Market Comment

What a very frustrating start to the year!  The housing market in the south of England was lively for the first three months and plenty of deals were being done. Brexit was agreed, we have a government with a solid majority for the first time in over a decade and after a few years of a slow property market all the signs were indicating a busy Spring. Then lockdown came along! 

The housing market is now effectively closed until the end of lockdown, but the big question is where prices will be when we are allowed back to work. There was good demand for houses in Hants/West Sussex & Surrey before the outbreak and I believe that pent-up demand will still be there. We often see bricks & mortar investment after a downturn which should help to underpin prices in this instance. There might also be further interest in this area from families in London who were planning a move out in the next few years, but have decided to bring that forward after craving for more space during the lockdown period. I think there will still be good demand.

Before March 23rd, estate agents were attending a lot of valuations with a number of potential sellers wanting to wait until their gardens looked at their best in the Spring. Whether any of these owners will change their minds after this remains to be seen, but agents may also see some new instructions from people who have been hit hard by the current economic restrictions. Sellers will have to be realistic because buyers will think they have the upper hand in this climate, but if a house is priced sensibly, I think it will still create buying interest and achieve the right price.

Everything depends on how long lockdown goes on for. At the moment it appears that this situation will be in place until the end of April and quite possibly into May, if it lasts beyond that then I will have to re-evaluate. However I think that there is a very good chance that the demand for solid houses in Hants/West Sussex & Surrey will continue to outstrip supply, with a caveat that I expect buyers to be very cautious about spending too much. Therefore at the end of lockdown, I believe prices will start again where they left off and plateau for the rest of the year. I expect more transactions than normal in the Summer market, and the traditionally high-turnover Autumn market will be very busy.

Finally!! After years of political uncertainty we appear to have reached a sojourn of confidence, possibly for the next five years. The housing market has suffered from a lack of optimism in the UK while all the Brexit stuff has been going on and business has been a little stilted, but now the chains are off. There is a lot of pent up demand built into the market at the moment and we believe the number of transactions will soar in 2020. We don’t think prices will follow suit and we believe a modest rise of up to 5% will be seen over the year (maybe more in London as confidence returns and foreign investors get busy before the government raise their taxes).

A few thoughts for 2020:

  • We have heard that some vendors in the south of England might believe that a Boris majority will have added an extra 20% to the value of their houses. This is not going to happen.
  • Buyers now have more valuation tools at their disposal than ever before and although we expect good demand throughout 2020, it is only the houses that are priced correctly that will sell, and they could sell very very quickly.
  • Buyers will have to be in a good position and able to proceed financially with the purchase at the point of making an offer.
  • A well-priced house with no blights will probably attract multiple bids and so purchasers who don’t have a property to sell or who have their financials in place, will be preferred over others.

If you are thinking of moving in the near future then maybe the sooner the better. We think that there are quite a large number of people who have put their moves on hold while all the political shenanigans have played out and there will be a good opportunity to participate in an active market in 2020, for the first time in 4yrs.

The benefits of having someone on the ground, in the area you are hoping to buy, with good private contacts and excellent relationships with all the local estate agents, has proved to be invaluable for our clients. If a good house becomes available at the right price, especially during quiet times, you have to be able to move very quickly. Over the last two years, 80% of the houses our clients bought were never advertised on the internet, in some cases we found them privately and in others we were informed about them very early on and our clients had their offers accepted before the agent had the time to put a brochure and web page together.

Stacks also has a fantastic track record. Currently national figures suggest that 40% of Sales are falling through (!!!), this Stacks office has had 0% fall-throughs for over 5yrs. Estate Agents know this and that is why they like dealing with us and it ensures that our clients and their offers, are always taken very seriously in the negotiating phase.

The housing market in Hampshire, West Sussex and Surrey in 2019 has obviously been affected by Brexit and all the political turmoil, however we believe this is a buying opportunity.

We have now had 3 years of severe political uncertainty, starting with the lead-up to the referendum and culminating with numerous delays since the UK was supposed to leave the EU on March 29th. All things considered, property prices in the southern counties have held out very well. One might have reasonably expected that prices would have come under pressure during these difficult times, as they have done in London, and yet we find them almost unchanged over this period. The number of transactions has taken a hit as a lot of potential sellers have decided to put their moves on hold because of the misconception that prices are down and there are no buyers around, however this is wrong. There are of course lots of people who have not been able to postpone their move and have had to carry on with their lives over the past three years (for work reasons or kids getting to school age etc.) and they have struggled to find themselves the right property because the number of houses being marketed has dropped and therefore their options have been limited. The upshot of this is that when a decent house with no blights comes onto the market and it is fairly priced, it flies out of the window, often in the first week of viewings and sometimes in a bidding competition.

Our overriding feeling is that once we get some clarification as to what is actually going to happen with Brexit, the property market in the south will be unshackled and able to move ahead, with prices rising slowly. It can be argued that it almost doesn’t matter what the end result is, as long as we get a decision, allowing everyone to move forward again with confidence.

The benefit of having someone on the ground, in the area you are hoping to buy, with good private contacts and excellent relationships with all the local estate agents, has proven to be invaluable for our clients in 2018 and 2019. If a good house becomes available at the right price, especially during quiet times, you have to be able to move very quickly. Last year 80% of the houses our clients bought were never advertised on the internet, in some cases we found them privately and in others we were informed about them very early on and our clients had their offers accepted before the agent had the time to put a brochure together.

Stacks also has a fantastic track record in making sure our client’s purchases make it all the way to Completion. We only recommend good, focused solicitors who are usually ready to exchange contracts within 5 weeks, instead of the current average 5 months and 10 days that other convayancing solicitors think is acceptable. In Q4 2018, national figures suggest that 49.2% of sales fell through (!!!), this office has had 0% fall-throughs for over 5yrs. Estate Agents know the above and that is why they like dealing with us and it ensures that our clients and their offers, are always taken very seriously in the negotiating phase.

Stacks are totally independant Buying Agents with close relationships and regular contact with all estate agents and other property professionals, so we posess a good all-round view of our local markets. After a slow start for the property market in Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex, activity picked up in April and has been continuing ever since, albeit at a slightly slower rate than normal. Some estate agents have had a confusing year, with targets not being met some months, but then far exceeding their goals in other months. I don’t think any rocket science algorythms are needed to explain this, it’s all been down to price. There have been plenty of serious buyers around but in the current uncertain political climate they are being extremely wary (when making their biggest and most important financial commitment of their lives) not to pay too much for their new homes.

All estate agents are reporting this year tougher than usual to put deals together. As well as vendors needing to be very pragmatic and sensible about their asking price, many buyers have not been particularly clever in 2018 either. Prices have been relatively stable in the south all year, probably drifting off slightly in the autumn, we have not experienced the drop in prices that London has seen.The press always takes the whole country’s stats when reporting the current climate in the property market, which is obviously skewed by the situation in London, this has posed a problem for estate agents in the south this year as a lot of buyers have been automatically offering 20% below the asking price because they think it is a buyer’s market. This is not the case and it has more been about what a house is actually worth. A classic example in September was a house in Surrey which had been on the market for £1.45m for a while and in the last two months of marketing had 5 viewings and 1 offer (which was more than a 20% discount to the asking price). The vendors deided to drop the price to £1.25m and immediately got 20 viewings in 2 weeks and 3 offers at, or above, the asking price.

I am expecting a quiet winter at least until we get some sort of decision on Brexit (!!) and then I believe activity will pick up briskly and prices could follow. In almost any market of any product, uncertainty causes stagnation, inactivity, and prices to drop slightly and then when a decision is made the market and prices pick up. Very often it doesn’t matter what the decision is, just the fact that the uncertainty has gone allows confidence and activity to return. I think  the next few months are a buying opportunity.

The benefits of having someone on the ground, in the area you are hoping to buy, with good private contacts and excellent relationships with all the local estate agents, has proven to be invaluable for our clients so far this year. Especially during quiet times, if a good house becomes available at the right price, you have to be able to move very quickly. One of our clients bought a property in Hampshire in the Summer, their offer was not the highest but the estate agent informed the vendor that Stacks’ clients were much more likely to make it to completion quickly without messing around and they also had no chain which is always very beneficial. The seller accepted our client’s offer and they are now very happy in their new home. Stacks’ reputation amongst estate agents is of a professional, hard-working, no-nonsense company who they enjoy dealing with. Last year 80% of the houses our clients bought were never advertised on the internet, in some cases we found them privately and in others we were informed about them very early on and our clients had their offers accepted before the agent had the time to get all of the details on the property portals.

In Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex the property market started off in a very sluggish fashion and after a brief flurry of good activity in April & May, it seems to have slowed again in June. Prices have remained relatively stable and that may have something to do with the continuing poor supply of new instructions. To have any chance of securing your new home you need to be alert, quick to react, understand the true value of the property you want to buy and then get the deal through to exchange as quickly as possible. In the UK the average time from the acceptance of an offer to exchange of contracts is over 3 months, we consistently manage to help our clients and their solicitors to that point in under 5 weeks, and this dramatically diminishes the chances of the deal falling through.

In the second half of the year there is a high chance that the current state of affairs will persist. A recent statistic showed that in 1988 people were likely to move every 7.4yrs on average, the latest stats for this year show that this has rocketed to only every 19.2yrs. We think that demand is still likely to outstrip supply and prices in the south will remain mostly unchanged again, despite the hammering that prices in London have taken.

The benefits of having someone on the ground, in the area you are hoping to buy, with good private contacts and excellent relationships with all the local estate agents, has proven to be invaluable for our clients so far this year. One of our clients has just exchanged on a property in Hampshire, their offer was not the highest but the estate agent informed the vendor that Stacks’ clients were much more likely to make it to completion quickly without messing around and they also had no chain which is always very beneficial. Stacks’ reputation amongst estate agents is of a professional, hard-working, no nonsense company who they enjoy dealing with. Last year 80% of the houses our clients bought were never advertised on the internet, in some cases we found them privately and in others we were informed about them very early on and our clients had their offers accepted before the agent had the time to get all of the details on the property portals.

There are some excellent properties available but you have to be on the ball. Let’s hope the England football team are too!

Call Bill to discuss what you are looking for.
Tel: 07792 807770

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"Would not hesitate to use you again."
2018-11-21T13:16:29+00:00
"Would not hesitate to use you again."
"carried out with discretion"
2018-11-21T12:28:29+00:00
"carried out with discretion"
"The best decision we could have made!"
2018-11-21T12:55:52+00:00
"The best decision we could have made!"
"Being able to 'stand behind' Stacks, whilst they brought their negotiating skills to the fore, took us to another level"
2018-11-21T12:22:38+00:00
"Being able to 'stand behind' Stacks, whilst they brought their negotiating skills to the fore, took us to another level"
"I have been delighted with the service I have received from Stacks and will not hesitate to recommend Stacks in the future.

It is not often that one is pleased to part with money but I can truthfully say that I am on this occasion. You have earned every penny of this cheque and what is more, you have done it with great courtesy and good humour. It has been very pleasant working with you. You really did take most of the stress out of our house hunting.

Stacks’ performance on this assignment has been absolutely outstanding and more than met my expectations. Her understanding of the brief and the ‘after-find’ service set a standard of professionalism that I have not met before"
2020-01-13T11:51:03+00:00
"I have been delighted with the service I have received from Stacks and will not hesitate to recommend Stacks in the future. It is not often that one is pleased to part with money but I can truthfully say that I am on this occasion. You have earned every penny of this cheque and what is more, you have done it with great courtesy and good humour. It has been very pleasant working with you. You really did take most of the stress out of our house hunting. Stacks’ performance on this assignment has been absolutely outstanding and more than met my expectations. Her understanding of the brief and the ‘after-find’ service set a standard of professionalism that I have not met before"
"The house is ideal ... and it is nothing like our first (unsuitable) ideas!"
2018-11-21T12:56:37+00:00
"The house is ideal ... and it is nothing like our first (unsuitable) ideas!"
"They've been a close and very helpful part of our discussions with everybody. When you’re new to a town and an area, that’s priceless."
2018-11-21T12:58:19+00:00
"They've been a close and very helpful part of our discussions with everybody. When you’re new to a town and an area, that’s priceless."
"We cannot imagine how long it would have taken us to find our perfect home without Stacks – and we suspect that we would have compromised a long time ago!"
2018-11-21T13:09:36+00:00
"We cannot imagine how long it would have taken us to find our perfect home without Stacks – and we suspect that we would have compromised a long time ago!"
"I was impressed by the efficient, kind and courteous service provided by Stacks"
2020-01-13T11:52:49+00:00
"I was impressed by the efficient, kind and courteous service provided by Stacks"
"I’ve seldom had such consistent, wise support in a major life decision, and I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it is."
2018-11-21T12:46:40+00:00
"I’ve seldom had such consistent, wise support in a major life decision, and I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it is."
"helped our parents downsize from the family home, in what was a traumatic move for them"
2018-11-21T12:41:04+00:00
"helped our parents downsize from the family home, in what was a traumatic move for them"
"You have exceeded our expectations for a buy-side property service and have made the process a smooth one for us."
2018-11-21T13:18:01+00:00
"You have exceeded our expectations for a buy-side property service and have made the process a smooth one for us."
"Relentlessly provided us with the context and facts we needed to make an informed decision "
2018-11-21T12:50:28+00:00
"Relentlessly provided us with the context and facts we needed to make an informed decision "
"We found the service extremely helpful and professional at all times"
2020-01-13T11:51:31+00:00
"We found the service extremely helpful and professional at all times"
“We want to thank you so much for the very professional and sensitive support you have given us in navigating through the various properties we have considered for investment of our small inheritance.”
2018-11-05T22:55:02+00:00
“We want to thank you so much for the very professional and sensitive support you have given us in navigating through the various properties we have considered for investment of our small inheritance.”
"You have an empathetic approach which, added to your knowledge and wise guidance, has made the whole thing a lot less stressful"
2018-11-21T13:17:15+00:00
"You have an empathetic approach which, added to your knowledge and wise guidance, has made the whole thing a lot less stressful"
"They didn’t try to persuade us to buy anything unsuitable."
2018-11-21T12:57:31+00:00
"They didn’t try to persuade us to buy anything unsuitable."
"You have found us a superb home which we feel fortunate to call our own."
2018-11-21T13:18:39+00:00
"You have found us a superb home which we feel fortunate to call our own."
"We were moving country – had booked the packers – and had nowhere to move into!"
2018-11-21T13:12:46+00:00
"We were moving country – had booked the packers – and had nowhere to move into!"
"...took just days to come up with the property that fitted all our criteria"

Sunday Telegraph

2018-11-06T13:59:47+00:00

Sunday Telegraph

"...took just days to come up with the property that fitted all our criteria"
"extremely helpful, knowledgeable and tireless in their efforts to assist us"
2018-11-21T12:33:22+00:00
"extremely helpful, knowledgeable and tireless in their efforts to assist us"
"always courteous and pleasant, and most importantly, in our opinion, trustworthy."
2018-11-21T12:19:57+00:00
"always courteous and pleasant, and most importantly, in our opinion, trustworthy."
"Many thanks for your hard work and patience in assisting in buying our property. You made the whole process infinitely less stressful than it might have been"
2020-01-13T11:50:30+00:00
"Many thanks for your hard work and patience in assisting in buying our property. You made the whole process infinitely less stressful than it might have been"
"You were able, by taking on much of the responsibility and the effort, to enable us to relax and enjoy the process"
2018-11-21T13:21:20+00:00
"You were able, by taking on much of the responsibility and the effort, to enable us to relax and enjoy the process"
"We now own a most suitable house in the position of our dreams thanks to Stacks"
2018-11-21T13:11:13+00:00
"We now own a most suitable house in the position of our dreams thanks to Stacks"
"Because I had invested in the process of working with a Buying Agent, I had the confidence to go ahead"
2018-11-21T12:21:23+00:00
"Because I had invested in the process of working with a Buying Agent, I had the confidence to go ahead"
"In essence, you are buying your best ally "
2018-11-21T12:47:38+00:00
"In essence, you are buying your best ally "
"a fantastic job in impossible circumstances"
2018-11-21T12:17:11+00:00
"a fantastic job in impossible circumstances"
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
2018-11-21T12:53:20+00:00
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
“We really enjoyed working with Sara and Stacks and would highly recommend having them on your side in the home buying process”
2019-06-19T13:54:55+00:00
“We really enjoyed working with Sara and Stacks and would highly recommend having them on your side in the home buying process”
"Encouraging me to think creatively about what could work for me."
2020-02-27T09:49:08+00:00
"Encouraging me to think creatively about what could work for me."
"I needed the continuous advice and support on the many issues that can and do arise, and, above all, someone acting in one’s own interest."
2018-11-21T12:44:59+00:00
"I needed the continuous advice and support on the many issues that can and do arise, and, above all, someone acting in one’s own interest."
"Finding a plot not yet on the market and persuading the developer to enter into an exclusive contract with me to build to my specification."
2020-02-27T09:48:25+00:00
"Finding a plot not yet on the market and persuading the developer to enter into an exclusive contract with me to build to my specification."
"Through the whole process they went above and beyond, and it was worth every penny!"
2018-11-21T12:59:15+00:00
"Through the whole process they went above and beyond, and it was worth every penny!"
"Without somebody on the ground asking the right questions on our behalf, finding a home would have been truly impossible."
2018-11-21T13:15:37+00:00
"Without somebody on the ground asking the right questions on our behalf, finding a home would have been truly impossible."
“Thank you very much.  We are very excited on the purchase of the flat as well.  Sara has been instrumental in every aspect, we are blessed to have her on our side.
2019-12-06T09:48:50+00:00
“Thank you very much.  We are very excited on the purchase of the flat as well.  Sara has been instrumental in every aspect, we are blessed to have her on our side.”
"Despite other interested parties, Stacks were able to help us secure our preferred property."
2018-11-21T12:32:12+00:00
"Despite other interested parties, Stacks were able to help us secure our preferred property."
"a calming, guiding presence where nothing was too much trouble"
2018-11-21T12:13:26+00:00
"a calming, guiding presence where nothing was too much trouble"
"I gained a house, setting and location which are right for me"
2018-11-21T12:43:48+00:00
"I gained a house, setting and location which are right for me"
"You saved me many miles of driving and were very professional"
2018-11-21T13:19:40+00:00
"You saved me many miles of driving and were very professional"
"Thank you very much for the professionalism, patience and understanding"
2018-11-21T12:55:04+00:00
"Thank you very much for the professionalism, patience and understanding"
"You we able to give us confidence that we were doing the right thing"
2018-11-21T13:20:39+00:00
"You we able to give us confidence that we were doing the right thing"
"You made a huge difference to our search as I am sure you do for all your clients."
2019-05-02T11:00:08+00:00
"You made a huge difference to our search as I am sure you do for all your clients."
"How extraordinary to have found what we were looking for"
2018-11-21T12:42:07+00:00
"How extraordinary to have found what we were looking for"
"utterly tenacious..."
2018-11-21T13:06:52+00:00
"utterly tenacious..."
"Practically, I needed someone to do the legwork and the eye-balling"
2018-11-21T12:49:38+00:00
"Practically, I needed someone to do the legwork and the eye-balling"
"We love the house and cannot wait to move in and get settled."
2018-11-21T13:10:27+00:00
"We love the house and cannot wait to move in and get settled."
"great value to us during a difficult, competitive purchase"
2018-11-21T12:39:48+00:00
"great value to us during a difficult, competitive purchase"
"found precisely what I was looking for, and even on my request made an offer before I had even seen the property!!"
2018-11-21T12:35:46+00:00
"found precisely what I was looking for, and even on my request made an offer before I had even seen the property!!"
"I would recommend using Stacks as they are well connected to the property market and provide a realistic assessment of activity and pricing."
2018-11-21T12:45:49+00:00
"I would recommend using Stacks as they are well connected to the property market and provide a realistic assessment of activity and pricing."
"We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to anyone thinking of using such a service"
2018-11-21T13:13:46+00:00
"We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to anyone thinking of using such a service"
"was fantastic at explaining and helping us with everything that was happening"
2018-11-21T13:07:43+00:00
"was fantastic at explaining and helping us with everything that was happening"
"Stacks takes great pride in their service, is an expert in their field and above all, demonstrated integrity in all our interaction with them"
2018-11-21T12:54:09+00:00
"Stacks takes great pride in their service, is an expert in their field and above all, demonstrated integrity in all our interaction with them"
"It made a potentially very stressful process very straightforward"
2018-11-21T12:48:37+00:00
"It made a potentially very stressful process very straightforward"
"found us a home in a sought-after area with a high demand for properties and very little on offer"
2018-11-21T12:37:14+00:00
"found us a home in a sought-after area with a high demand for properties and very little on offer"
"Stacks had the critical combination of expertise and tenacity to broker a solution for us"
2018-11-21T12:52:31+00:00
"Stacks had the critical combination of expertise and tenacity to broker a solution for us"
"got our offer accepted even when it was not the highest"
2018-11-21T12:38:34+00:00
"got our offer accepted even when it was not the highest"
"Should I move again, I shall definitely use you again"
2018-11-21T12:51:23+00:00
"Should I move again, I shall definitely use you again"
"We are delighted with our choice and so are the children."
2018-11-21T13:08:49+00:00
"We are delighted with our choice and so are the children."
"We were in a tricky housing situation, looking to buy a very specific type of house and needing to find it in a very specific time frame"
2018-11-21T13:12:00+00:00
"We were in a tricky housing situation, looking to buy a very specific type of house and needing to find it in a very specific time frame"
"...negotiate on anything"

Financial Times

2018-11-06T14:00:36+00:00

Financial Times

"...negotiate on anything"
"You gave a much-valued ‘younger’ perspective on our situation, which was a real asset"
2020-01-13T11:52:01+00:00
"You gave a much-valued ‘younger’ perspective on our situation, which was a real asset"
"delivered a great service at a reasonable cost"
2018-11-21T12:30:52+00:00
"delivered a great service at a reasonable cost"
"I completely underestimated how much of a difference you would make"
2018-11-21T12:43:03+00:00
"I completely underestimated how much of a difference you would make"
"Stacks were a tremendous help and we would never have found our home without them. She is a lovely person with a great sense of humour which was essential during some of our tricky negotiations"
2020-01-13T11:52:24+00:00
"Stacks were a tremendous help and we would never have found our home without them. She is a lovely person with a great sense of humour which was essential during some of our tricky negotiations"
"Well done in taking us to a house we didn’t know we wanted … and then fell in love with!"
2018-11-21T13:14:45+00:00
"Well done in taking us to a house we didn’t know we wanted … and then fell in love with!"
"Your advice on how to effectively instruct and motivate our professional team allowed us to complete in one month."
2018-11-21T13:22:31+00:00
"Your advice on how to effectively instruct and motivate our professional team allowed us to complete in one month."

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