lockdown in March 2020, but was rescued again with the stamp duty ‘holiday’ which followed.  

So, whilst viewings have slowed down a little, Sam and I are using this time to concentrate on getting our under offer stock to exchange and to prepare for the January 2024 market.

And to today! 

We have just issued a memorandum of sale, exchanged on another property, undertaken three viewings, had a pre-Christmas glass of fizz with the Martin & Co team in the Romsey Road office, and back home to write this missive, and do some admin. I take back the earlier statement that it is quietening down! 😊 

So, thank you to all our clients and friends for your support throughout 2023. 

Enjoy your Christmas Parties, and have a super Christmas and New Year!

Sam and Nony