December 20th, 2012

To register for our January offer during the holidays, just telephone 9045 3319 and leave your name, telephone number and address.  We will contact you on our return to the office 2nd January 2013.

Has your detached property increased by 9%?

November 28th, 2012

My old favourite, the University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index has been published again and yes, detached houses are up by 9%, semi detached bungalows up by 16%.  Wow, maybe we should be out celebrating but oh no, apartments are down by 23%, ah shucks!!

Ask anyone with a detached house on the market at the moment and they will be able to tell you that the current value of their home is at its lowest point in many years.  There has been no increase.

I am glad to say however that interest has picked up over the past few  months and we are looking forward to 2013 with more optimism than we have had for a long time.

£5k drop brings in the viewers!

October 24th, 2012

A five thousand pounds drop from £70,000 to £65,000 has resulted in an immediate and considerable increase in interest in a terrace house in Bloomfield.  You would not think that £5k would be that significant but in todays market it shows just how sensitive pricing has become.

Even rentals have been affected  with a terrace house in Holywood Road area atttracting little interest at £425 per month.  Yet with the price now at £400, they are virtually queueing at the door!


September 19th, 2012

News came through this week that The Estate Agents Act (1979) has been reformed and the Property Misdescriptions Act (1991) has been ditched.   The reasons for the changes would not immediately be apparent but looking at it a little closer it appears the government are seeking to make it easier for private sellers and private seller’s websites to enter the property market.

The National Association of Estate Agents are firmly against the new reforms as it means the way has been opened up for the likes of Tesco to re-establish their ‘sell-it-yourself’ website which they had to ditch three years ago as they could not conform with the property misdescriptions act.  With PropertyNews and PropertyPal it is the Estate Agents who have to conform with the law and not the portals.

Do I think Estate Agents are under threat?

At the moment I would say definitely not.  Many companies have tried a form of Private Sales Websites including ‘Atatouch,’ a site launched by Eric Cairns which seems to have failed to capture the imagination of buyers and sellers.  I firmly believe that the worst negotiator possible in a house sale is the owner themselves – I wouldn’t dream of selling my own house as I would be far too emotionally involved in the process, letting my heart rule my head, causing over-valuation and not knowing when I had the right deal.

The strength of the Estate Agent lies in their negotiating skills and their valuation, private sellers in many cases may be able to sell their own homes but I have no doubt it is better left to the professionals.

Corporate incompetence

August 17th, 2012

I have always suspected that re-posssessions are having a negative effect on sales prices in the local market but here is an example of the stupidity of lenders when it comes to disposing of assets.

In April this year we marketed a local property with garden at £110,000.  In May we received an acceptable offer of £95,000 and the sale was subsequently agreed.  Unfortunately the owners then discovered they were not in a position to pay off all of their loan and the lender took back possession of their home.

That property has now been listed by the lender with their Estate Agent at £80,000 and one would suspect it could now be bought at around £70,000.  That is £25,000 less than the offer we received in May.  Due to the corporate system, I would guess the lender does not even realize we had an offer on it and are oblivious to the £25,000 loss.  The policy seems to be sell at any cost and it is having a costly effect on local home owners.

Corporate greed got us into the current situation and now corporate incompetence is a barrier to recovery.

Cregagh Estate house at £3750 per month!

July 31st, 2012

Landmark East have recently purchased George Best’s family home at Burren Way in the Cregagh Estate.  Their plan is to let it out as self catering accommodation for £125 per day.  With a standard Cregagh Estate house renting out at a maximum of £500 per month, I feel it may be only for the most fanatical of  George Best fans, as with 100% occupancy it works out at a mammoth £3750 per month!  I do however think it is good news the house has been saved and wish them good luck with the project.

Ulster Bank debacle having effect on house sales

July 6th, 2012

We thought we might have avoided the debacle of the Ulster Bank as our accounts are elsewhere but we have noticed the sales of a few properties starting to drag a bit recently.  Guess what? –  the mortgages are with the Ulster Bank, which looks like delaying these transactions by around a month…….so far!!

Moving house is difficult enough at the moment without the added delays and the associated stress brought on by a situation that our clients can do nothing about.

Have the media lost interest in house values?

May 31st, 2012

Did you miss it? I nearly missed it but just caught a glimpse of the University of Ulster House Price index for the first three months of 2012 on the Belfast Telegraph website, well down the headlines.

Does this finally mean that the media have lost interest in house values?  Its great news if that is the case because only three months ago when the figures were released for the final quarter of 2011, it was main headlines everywhere and all the usual so called ‘experts’ including myself were rolled out on Radio and TV desperately trying to say that our sector was stable and that sales have increased significantly.

I am hopeful that the next media frenzy will be soon and it will be caused by reports that the market is no longer falling.  We can hope!!

Have you been rejected for a mortgage at the last minute?

May 24th, 2012

We are hearing an increasing number of cases where potential buyers are being turned down for a mortgage literally at the final stages of the purchase transaction.

We have heard various excuses  but it ususally involves a person not realising they were late with a payment on their credit card and we even had a case where a lady had missed a card payment by one day due to an oversight involving a bank holiday.  She was refused her mortgage on that basis.

This may be understandable if matters came to light when the lenders were first approached about a loan.  Potential buyers are initially told they are acceptable and to return once they have agreed the purchase of a property.  The mortgage process may then proceed right up to a time when the purchasers may be thinking of moving in to their new home when the lender suddenly drops the bombshell that the application has been rejected by their underwriters.

The obvious solution is to carry out all credit checks, stress checks and so on when the client makes the initial enquiry or at worst when the application is received, with a 48 hour decision.  Come on banks, please start treating your customers as people again.

Do you own or run a bank?

May 10th, 2012

Thought not, but if you did then I could offer you a genuine piece of advice that should save your bank millions.  Start lending money to first time buyers who want to purchase their first home!

Most banks in Northern Ireland are exposed to the property market here to some extent and hold portfolios of sites and houses.

By making their lending criteria difficult for potential buyers and by selling re-possessions at rock bottom prices, they are helping to stagnate the market further yet if they opened up the coffers to those home buyers who can well afford the repayments (they are currently likely to be paying more out in rent), it would immediately introduce hundreds of buyers into the market which in turn would lead to stability at the bottom end that would slowly filter through the rest of the market.

This would then mean that the value of their assets would stabilize and may even start to increase again by a small margin.