Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Opening 2010 & New Year 2011

Best wishes for Christmas 2010 and New Year 2011!

This year we are closing our doors at lunchtime (12:00) on 23rd December and re-opening at 9:00 am on January 4th.
For the benefit of our tenants and landlords you can still reach us during this period by dialing 01353 645809 . Please leave a message with your name, brief description of the situation and full contact details. Our system will e-mail the voice mail to the mobile of the duty person who will be back to you as soon as possible.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The DPG (Primelocation) Research on the Market


Well worth a read! What's the saying? "Don't believe everything you read in the papers"

Comments from DC & Co in due course.

http://issuu.com/tdpg/docs/tdpg_research_property_market_insider_winter_2010?viewMode=magazine&mode=embed

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Date that Property

Ever wondered what 'period' your home belongs to? Or if the selling agent got the date right!

Here's the (not exhaustive) guide:


How to age a home
  • Tudor (1485 - 1603): half-timbering, steep roof, tall and narrow windows, large chimneys
  • Jacobean (1603 - 1660): flat roof, columns and pilasters, decadent detail
  • Georgian (1714 - 1837): two chimneys, matching housefronts, large sash windows, brick walls, contrasting window frames, porticos
  • Victorian (1837 - 1901): slate roof, three stories, bay windows, ornate finish, Gothic and Renaissance revival, ordered room layout
  • Edwardian (1901 - 1919): red brick, gables, semi-detached, mansion blocks, functional design, less decoration
  • 1920s and 1930s: functional, smaller, mock-Tudor and Georgian revival, plain doorways and lintels, Art Deco, geometric
  • 1940s: angular and shiny surfaces, wooden panelling, tiled fireplaces
  • 1950s: open plan design, streamlining, picture windows, minamalist, high-rise, prefabs
  • 1960s: Large, tall windows touching floor level. Low pitch roofs. Timber cladding. The first 'estate' houses.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sage Advice From Mike Woodfine


When everyone is diving in then it's probably best not to be buying. The reverse is often true but Mike Woodfine from The Money Centre advises would be investors on the correct attitude to borrowing mortgage money. Read the Yorkshireman's advice here http://bit.ly/arQLwu !

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tory Minister Vows to End Era of House Price Booms

Tory Minister Vows to End Era of House Price Booms

The latest nonsense to issue from the mouth of a Con-Dem minister has left me agitated, not to say irritated!

The Daily Mail of 13th October reported Grant Shapps’, the Housing Minister, speech to the Housing Market Intelligence conference. Read in full here http://bit.ly/dpGL4K if you are suffering from low blood pressure.

He stated: “...middle class families ... should not rely on their homes to fund retirement”. We have had a Labour Government mount a several billion pound raid on pension funds, a stock market lose our pension funds a fortune and now we have a Tory telling us that property as a pension is a mortal sin! I suppose if you are an MP or a senior civil servant then you won’t need to worry about the investment in your property as you have a gold plated, brass constructed pension that the middle-classes have, and are still being asked, to fund from their heavily taxed income, whilst paying into their poorly performing personal pension schemes.

Someone quoted the ‘middle classes’ as wanting falling prices to enable their offspring to get a foot on the property owning ladder. These would be the same people funding the 20% plus deposits required by lenders these days. Where are they doing that from? Personal savings? or from re-mortgaging the properties they have paid, or have  virtually paid, off loans on. Announcing that government policy will actively seek to erode prices is unthinkable!

The conference was also treated to a suggestion that Building Regulations will be relaxed to make the construction of more new homes easier. What? The reason the UK only built 142,000 new homes last year was because builders went out of business and those that remained managed to rein in their construction to match demand. The building / property industry is governed by supply and demand. To spell it out:  Low demand = reduced supply! No mortgage funds at reasonable loan-to-value ratios = No buyers!

If the government starts to talk about major cutbacks, unemployment in the public and private sectors in July but also says it won’t actually announce the detail until the 20th October then it will produce a property market that has stalled.

The reports coming out of the recent Conservative party conference have sounded like a party using the platform as a sounding board for it’s proposals but at the same time feeding a Public looking for a lead and positivity with more to fear and worry about. To paraphrase Franklin D Roosevelt: “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” . Oddly enough he made this comment during the USA’s 1932 elections when the depression reached it’s depth in 1933.

Another of Mr Shapps’ proposals is to help the market by holding interest rates down. Low rates are what are preventing repossessions increasing. They are not helping first time buyers as they don’t have access to the lower rates unless they have large deposit funds available to them. House prices fell after October 2007 and throughout 2008 by as much as +/- 20% which has made them attractive to first time buyers. Then the lenders, under the cover of “more responsible lending” doubled the deposit required. In common with many 50+ year olds we bought our first house at the age of 22 with a 10% deposit that we had saved and cobbled together. It was bought as a first ‘home’. Mr Shapps then states: ‘Calling for an end to the ‘lottery’ of the housing market, he said: People should think of homes as a place to live rather than a pension’

Well, the news is the vast majority of this country’s home buyers buy their property with this uppermost in their minds. The idea of buying is to end up mortgage free and at the same time rent free. The continuing remark was “buying a house shouldn’t be like playing the lottery”. Short term profit taking is the reserve of a small minority and professional developers. I think he is trying to say that people should not suffer market highs and lows, but that is not a reason for attempting to create a market that is permanently flat.

He has obviously touched a nerve as the Mail Online version of the article had attracted 327 comments by the 14th October! We are all, with a minority exception, looking at a pension short-fall and now they want to take away the ability of a large majority (bearing in mind 60+% home ownership) to add funds from their property that they have personally paid for.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How Resilient Are We to the 'Cuts'?


It feels to me like the UK property market is holding it's breath waiting for the public spending cuts to finally be announced. In a late August blogpost I stated my irritation that the cuts were announced but not going to be implemented or details given until October.

Well, in advance of the actual announcements, the BBC have created a page on their website where you can check out how resilient your area may be. This is based on a number of factors to create to a figure between 1 and 324. 1 being most resilient and 324 least.

East Cambridgeshire scores 45 whilst nearby Fenland 235 and South Cambridgeshire 10!

Check out the site here: http://bbc.in/aY28rC

Sash Windows On Older Homes

At the last minute we are getting our sash windows painted this week. The windows are hardwood replicas of the original Victorian ones, complete with sash cords and brass pulley wheels and were made by R S Button Joinery in 2003. This is the second time they have been painted since then so I feel they were a good investment. Luckily we were able to use the old-style narrow gap double glazed units to keep the style correct and not have over-large glazing bars. English Heritage have advice on sash windows  here http://bit.ly/aQVYOH

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Home Selling Tips & Suggestions

This article was published in the Telegraph and is headlined 

Tips for selling your house this summer

I think the comments and tips hold good for the Autumn while we wait for the 'Cuts'  and really any other season of the year there is something to glean from this collection of agent's suggestions.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Autumn is Just Around the Corner


As I write this it is nearly the end of August and the rain, which hasn't stopped all night, is still pouring down on a bedraggled Market Place. Stallholders are regularly pushing up their canvas roofs to send a cascade of water over the ground. Depressing? Just a bit, maybe, but look on the bright side. We will soon be in September with the throngs of bored children heading back into the arms of their welcoming teachers to continue their studies towards the next crop of A* GCSE's and A levels.

What of the property market, which is now looking towards early Autumn? The coalition government announced mid Summer that they would be making their main 'Cuts' in the Autumn and I feel that the usual holiday season lull has been intensified by the prospect of this happening. If you tell a population that there is pain to come then they batten down the hatches and wait and see. The recent retail figures and mortgage approval figures may bear this out to a degree.

Once people know where they stand and the children are back at school we may see a market shake itself off and begin to move forward. I'm not talking price rises – just activity! There are parts of northern England where 45% of the working population are employed in some way by government. Similarly large numbers of people in Cambridge are employed by the NHS at the Addenbrookes hospital complex and in teaching although they have reassured us that the NHS will not be as savagely attacked as some departments.

So we fight our way to the end of the year with the prospect of a VAT rise to 20% in January 2011. That debt has to be repaid you know! If the impact of this rise is as great as the previous governments tinkering by reducing to 15% then I doubt we have too much to concern ourselves with. Lets take an average (for this area) estate agency fee of £2,000. VAT at at 17.5% adds £350 and at 20% £400. Looking at it realistically would £50 stop this transaction?

Summing up I think VAT hikes are the least of our worries. Dismantling too much government employment and projects too quickly could cause us all some problems, not just those directly employed by the public sector.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Definitely a Work of Fiction!

John Phelps, a former property correspondent for the Cambridge Evening News and a property journalist for more than 30 years, has just published his first novel: Agent From Hell. He reassures me when he aserts " I have never met an estate agent like Theo Salter and, in any case, the book is not an agent's manual... it is meant to entertain!"
Priced at £8.99 it can be ordered from bookshops or from Matador Publishing. Follow this link for review and details
http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=1142

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why do we do it?

Oh my God, we’re at it again!

Todays Times headline has sent shivers through the property owning classes as they think that the economy is ‘stuttering’ and house prices are stalling/falling again.

It’s August - this country’s main school holiday month - and whilst large numbers of us are not jumping on airplanes to Spain or sunny places as (not being heavily bonused bankers)our budget won’t stretch to it, we are in the majority ‘on holiday’.

Since I became an estate agent in 1979 the late summer has always been slow in terms of sales and new instructions. I have never had a best ever sales month in August. Now, add into this the Cameron/Osborne/Clegg effect and you have the perfect recipe for a seriously depressed property market.

Forgive me but I have to say politicians never learn from past mistakes.

Whilst waiting in a queue outside a Pork butchers the other Saturday morning I made the mistake of passing the time of day with the gentleman in front of me. He asked what I did for a living, as I had commented that I would like a queue like the butcher’s outside my premises, and when I replied “estate agent” he said “You lot deserve all you get!”

So,of course I agreed with him 100%.

Getting to the point, our politicians do things like announcing the end of dual tax relief then waiting 6 months before implementing it. They announce reducing and cutting the public sector, then leave it until the autumn before actually doing it. So therefore we deserve what we get - a market where everyone employed by government or who gets any proportion of their work from government, decides not to spend anything they don’t have to until they know where they stand. I believe this is the root cause of the mixed messages about house prices and the state of the market we are currently hearing.

Never underestimate the power of the media - print it often enough, repeat it often enough on TV and radio and you’ll find it will come to pass.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Market Update from Hometrack

Monthly National Housing Survey

Results at a glance: http://www.hometrack.co.uk/

Prices fell 0.1% in July - the last month on month price fall was in April 2009 when prices fell by -0.3%
The decline in demand is in part seasonal but the underlying trend for the last 5 months has been downwards
Concerns over the economy and talk of impending spending cuts have taken their toll on market confidence and levels of demand
The change in market conditions has seen the average time on the market rise to 8.7 weeks - up from 8.4 weeks in June. The average time on the market has returned to August 2009 levels
The proportion of the asking price being achieved has dropped to 94% from 94.3% in June and looks set to decline further as pricing comes under pressure
The one positive from the survey is that the volume of sales agreed increased by 3.7%. Despite this agents are marking prices lower as they see rising supply and faltering demand putting prices under downward pressure over the remainder of 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

All 27m UK homes listed on the new Zoopla.co.uk property app

Interesting app if you have an iPhone...

Begin forwarded message:

Date: 20 July 2010 10:00:25 GMT+01:00
Subject: [New post] All 27m UK homes listed on the new Zoopla.co.uk property app

All 27m UK homes listed on the new Zoopla.co.uk property app

zooplauk | July 20, 2010 at 8:44 am | Tags: app, iphone app, property app, Search | Categories: House Prices, Search, Site Features, Social media | URL: http://wp.me/pslLG-zR

Ever walked past the home of your dreams and wondered if it's for sale or what it last sold for, or even what it might be valued at right now? Perhaps you're just naturally curious or a bit of a nosey neighbour? Well, the new Zoopla property app caters for everyone - property addicts, home-hunters, [...]

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Interest Rates Held at 0.5%

The Bank of England voted today to keep base rate at 0.5% Mortgages are safe for a bit longer!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/10553235.stm

Interest Rates Held at 0.5%

"http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/10553235.stm"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Top 15 Movies About Moving

It's a 'Summer thing', but have a read then if you have the moving bug why not view?

Top 15 Movies About Moving
There are an amazing number of movies that begin with a person or family moving into new surroundings whether they are going to school and moving away from home, taking a new job, or experiencing another  life changing event.  These movies can be really timely for people that are going through something similar in real life.  It’s great to be able to laugh, cry, and yell along with the characters at some of the events surrounding a normal move.  Accordingly, we put together the following list of the top 15 Movies About Moving (of All-Time).


Karate Kid (1984) – This starred Ralph Macchio as Daniel Larusso a teenager forced to move from New Jersey to California.  He has a difficult time at best making friends and in fact finds himself making enemies much more easily.  He ends up getting beat up by some karate students and finds himself saved by the handy man at his new apartment complex who is eventually convinced to train Daniel.  In the end Daniel ends up learning all kinds of maintenance tasks like painting fences, he defeats the bad guys, wins the local karate tournament, and gets the girl of his dreams, not bad.  Although most kids that move may not find all of the same opportunities they can relate to most of Daniel’s troubles.

2. Toy Story (1995) – Lots of people get caught up in the fun surrounding the story of these toys that come to life and they forget that one of the important elements was Andy’s family preparing for a move.  Andy is the young boy that all of the toys belong to and the person whom they fight for love from.  In the end the toys end up becoming friends and they all make the move with Andy to the new house.  In the interim though there are all kinds of action scenes as the toys encounter many different threats out in the real world away from the protection of Andy’s room.  Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, and several other great actors do the voice over for the cartoon characters in this movie.  This is a pre-move movie more about friendship and fun than packing up your home, but there was some of that too.

3. The Firm (1993) – A young lawyer graduates from law school near the top of his class and finds himself getting seduced by a small law firm in Memphis to join their firm.  He and his wife move to Memphis into a company owned home complete with a brand new car and furniture.  The whole thing almost seems too good to be true and sure enough it is.  They find themselves tied up in an FBI investigation of the business of the firm and some related murders.  It takes a great plan by the young lawyer and help from friends to escape from the firm with his life still somewhat intact. (and yes, he moves again).  This stars Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and several other well known actors and actresses.

4. Money Pit (1986) – This is actually one of my favorite moving stories because it is about a couple that is looking for a new house and end up getting what appears to be a beautiful mansion for a steal.  That is, until they move in and find out that it’s in complete disrepair and is going to cost a fortune to fix up.  As one remodeling project gets started two more problems seem to pop up and they struggle financially and with their relationship to finally see it through to a happy ending.  It stars Tom Hanks and Shelley Long and is a great comedy.  Hopefully, you never personally experience a move quite this bad, but I know I have felt several times like my home is a money pit.

5. Cheaper By The Dozen (2003) – This movie stars Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt along with several child stars (Hillary Duff, etc.).  This is all about moving your family from a small town to a big city as the father of twelve kids (Martin) took the head coaching job at his alma mater.  This movie does a good job of looking at the move from each of the character’s perspective.  It’s really funny and might be a good way to remind your family that moving is less about jobs and big houses and more about being there for each other and keeping the family unit strong.

6. The Lost Boys (1987) – This is a story about a divorced, single Mom that has to move in with her father in order to make ends meet for her and her two sons.  They move into a new community and quickly befriend some vampire hunters.  One of the brothers finds himself in love with one of the vampires and the other brother enlists his vampire hunting friends to save his sibling.  This stars Jason Patric, the late Corey Haim, and Kiefer Sutherland.  There’s not much to draw from this other than making sure your family sticks together through everything (and of course don’t move into a town known to have vampires).

7. Footloose (1984) – Starring Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, and John Lithgow.  Kevin Bacon plays a city boy that moves to a small town where dancing and rock music are forbidden.  He immediately starts to fight the system by playing music and dancing eventually leading to him organizing a school dance.  He ended up making a big positive impact on the town and his small group of new friends.  This shows that one new person can make a difference and that you don’t always have to just accept the status quo.

8. Funny Farm (1984) – The main star of the show is Chevy Chase and as you would expect from him it is hilarious.  Chevy plays a character that quits his job as a successful sports journalist to move to the country to write the Great American Novel he has dreamed of all of his life.  He finds country life to not be all that he thought it might be and gets distracted by local customs, wildlife, and more.  Eventually, he adapts to the surroundings and finds that he actually does become a changed man in the end.  This is a great example of moving with a purpose and struggling through epic failures to eventually fulfill your dreams.

9. Twilight (2008) – Starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner this movie was based on the incredibly popular Twilight novel series written by Stephenie Meyer.  Bella Swan (Stewart) plays a character that moves to a small town and a new school and struggles a bit to make friends.  She eventually becomes attracted to Edward (a vampire) and begins to uncover his secret.  She actually is not very surprised by this discovery, which is an interesting reaction to say the least.  Bella ends up making the best of the situation and adapts well to her new surroundings.

10. Odd Couple (1968) – The oldest movie in the list by far stars Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau as the odd couple.  Felix (Lemmon) breaks up with his wife and is forced to move in with Oscar (Mathau) and the two begin learning to live together.  They couldn’t be more opposites, but yet somehow it works.  If you are moving in with a friend and/or find yourself in an odd roommate situation you may really enjoy this classic movie.

11. Moving (1988) – Richard Pryor stars as a mass transit engineer from New Jersey that gets fired from his job and finds a similar job in Boise, ID.  He has to break it to his family that they will be moving and then begin the process of planning the move.  Hiring terrible movers (ex Cons) and a person with multiple personalities to drive his car across the country to his new home.  He ends up losing his new job and the movers never show up.  If you think your move is going poorly or went bad check out this movie and see if you still feel the same.

12. Son In Law (1993) – Pauly Shore and Carla Gugino star in this comedy where Gugino finds herself moving from her family farm to the communal living in a co-ed dorm.  Shore is her resident advisor and he ends up helping her through the transition from the farm to life in the big city.  She ends up bringing him home for Thanksgiving and treating him to a bit of life on the farm.  This is a fun movie about dealing with being a fish out of water (finding yourself in new and strange surroundings).

13. The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) – Jim Varney, Cloris Leachman, Lily Tomlin, Lea Thompson, and several more stars contributed to this movie remake of a classic TV sitcom.  Jed (Varney) is out hunting and a missed shot penetrates the ground and low and behold he strikes oil.  They end up moving from the country to Beverly Hills, CA from a small shack to a huge mansion.  This is another fish out of water type story but in the end they choose to remain who they are and it’s the people around them that end up adapting.

14. Coyote Ugly (2000) – Starring John Goodman and Piper Perabo this is the story of a young girl that moves to New York from New Jersey to pursue her dream of becoming a singer.  In order to make ends meet she takes a job in a bar called Coyote Ugly, which has almost a cult following in the area.  She has to adapt to a new job, new city, and all kinds of trouble as she tries to become the star she knows she can be.  LeAnn Rimes lends her voice and several great songs to the soundtrack of the movie.

15. Raising Helen (2004) – Kate Hudson, John Corbett, and Joan Cusack lead a cast of great actors that bring this story from tragedy to a happy ending.  After her brother-in-law and sister die in an auto accident, a young and up-and-comer in the fashion world gets custody of their 3 children.  She has to move and deal with getting the kids setup with a good school and other activities to keep them busy while she tries to squeeze in a career.  It’s a roller coaster ride but in the end they find a way to make it work.

Suggested by Sheryl Owen of www.changeofaddress.org in the USA http://www.changeofaddress.org/blog/2010/top-15-movies-about-moving/

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June House Prices & Affordability Index from FindaProperty.com

Interesting for buyers and sellers but worth reading in depth...

Begin forwarded message:

From: "TDPG Research" <sam@mail2.tdpg.com>
Date: 16 June 2010 15:00:50 GMT+01:00
To: "Sam Reynolds" <gary@clarkhomes.co.uk>
Subject: June House Prices & Affordability Index from FindaProperty.com

To display this email in a browser, please click here

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The FindaProperty.com House Prices & Affordability Index
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June 2010
Increased Seller Confidence Leads To Highest Stock Levels Since January 2008

Nigel Lewis

"We've seen a flood of sales properties come onto the market this month. And that is in no small part due to the scrapping of HIPs, according to our findings, in addition to rising prices since the start of the year. 

"Demand for property has helped prices stay strong despite the explosion in the number of homes for sale and this fifth month of rises means asking prices are now higher than at any point since July 2008."

Nigel Lewis, Head of Content
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•  The stock of property for sale in the UK grew by 9% in June. Stock levels are now 31% higher than at their trough in August 2009.

•  Asking prices rose for the fifth consecutive month, with a 0.3% increase to £220,308. Since June 2009, they have risen by 1.8%, up from £216,496.

•  First-time buyer homes also increased for the fifth month in a row, with a 0.2% rise this month.

•  The average entry level home is on the market at £156,065, which is 1.7% higher than a year ago (£153,460) and the highest level since February 2009.
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PDF Click here to download the FindaProperty.com
House Prices & Affordability Index

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Please do let us know what you think about the House Prices & Affordability Index; all feedback is appreciated: marketinginfo@findaproperty.com.

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The Digital Property Group

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House Prices and Affordability Index

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To find out more about theFindaProperty.com House Prices & Affordability Index methodology - click here.

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