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2016 in Review!

Read our take on the 2016 housing market!
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First I need to start with an apology, as this blog was originally meant to be finished in December, but with the unexpected rush from both buyers and sellers before Christmas, it’s only now that I’m managing to finish it.

I think it’s important to take stock of the year we’ve just come out of. The social, political and economic landscape of 2016 presented itself with many challenges, and the housing market has withstood huge changes along the way responding to the ever evolving environment and the different demands of both buyers and sellers.

Estate Agency is one of those industries that gets hit first with any sort of economic and political change. The slightest sway in confidence can leave a knock on effect that lasts for over 6 months, whilst expectations from buyers and sellers are figuring out how to meet in the middle.

With house prices in London forever on the rise, London is now unattainable for most prospective buyers causing them to look outwards towards areas such as Brentwood, which offer amazing commuter links and better value for their money. This is great for those people selling in Brentwood, who want to sell to those ‘London Buyers’ who have brought with them a 30% increase in house prices over the last 2-2.5 years, but not so great for local people, looking to get on the housing ladder.

With the influx of buyers from London, we saw house prices increasing daily. Home owners could either cash in or sit on their asset - but why sell, when your home is going up and up in value? This led to buyers fighting over what little stock was available pushing prices up further still, and buyers were paying in excess of asking prices in order to secure a home. Things were going great for both sellers and Estate Agents who were charging an unfair percentage in commission!

Just as we were starting to understand the market, the government declared a referendum and scaremongering began amongst politicians and the media creating uncertainty amongst prospective buyers who decided to sit things out and wait for the outcome, causing confusion for sellers, who expected the ever increasing house prices to continue from previous months.

THEN…we were out! A nation now divided! Within 6 months the market completely shifted from offers £30K over the asking price to prospective buyers offering with caution and coming in with offers under the asking price. What a quick and unbelievable change! We went from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market within 6 months!

Don’t get me wrong, we are still selling homes for fantastic prices and there are lots of serious buyers out there, but instead of selling homes within 1 week, it seems to be taking 4 or 5.  In my opinion though, Brentwood is in its own bubble, mainly due to Crossrail and the arrival of new, trendy restaurants and coffee shops. Let’s face it, London is still ridiculously expensive, so why buy a tiny flat in London when you can buy a spacious home in Brentwood or Shenfield, 30minutes from the City for half the price!

Looking back at 2016 and ahead to 2017, I think we’ll see a further increase in house prices over 2017/2018, but not at the same rapid rate as before.  A slower, calmer increase will hopefully level demand and supply.  I still have many locals telling me how expensive everything is even with a slight change in the market, but I have buyers from London telling me how cheap everything is!

In view of these increases over the past couple of years and without wanting to bore you with plugging our Company too much, please consider what you are paying your Estate Agent. Just because your house has gone up in value by 30%, doesn’t mean your Estate Agency fee should! Inflation is set at 2.5% and yet Estate Agents in Brentwood have seen a 30% increase in fees! Look around. Negotiate. And don’t forget Next Chapter’s fee structure – we work hard to get you the very best price whilst offering a fixed fee, that means that YOU keep the increase from the price of your house, not an Estate Agent.

2016 has certainly been eventful… we can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!
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