August is a tricky time to comment on the property market. The market is usually understandably subdued during prime holiday season.
Spring 2017 was hardly deluged with fresh stock, so many buyers have remained active this summer. This is one of the reasons why prices have generally been upheld during this traditionally quieter period, with the average house price now being reported by the Land Registry as £223,257, a respectable 4.9% annual increase.
Interestingly, Rightmove is reporting a slowdown in asking prices at just 3.1% against this time last year. While this may not bode well for prices actually being achieved in the autumn, it does reflect a more realistic response by sellers to the confusing economic and political forces at play.
Indeed, many London commuter-town estate agents are reporting price reductions in 35%-44% of their stock. Provincial towns are doing much better than this with, e.g. Salford and Edinburgh experiencing reductions in just 11% of their stock. Price reductions do of course often result in sales for frustrated sellers, but it remains to be seen whether a further reduction may be required. The very strict mortgage qualification criteria currently in place are certainly not helping matters.
There’s little change to report on within the local market, although it’s worth pointing out the continued healthy appetite for property requiring refurbishment; not everyone wants to buy “someone else’s finished creation”, so it’s worth bearing this in mind when deciding whether to sell “as is”, or to refurb before selling – we are always happy offering advice on a property by property basis as each case is different.
There’s a fair amount of “sticky stock” around at the moment, so it will be interesting to see what happens to those properties come the autumn market, especially if the seller chose the “buy before you try” option, e.g. agreed to pay an agent who charges a fee, even if the property doesn’t go on to sell, or attract the desired level of offer/sale price. Consumer choice is a good thing, providing it’s made clear at the start what to expect (and what not to expect), perhaps more so when market conditions are evolving, and it takes more time and effort to get that sale to the finishing line.
As an indication of how the local market has changed, buyers now tell the agent when they can view, no longer fearing the prospect of a sold sign going up before they even get to view the property.
For those of you who missed it, here’s the weblink to a recent BBC episode of Watchdog, highlighting why transparency from every estate agent is so important to consumers.
(please note, BBC now require you to register before being able to view i-player)
A Proper Inventory
All residential tenancy deposits must by law be protected using a government-recognised scheme, such as the Deposit Protection Service (DPS). The decision to either return or withhold a deposit at the end of a tenancy is made by considering the evidence presented by both parties. For example, if there are rent arrears, the tenancy agreement will provide evidence as to the rent that was due, and a rent record sheet will provide a statement of what was paid. To prove payment, a tenant would be expected to provide evidence of payment, e.g. bank records or payment receipts.
When it comes to the condition of the property, it’s important to have evidence proving the difference between how a property was provided at the beginning of the tenancy, and how the property was returned at the end of the tenancy.
This can be achieved by creating a detailed inventory, to include details on condition and contents. This is as important in respect of unfurnished properties as it is for furnished ones because a good inventory is not just a list of contents, but also a statement of the condition of those contents and the actual fabric of the building.
For example, whilst the tenancy agreement may have a clause stipulating that the property must be returned in the same condition in which it was initially taken, with the exception of fair wear and tear; how can this be proven without a schedule of condition?
There are several other reasons to have an inventory prepared apart from the obvious one relating to identifying missing contents. Perhaps a tenant has broken something and has replaced it with an inferior substitute – possibly one that does not comply with a landlord’s legal obligations, such as a non-fire retardant sofa. Perhaps it is a condition of licence!
Over the years we have seen a selection of “less than ideal inventories”, including scribblings on the back of a cereal packet and an envelope containing black and white photos without any text. The ideal combination would be a mixture of photos and text, laid out clearly and concisely.
If the inventory is too vague, e.g. Washing machine, Fridge/freezer, 3 piece suite, Coffee table etc, you may well find items matching this description when you take back possession in 12 months time, but that doesn’t mean to say they will be the same items that you provided. Brand names, model numbers and other detail such as colour, should feature where possible.
Ideally, an inventory should be produced by a professional inventory clerk who is independent of the landlord or his/her agent. Such clerks are trained to record the property’s condition to a set of consistent standards, which is invaluable if a different person undertakes the check-out inventory.
That isn’t to say a landlord cannot prepare their own inventory, and we like to provide a sample, giving landlords an idea as to the degree of detail they should record. Quite often it’s a matter of time, with a good inventory likely to take several hours to create, when done properly.
If you would like to see an example of a detailed inventory, please feel free to ask.
Why not get inside the mind of an adjudicator?
Here’s your chance to put yourself in the position of the DPS adjudication team, to test your decision-making and solve a dispute! https://www.depositprotection.com/case-studies
Old Money’s Influence
Many property commentators point to the first time buyer as a primary stimulus for the property market. Whilst many property related transactions are indeed reliant on somebody somewhere down the chain buying without being dependent on a related purchase, the influence of “old money” is often overlooked.
The value of housing assets left in wills every year may have more than doubled between 2006 and 2020 to today’s equivalent according to a Halifax Financial Services report. The report estimates that £420bn of housing assets will have passed from one generation to another by then, with many of the fortunate recipients splashing out their new-found wealth on a new home.
As the baby boomers begin to retire, so their influence on the market will be felt, with about 27% of the population of the UK (or 15.8million) falling into this category. An older, healthier, more mobile population is also likely to move house more frequently than their parents and grandparents did, and they will play an important part in the intra-generational transfer of housing wealth that is to come.
More baby boomers (78%) own their own home than any other UK age group. In addition, baby boomers have witnessed an extraordinary transformation in British society: the rise of owner occupancy. In 1946, an estimated 31% of households owned their own homes – today’s figure is double that! The wealth held in property is likely to be used to assist the next generation in both housing and pension gaps.
Up until recently, first time buyers buying locally were often competing with buy to let investors and by investors we mean anything from seasoned multiple property landlords, actively increasing the size of their portfolio, to individuals with enough capital for a deposit, seeking to purchase their first BTL. Recent tax changes have resulted in reduced activity in the local BLT market, yet competitive mortgage rates and the prospect of long term capital growth is still very appealing. Perhaps BTL investors are now looking a little further afield e.g. up north?
The property market can, therefore, be stimulated from many angles, and a good estate agent will seek to understand and harness these trends to their clients’ advantage. Understanding new trends will help an agent stay ahead of the game and give better advice.
Local News & Events
Leytonstone Street Fest
Leytonstone Street Fest on Sunday 3rd September (formerly known as Car Free Day) is a free event for all residents to enjoy in Leytonstone town centre which will be closed to traffic for the day.
Church Lane will be full of art and craft stalls and foodie treats from local producers Leyton&Stone Designers.
There will also be hot food stalls, craft ale, a garden produce exhibition and more stalls in St John’s churchyard, and live music from popular local bands. The fun starts at 12 noon and goes on till early evening so why not make a day of it!
St John’s Church is just a stone’s throw away and in their Churchyard, (on 3rd September), there will be International food, Childrens’ activities, tower tours plus cakes and refreshments. This follows the 10:30am service. All are welcome at both events.
Football Fans in Training – Men aged 30 to 65
Thursdays 6.30am to 8.30pm (Sept 21st to Dec 14th) at the The Matchroom Stadium, Oliver Road, Leyton, E10 5NF
Get fit, lose the belly and get behind the scenes at Leyton Orient FC, all for free!
Are you a man aged 30-65 years old? Is your trouser waist size at least 38 inches? Do you want to lose weight, have a healthier lifestyle and ultimately be fitter? Our new 12 week Football Fans In Training programme can help you do this.. and all for free!
You’ll get a behind the scenes look at the club, be trained by selected club coaches and have the chance to talk tactics in the dressing room. Who knows, maybe you’ll even bump into a player or two! Please book in advance for this FREE 12 week course.
For more info contact Phill Smith on 020 8556 5973 or via email email@example.com
Over 50’s Networking Event
If you are over 50 and would like to join a local network group of like-minded people, contact Carolyn on 07715 536 872 or Carolyn.firstname.lastname@example.org
For more info, take a look here https://www.leytonorient.com/news/2017/august/trust-over-50s-event/
What’s happening at the Luna Lounge?
September promises to be another lively month over at the Luna, with plenty to go round. As usual you can find details via the events calendar, but here are a few that came up in conversation with Suja and Erika last week of particular note.
INTIMATE MUSIC EVENING WITH SAM CALLAHAN X-FACTOR FINALIST DOWNSTAIRS
September 1, 2017 8:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Tickets: Tickets: 10.00
Buy tickets URL: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/intimate-evening-with-sam-callahan-tickets-36372403839
TJ JOHNSON QUARTET (DOWNSTAIRS)
SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 9:00 PM – 11:45 PM
TJ is Widely considered to be one of the UK’s finest jazz, blues and gospel singers.
IN MEMORY OF AMY WINEHOUSE EVENING WITH ANNA ARONS & THE BAND DOWNSTAIRS
September 9, 2017 8:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Tickets: Tickets: 10.00
Buy tickets URL: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/in-memory-of-amy-winehouse-evening-tickets-36371891306
Over at the Red Lion, James has lined up some cracking, and varied nights, for the coming weeks. Visit their facebook and twitter pages.
Closet Vinyl – Taking place on the first Saturday of every month, you are the DJ, bring your own vinyl and take over the decks. – For more details visit www.closetvinyl.com
Aside from the ever popular Closet Vinyl night, Tuesday Roberts from the Northcote has 4 other events to tell you about, lined up for September.
1. Music Bingo – Fortnightly Thursdays 14th & 28th Sept and fortnightly after. Replacing numbers with song intros. 3 separate 40 min games from 8pm -10.30pm. £1 a card. £50/£100 cash prize. The funniest night ever. You just never know what will happen. An impromptu conga line or an outburst of Shirley Bassey As you often share tables it’s a great way to get to know your number.
2. Roll Out The Barrel. Monthly – 2nd Sunday afternoon of the month. 10th Sept. A good old fashioned EastEnd piano singalong. knees up. Songs include My Fair Lady classics and a dose of Abba.Family & pet friendly. Bloody Mary’s to aid the worst of hangovers
3. Sunday Society w/To The Cosmos – Last Sunday of the month 2-6pm. A friendly, DJ & chill with no pretentions. Playing a broad range of our favourite folk, soul, disco, house and maybe a teensy bit of techno, you’ll be eating delicious pizzas, Bloody Mary’s and generally maximising every precious second of the weekend. Both hangover and family friendly
4. Celidh Night with Jig 17. Monthly Wednesdays – 20th Sept 7-11pm. Jaclynn’s calls out the heel toe type dance moves whilst the violins, bodhran, flutes, fiddles, ukuleles & melodeon plays
All our events are free entry http://www.thenorthcotee11.com/
Organic Fruit and Veg market stall from Organiclea
The Market Stalls sell seasonal organic and ultra-local sustainably grown fruit and vegetables, plus homemade bread, jams and preserves.
They are buzzing community spaces, where buying fresh produce is an enjoyable activity and where information about food can be freely shared.
Organiclea fruit and veg stalls in Walthamstow and Leytonstone will be selling plants on top of their usual range of organic, seasonal, ultra local veg (including surplus produce grown by local allotment holders). Come and buy seedlings to start the growing season, including heritage tomatoes, companion flowers and fruit bushes.
Our stalls are:-
High Road Leytonstone, nestled between Matalan & St Johns Church, in partnership with Transition Leytonstone, 10.30am-3pm
Outside the Hornbeam Cafe, Hoe Street, Walthamstow, E17, 10am – 3pm
You can also visit their website https://www.organiclea.org.uk/
The Woodhouse Players made their debut in the Autumn of 1983 at St Margaret’s Church, Woodhouse Road, Leytonstone, taking the name of a long defunct drama group that had previously performed there in the 1950s.
Describing themselves as a friendly group of people, mostly from East London and Essex, who get together to produce the kind of shows they like, including quite a bit of new work.
Fri 8th September 2017, 8pm
Sat 9th September 2017, 2.30pm* and 8pm
Fri 15th September 2017, 8pm
Sat 16th September 2017, 2.30pm and 8pm
*The 2.30pm performance on 9th September will be BSL signed [originally scheduled for 16th September]
More information and ticket prices can be found on their website– There’s loads more info on there, so do take a look