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About estat_eagent_ni

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  1. Hi folks Thanks for some of the positive comments - it is appreciated. I sometimes am unsure as to whether I should post as I know that we are not the most loved people on this site!! Anyway this is my last post of 2008 and I will drop back in spring of 2009 to give you a feel for what is going on then. I have replied directly to a few of your posts below: Doccyboy - thanks for positive note and good luck on moderator role!! If you are ever looking to buy or sell in Belfast or the surrounding location we may end up doing business. Lagansider - My feelings on the new build apartments are not positive. We have sold a number of 'second hand' apartments recently and have achieved only close to 50% of the peak prices. We also have a number on our books that are not moving even those that have reduced by close to £100k from peak. If I was considering whether to go ahead and buy a new build apartment that I was contracted to purchase it would depend on a number of factors; what will it cost me to get out of this? legally can I get out of it? can I afford it once I buy it? am I prepared to wait years before it reaches it's purchase price again? I would hate to be in that position and I know many are. On the legal front I know there is a case being taken to the high court relating to just this - time will tell if these contracts are enforced. Joe - I think we need to bear in mind that most properties sale agreed go for below asking price at the minute. However, these prices may still seem high and certainly compared to a few years ago they are. I think that most FTBs that we sell to have decided they want a house now and don't want to wait any longer. I suppose it comes down to personal choice and not wanting to rent anymore or just getting married etc. Sogy - I have read a number of your posts and know you are a pretty level headed poster so I am happy to comment. I think it is only right to try and pass on the truth as to what is happening in the market and I am prepared to do this both on here and when I discuss the market with buyers and sellers. At the end of the day EAs can only sell a property at what someone is willing to pay for it. I accept that an agents duty is to their client but in the current market it is an achievement to move a property from 'for sale' to 'sale agreed' and we have managed this recentlty. I think in the current market all I can do is tell vendors what I honestly feel is happening in the market and what else we are selling and at what prices, after this it is up to each client as to what they will accept for their property. In our defence I did sell a property recently that received bidding from 155k to 165k - so I am trying my best to secure the highest possible price and always will!! Headmelter - In a word yes. I think it will take some time before we see property at the upper end moving and it may be well into 2010 before we have a somewhat 'normal' market for these properties. I think part of the problem is this terraced house at peak £200k - reduce by 50% to sell means a £100k reduction. Detached that was £500k at peak - reduce by 50% to sell means a £250k reduction - same percentage but very different bottom line and people have difficulty dealing with this. This in my mind is part of the problem. This is slightly over simplified as I feel that detached properties may not fall as much as the terraced but again time will tell. Once again seasons greeting to all. I will keep an eye on what is going on over the coming months and as always learn something valuable from the forum I'm sure.
  2. Hi As some of you will know I drop in now and again to give you my thoughts on the market. As it is approaching the end of the year I thought I would summarise what we have seen over 2008 and what I think might happen in 2009. Before I get accused of ramping or being a bull - anyone that has read my previous posts will know that I have been more bearish than some on here!! The tone of the market, media and indeed this forum has changed significantly this year - we know we are in the middle of a serious crash and the debate now seems to centre around when it will reach bottom and where the bottom lies. In our office we have seen a number of sales recently where prices have been 40-50% down from the peak of 2007. Is this where the bottom lies? I'm not so sure as anything can happen, however, the houses we have priced at those levels are generating interest and attracting some offers. It has been a very tough year for all involved with the housing market. The uncertainty makes it difficult for Vendors, Buyers, Agents, Bankers, Surveyors, Builders etc. etc. A lot of people are in serious trouble and there will most certainly be further evidence of this throughout 2009. I am not looking for sympathy for all those concerned and there are villians in this whole shambles (indeed some will lay the blame at Estate Agents doors - but that is a whole debate on its own!!), but at this time of year I think we should all take a deep breath and reflect on the difficulties that some are experiencing. I wish the last few years had never happened - and on a personal level it really annoys me how our homes became investments. Home ownership is something my parents worked real hard to achieve and it was not about the money they would make from their 'investment' - it was all about providing a safe, happy, secure 'home' for our family. The sooner we get back to these core values the better. My attitude has always been the same and there is a good feeling when selling a home to a couple or family than selling to investors. However, as we all know investors are needed and there will always be a place for them too. In my mind 2008 was the start of the correction and we are beginning to see some sensibly priced property. Over the last few months we have completed more sales than earlier in the year and this is solely down to the reduced prices attracting buyers to the market. We are finding that properties below £100k and semis in popular residential locations priced below £175k are attracting the most interest. The buyers are typically first time buyers - at the lower end would be the average wage earners and the semis are going to professional couples who have at least a 10% deposit. Properties further up the chain are struggling to move. I think the biggest problem we continue to have is the unrealistic pricing. If we could have a fall of 50% from peak across all houses we would probably see a housing market. Vendors who are cuurently selling at these levels are typically not moving up the chain. They are distressed sellers, people who have inherited, divorces etc. So although we have sales going through this is not generating any real activity across the market. The biggest problem we have at the minute is vendors making the following point after we give them a realistic valuation 'But how could I sell at that price as I could not afford to buy the house I'm after as it has not dropped that much?' Our response is quite often along the lines of ' If you manage to get yours sale agreed you will be in a great position and will be able to negotiate a real bargain - we know of sales that have agreed at £40-£50k below asking.' However, this represnts a leap of faith and not many vendors are willing to work this way. Unfortunately this means the crash will take longer to sort itself out than it should - with vendors dropping 10-20% then another few % then taking it off, putting it back on dropping again etc etc. So for the year ahead I expect much of the same – prices coming down bit by bit and maybe by the end of 2009 we will see average drops of 40% - 50% from the peak. Will this be enough to get things moving? I think this will depend on the wider economy and how willing the banks are to lend. To be honest having witnessed some of the economic catastrophes over 2008 I think we can expect anything in 2009. Just a quick note on rentals as I have seen some debate on this. Rents have most definately come down and landlords are finding it tougher to let property - especially older property that is not modern etc. In some cases I would guess that rents have dropped by 25%. And if you are looking to rent don't hesitate to negotiate on the price. I know as agents we are always willing to do this as it is better for landlords to have a property let and receive £50 less than it is to have the property lie empty. Anyway that's me for now - I will keep an eye on this post over the next few days and try to give honest reply to any queries raised. Anyway have a nice Christmas and here's hoping 2009 will bring us all what we want!!
  3. Agree and the sooner we get back to thinking of a house as a home and not an investment then the sooner we get a healthy sustainable housing market. Anyway that's me done for the next few months - will drop in again and give my thoughts as to how things are going in a few months time. As for now just glad that the boss is letting me have a few days off on holiday!!
  4. Hi folks It has been some time now since I last posted and I thought I would drop by and let you know how things have been over the last few months. For those of you that have not read any of my previous posts you will see I was trying to give an honest opinion (please no abuse!!) of the market quite a number of months ago when other agents were continuing to talk the market up. Up to now 2008 has proved to be a very difficult year for all concerned in the property business and quite a number of agencies have shut up shop. What I don't understand is what the majority of these agents did with all the profits they made over the boom years - I suppose bought over inflated properties and fancy cars? Ok - so that may be the case and I think we all need to think of the 'rainy days' that are often only around the corner. I expect to see more casualties before the end of the crash and I know that a number of the very big agents are finding things very tough at the moment. As I may have said before I don't own 'investment properties' and have a number of family and friends that have not been able to get on the market over the last couple of years. Thankfully things are heading in the right direction for first time buyers and I think this is to be welcomed. Any market needs to be sustainable and the housing market here in the last few years has not been. I am advising friends and family only to buy at the minute if properties are significantly reduced in comparision to last year and only if they don't want to take a small risk and wait a couple more years. We are a nation of homeowners and I have owned and rented in the past - have always liked the idea of owning my own home but renting is a very sound option that is certainly attractive at the minute. The market remains very slow at the moment and the only properties that we are selling are typically 30-40% lower in price than last year. That said if a house goes on the market at this type of reduction it is attracting interest. I think this will continue for the next 6-8 months with little selling. Part of the problem is that some agents continue to overprice houses. I have been out on a number of valuations recently and have come in 10%-20% lower than most agents and in one case 30% lower (this particular house I valued at £250 and went on with another agent at £325 - it was only a fair price even at £250k!!! - I note it has now dropped after 6 weeks to 270). That said there are people accepting what is going on and are making an effort with their prices - however, I still very much get potetial sellers saying 'but last year they got £xxx' or 'I need £xxx' - people are quite stubborn and it will take another 1-2 years for the memories of the boom to fade. I must say I don't quite understand why agents are continuing to overvalue property - can it be that some genuinely believe they can 'keep prices high' and initiate a sellers strike like I remember one agent suggesting!! If this is the case they are deluded - I have some limited knowledge of ecomomics and know that there is a graph that shows prices are driven by demand and supply. When there is little demand and an over supply of a product prices go down - until an equilibrium is reached. At the minute we are some way from equilibrium. As for the future I think we are seeing maybe 2-3% of houses at the minute that represent fair/good value (based on the current market) - the rest would appear to be overvalued and will inevitably come down in price. I expect to see some sort of normailty return to the market no earlier than 2010. This year will continue to see falls and some slower falls over 2009. I think more importantly that by 2010 we should see a return to standard differentials in an area -by this I mean we should get away from the situation were houses in the same street/area can vary in price by almost 40% for effectively the same type of house!! Thankfully the comapny I work for is well run and professional (we really are not all the same) and although things are tough we are hanging in there and managing to run the business in the most difficult of times - something to do with not driving porsches!!! I look forward to the market getting back to normal and prices getting within the reach of first time buyers - our company will be all the stronger for it. Bye for now. Cheers
  5. I would agree that the biggest problem is in the terrace market and prices here may have to fall furthest. However, the entire stock of housing is over valued - even in the perceived better areas with large semis and detached houses. Don't have anyone fool you into believing that these properties are selling at asking price. We have a good stock of quality housing in Belfast and NOTHING is getting any significant interest or viewings. At the end of the day it is a chain and if one link (ie terrace housing) is broken then it is not long before the entire chain will break!! As those looking to move up the chain have to take 20-30% for their terrace property then they will be able to afford less to make the next move to the semi and so on up the chain.
  6. Hi HPC Have not posted in a while but felt compelled to when I read your post. I would agree with the figure of 20% - I believe that is the figure that would be needed in order to give properties a 'chance' of selling. I agree that most properties on the market and those coming on to the market are not reflecting this 20% decrease - but then again none of these properties are selling. The problem put simply is as follows Estate agent values a property and gives a value 20% less than other houses in the area. The vendor is very unlikey to accept this as they will say something like ' but the one across the road is 20% higher - let's put mine on at 5% less that should do the trick'. Property goes on at this inflated price and will not sell. The only people dropping by 20-30% at present are those that must sell. Most people are holding on to see what will happen. In my opinion only one thing can happen - prices will go down in order to make property affordable for first time buyers once again. I have said before I expect drops of up to 20% by end of year - this will probably not be for every property on the market as some people will continue to be stubborn and refuse to face reality. I know that most people I carry out valuations for now know that the bubble has burst and are starting to put their houses on at lower prices (in region of 5-10% compared to other houses in area) but this will not become common place until spring/summer when everyone will realise that a slight tweak to interest rates and the 'spring bounce' have done nothing to change the fact that houses for first time buyers are not affordable. Do not be concerned that first time buyers will not wait for prices to drop - they have no choice. We are aware of a few first time buyers in the market place at present but most cannot afford to borrow £180,000 to live in a 3 bed terrace. Unfortunately from your point of view people here can be a bit blinkered - even with all the news regarding prices and the economy in general I have heard people say things like 'aye but thats in England - its not the same here we could never have a house price crash'. Because of this it might take longer for the adjustment here, however, I believe at the end of it all we will have the biggest correction of any area in the UK. Look at the figures - we are about the highest ratio of slaries to house prices - this means one thing only - we have furthest to fall. Hope this helps.
  7. Simple because they can - my company makes a point of not doing this as I personally have been on the receiving end of this practice in the past and feel it is a total rip off by dodgy estate agents.
  8. Ah interesting question and one which I suppose I should put some lovely VI spin and say something like 'Oh yes best to buy now there are real bargains and around and after interest rate cut things will be moving in new year' but then I'd be telling lies!!! To be fair I will try to be as balanced as possible - the answer is no I do not think it is a good time to buy. If you are able to pick up a property 20% below market value then it is worth considering especially if it is to make your home in for the next few years. I think prices have much further to go, however, it is difficult to know when the bottom will be - will it be 1, 2 , 3+ years if so do you want to wait that long before you have your own home. It is a personal choice in my opinion and I do know what it is like to both rent and own a property and there are differences both good and bad (one of the good things about renting is that the wife never had me decorating!!). My advice for what is worth is wait at least another 6 months and see how the market goes. Although as with everyone on here I have no crystal ball and it all comes down to personal circumstances at the end of the day. Anyway off out today so will try to forget about house prices this weekend.
  9. Yes there are dozens of them on the wall behind me at the minute and guess what - very little viewers, no offers, one or two sale agreeing if the are significantly reduced compared to other property in the area. By 'perfect' I trust you mean 2 bed terrace properties that we expect young hard working couples to pay £160-£200k for. In my experience the majority of investors (speculators) are waiting too until things pick up in spring/summer and they will then sell them at early 2007 figures!! Many are letting them out in the meantime. Here is an example Speculator bought earlier this year at £160,000 (after some serious bidding up) spent £10,000 doing up and looking to achieve £190,000+ for property now. Currently paying large mortgage on property so may let it for 6 months and only have to pay £300-£400 per month on mortgage until prices come back and they can get what they need next year.
  10. Belfast boy I have read most of your posts and do believe you have a good handle on the current situation and tend to make your arguments in a balanced and fair way. As for your comment above you could not be ore correct - I knew of the problems back in June of this year but found it very difficult to convince vendors that things were indeed slowing. However, know when I carry out valuations every single person says something along the lines of ' I know it is different and things are not selling' or 'The houses in this area have been for sale for 4-5 mths and nothing happening'. This makes my job easier. However, my biggest frustration is the fact that although everyone knows it has slowed (stopped) they are still unwilling to put a price on the property that might actually sell it. I think the problem is that most owner occupiers are selling to move on up the ladder and if the corresponding prices for the properties they aspire to are still overpriced then they are reluctant to reduce their price. I hope that makes sense. I think we need everyone to agree to a 25% drop overnight and we might get things moving!! An example of what is happening at the minute I value a house in an area where average price is £285,000 (based on houses on market over last 6 months) - these houses are not selling. I tell vendor that to have a chance of selling it would need to go on at £250,000 (even that might not do it - one we sold recently was £65,000 (25%) below average price - had been with another agent at £45,000 below average for a few months and did not sell!). They say but I am looking at moving to an area where houses currently average £350,000 I couldn't take that. Property goes on with us or another agent at £280,000 (slight reduction from vendor). Vendor says we will wait and see what happens next year - 'property has to sell after all - people want to move' Property will not sell. So the problem is that the only people significantly reducing prices at the minute are those that need to sell or investors. I want to see prices come back to affordable levels this is on a personal level for various reasons. I am concerned that it will take years to get to the bottom and things won't happen overnight but do think when the miracle of spring sees little change to the market people will start to reuce by significant amounts.
  11. No problems tara to be honest I get very annoyed at some of the comments in the local press!!
  12. Hi I have not posted for a while due to a number of other issues - not least the continued decline of the Northern Ireland housing market!! Anyway have been keeping an eye on the forum and thought I would drop in and offer my thoughts on the current situation. There have been some very interesting developments recently with a number of agents Helen Kennedy / One stop mortgage shop Morton / Pinpoint Jeff Raine closes office on Upper N'Ards Rd / Taken over by Templeton McAfee estate agents And in my opinion the most interesting and significant Cairns / BTW coming together. If these changes are not a sign of things to come then I don't know what is! I find it amazing that some of the agents mentioned above had been talking about house price increases next year and yet appear to be consolidating for the times ahead. I would go as far to say that some of the comments made recently in the press about the property market here have been outright lies and any unsuspecting first time buyer acting on them will have been badly misled. Onto a few situations I can comment on directly A significant number of vendors now waiting to early next year to see if the market picks up again. It will not. I expect to see significant price drops from Feb/Mar next year continuing into the summer and more importantly I would expect the increases to be accross the bulk of the housing stock that has been on the market since July/Aug this year (quite a few houses!!). We recently 'Sale Agreed' a number of properties approximately 30% below the average asking price in the area. These are the only properties moving at the minute and very few viewings. I accept that this is Xmas and the seasonal factors kick in - but again this is another smoke screen being used by agents. First it was 'it's the summer this is traditionally a slow time in NI housing market' then 'Sept/Oct is slow but we expect things to pick up at the end of the year' now 'it's Xmas things always quiet just wait until the new year'. It is not going to happen house prices are much too high. I have read a few agents saying that houses in the upper end of the market and in the best locations are still moving - LIES - we have a significant number of properties in this category and nothing happening just like the others. I am aware of a number of other agents who have sale agreed nothing in the last 10 weeks. Agents have started to consider thier future prospects and although a lot of money was made over the last couple of years - some of that is tied up in their BTL portfolios!! I expect further mergers and closures next year - agents will also be very keen for current vendors to drop prices and they will apply pressure from early next year. Finally what I think will happen. People will start to realise that they are not going to achieve current asking prices and we will see a significant number of reductions over the course of the next year . This will take place from Feb/Mar onward. Think initially we will see people drop prices by no more than £5,000 / £10,000 on houses valued around £200,000 (so approx 5% drops initially) - this will have no effect and meanwhile new properties coming to the market will be 10% lower than the properties that have been on the market a while. Still property will not shift to the extent that people would like and by the end of 2008 we will see prices come back a further 10% - so my opinion is we will see 5/10% drops on current prices by July next year and 20% by the end of 2008. A house currently on the market at £200,000 will be £180,000 in July and £160,000 in Decemeber. But time will tell!!!! Hope this gives a bit of insight into what's happening out there.
  13. Not a bad idea but to be honest I dont think Im suited to this industry - it is difficult to be a nice guy and an estate agent - think bad times ahead and might consider something else in the new year. On the point regarding high prices still being put on property - look at the difference in these two!! Just shows how far out some prices currently are. http://www.propertynews.com/brochure.php?r...amp;p=PNC292178
  14. Thanks. To be honest I am pretty fed up at the minute as it is no fun working in a market that does not exist. I just get so annoyed at the agents who try to talk up the market or worse still suggest that sellers should keep their prices at the same levels - this is just prolonging the agony.
  15. I can offer some insight into the current silly prices. A valuation of a property goes something like this EA Ok properties in the area are currently on the market at 200k. However they are getting no viewers and will not sell at the current prices. Owner Ok should we reduce the price a bit? What will it take to sell? EA Maybe £160 - £170k but no guarantees at minute. Owner I couldnt take that. Next door sold for £220 5 months ago. EA Ok will we try it at £180k then? Owner No let's just put it on at £200k. You never know. EA OK but dont think it will sell. The current housing market here is non existent and gets worse by the day.
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