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Muswell Hillbilly

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Everything posted by Muswell Hillbilly

  1. They definitely devoted a couple of minutes to it on the TV bulletin at 1330 today. There was a brief report, which included a surveyor, then a chat in the studio between the presenter and their correspondent. They did in fact point out that lower prices are good for FTBs and that a ‘buyers’ market’ also benefits people who have already sold their home and are looking for one to buy. They didn’t just make out ‘woe is me, the end is nigh, house prices are falling’. As it was on the main lunchtime bulletin, here’s hoping it will be in the full news programme at 1830.
  2. I’m just posting this as a single example of where real money is being lost on property (which ‘only ever goes up’) – this time on a top-end New Town flat. I just happened to notice that the property featured on the cover of the latest ESPC paper (7 July edition) has a reference number below 300000, suggesting that it has been on the market for a good long time. I looked it up using Property Bee and found that it has in fact been for sale since 17 January. The property is here: 7 Randolph Cliff, OIRO 650K The current owner says he has lived in the property four years, so I assume it is the one at 7 Randolph Cliff which changed hands on 29 May 2007 for £700,000. The Home Report valuation now is £700,000, but the flat is on the market for OA 650K. Assuming it sells for around that amount, it will still represent a real loss of about £50,000. It’s possible that this is back-of-the-sofa small change for the owner of a flat like this, but it’s still fifty thousand quid.
  3. Comparing Apr–Jun with Jan–Mar, it is a very small spring bounce this year, by Edinburgh standards: just 5.8%. The equivalent city-wide increases for the last few years were 9.8% in 2010, 6.1% in 2009, 11.3% in 2008, and 9.7% in 2007. The sales volumes are so very low, however, that there is a lot of noise in these figures. I have been looking around for sales prices in Marchmont and Bruntsfield from the last month, now that ourproperty.co.uk and so on have been updated, and it is just a handful of flats which sold. Of particular interest to me is the Marchmont/Bruntsfield average Q2 price in the ESPC report, which is the lowest Q2 figure since 2006. Apart from Q1 2011, which was slightly lower – Marchmont/Bruntsfield had a 1.1% spring bounce – it is the lowest figure since Q1 2009. Anyway, it has all gone dead for the summer. I shall try to stop looking now, and wait for a rise in activity in the autumn. Q3 prices are usually, but not always, down from Q2
  4. Thanks, espc – the new site is looking pretty good. One thing that would be hugely useful would be to require your agents/solicitors to state the size of each property, in square metres, and to enable searches based on this, e.g. three-bedroom flats which are over 110 m². This would enable one to search for genuine three-bedroom flats, for instance, filtering out the two-bedroom tenement flats where the boxroom has been turned into a wee kitchen. Since the surface area is recorded in the Home Reports, it is surely available for every property on the market. It is a far more useful indicator of size and value than the ridiculous number of ‘bedrooms’ and is, of course, how the rest of the world does things outwith the UK and Ireland. Would it be possible at least to feed this request back to the ESPC management? Thanks!
  5. How likely is a sale to fall through under the Scottish system, though? If a buyer has an offer accepted but isn’t able to get as far as Conclusion of Missives (which I suppose is like Exchange of Contracts in England and Wales), does he/she get sued for the deposit and more besides? Also, I see the flat is identified as PF3, a form which I’ve not seen for a while – GF3 would be more common – but does anyone know why ground-floor flats in Edinburgh sometimes have the letter P in their names? It isn’t by any chance from the French ‘par terre’, is it?
  6. ‘Sinecures’ is the word you’re looking for!
  7. Are other people in Edinburgh finding, like me, that supply has suddenly dried up completely? Virtually nothing in my search has come to the market this week, and I expect that’s how it will remain until the autumn now. It’s boring how the market in Edinburgh is so incredibly seasonal. I suppose the existing stock will gradually get either sold or withdrawn over the summer, but let’s hope some more comes to the market in the early autumn, or otherwise we’ll be back where we were at the end of 2009 – nothing for sale, and prices going back up. With near-zero interest rates, I can well imagine this being the case.
  8. I always check the latest details on the ESPC web site to see whether it still says Sundays 2–4 for viewing before I set out to look at any flat. If this ceases to be the case, then one would hope that the information would be updated on the site!
  9. I went to view three flats today, all of them bog-standard two-bedroom tenement flats in Marchmont. In two of them, nobody answered the buzzer, presumably because they are so used to nobody turning up on a Sunday that they no longer bother waiting in. In the third of them, 33/4 Lauderdale Street, which has only just come to the market, I saw the sheet from the first open viewing last Thursday – a big fat zero had been written down by the person representing the agents – and nobody had been in during the hour prior to my turning up on Sunday. The flat needs a new kitchen and complete redecoration yet still they want over £275K for it, even though it appears to be, and the representative of the agent said it is, part of an estate after somebody’s death. If even a flat which is new to the market has no viewers, and the owners of those which have been on the market for a few weeks no longer bother turning up for open viewings, surely prices will have to head down. Or was the lack of interest today caused entirely by the unusually hot and humid weather in Edinburgh? As others such as ccc have observed elsewhere, prices at the bottom end of the market have fallen substantially. I think the middle of the market is also on its way down. The average sale price for these kinds of flats is now below 250K according to the ESPC, and there has been no spring bounce: according to the extremely useful ESPC spreadsheet, from April to May 2010 the quarterly average leapt from £269K to £290K, but from April to May 2011 it was entirely static at about £248K. The prices of the much rare three-bedroom flats in Marchmont/Bruntsfield are still holding up, over 300K – one on Warrender Park Road which had an asking price of 305K recently went under offer very quickly – but surely their prices must also follow suit in a downward direction. My only worry is that with near-zero interest rates and no significant increase in unemployment, there are negligible forced sales, so the sale stock that is sitting on the market over the summer will just be quietly withdrawn over the autumn, supply will fall to nothing, and prices will go back up, just as they did in late 2009/early 2010. Has anyone else been out on any viewings today in any other parts of Edinburgh?
  10. From the article: Edinburgh's traditional stock, in particular, has an enviable record of being almost immune to any of the price falls common in other parts of the kingdom Well that’s a lie, for starters. Two-bedroom tenement flats in Marchmont and Bruntsfield are as ‘traditional’ as ‘stock’ can be. The average sale price according to the ESPC from March to May 2011 was £248,388, whereas just a year earlier, it was £292,030 – a 15% drop, by my reckoning. Judging by the lack of interest at open Sunday viewings, I think it will fall further still.
  11. I can’t see any twigs in vases in the photos, so it can’t be worth half the asking price. I do like the verb ‘to beeny’, though! That’s a great coining, GBdamo!
  12. Out of sheer curiosity, I have just done some sums, concerning buying and letting flats in my local area. I noticed that a festival let for the whole of August, for a flat in Marchmont which can accommodate up to three couples, costs in the order of £3,000–3,200 – let’s say £3,100. Also I see that an HMO for three people, normally in a two-bedroom flat, costs around £1,100 per month. Assuming a flat is rented by students for eleven months of the year and by festival-goers for the whole of August, the total rental income for the year could be 11 × £1,100 + £3,100 = £15,200. The current sale price for flats like this is around £250,000, and this has come down from around £320,000 at the height of the bubble. According to moneyfacts.co.uk, the cheapest BTL mortgages have an interest rate of about 5% and a maximum LTV of around 75%. Let’s say somebody buys a £250,000 flat: they have to stump up £62,500 for a deposit, and then borrow £187,500. Using Karl’s Mortgage Calculator, I see that the monthly repayments over 25 years would be £1,093.18. Therefore the annual mortgage costs would be £13,100, and the total rental income woule be £15,200. Take off agents’ fees, voids, repairs etc., and it looks like at best any such landlord would only just about break even, and this is after sale prices have already fallen by about 20% from peak. To me, this suggests that such flats are still considerably over-valued, and any such BTL buying currently is based entirely on sentiment and on the expectation of capital growth. What does anyone else think? What flaws are there in my calculations and/or argument?
  13. The link is working now – thanks, ESPC! To me in Marchmont/Bruntsfield, it is a pleasure to see this for a change:
  14. Thanks very much for all those links! The ESPC link http://www.espc.com/house-price-news/edinburgh-house-price-reports/may-2011.html does not work at the moment, though, and there is no mention of the May report on the house price reports page. Maybe there are some last-minute corrections taking place. I’ll be more interested to see the full Q2 report in a month’s time, though, as historically we only had the quarterly reports. In 2010 Q2, the average city-wide price was £227,760, and the Marchmont/Bruntsfield price £290,068.
  15. I’ve just gone through the latest updates in my local area on OurProperty.co.uk (of course other sold-price web sites are available!) There has only been a handful of sales, and the prices are all over the place. I really do not understand why 27 (2F1) Thirlestane Road sold for its asking price of 295K. It is a standard two-bedroom tenement flat, a touch larger than the average (probably almost 100 m²), but in very average condition. I viewed it one Sunday in the autumn, and was the only person there. Also I notice it last changed hands three years previously, for 285K, and comparing the two schedules, nothing seems to have been done to it since then. I bet the seller couldn’t believe his luck when some mug offered full whack. Round the corner on Spottiswoode Street, 14 (1F2) sold for 250K on 4 April, after being on the market since 30 July 2010. Its asking prices went from OA 300, to OO 280, to OO 270. This is another illustration of how ‘offers over’ prices are meaningless, as the vendor accepted ‘offers under’ in the end. This was a bog-standard two-bedder in need of a lick of paint here and there. Previously 15/6 across the road, a bit bigger and in better nick, had sold for its full asking price of 285K. 47 (3F1) Spottiswoode Street sold for £307,500 after being on for FP 320. It is a genuine three-bedroom flat (maybe 120–130 m²) and, from the schedule, looks like quite nice condition. Presumably four students were included in the price, because the blurb says ‘with the benefit of an HMO licence. Currently tenanted until June 2011.’ That’s why I’m surprised it sold at all – just a landlord-to-landlord transfer, presumably. Also I see it last changed hands in June 2006 for 280K. And that is just about it for ‘prime Marchmont’ over the last month. It’s impossible to extrapolate any trends from three sales, so I shan’t bother! Does anyone else have observations of sale prices from their local areas?
  16. Sold! For £450,000 exactly, on 28 April! The best part of half a million quid for a dark basement in Marchmont, and sad proof that there are still people around with more money than sense. Thanks to OurProperty.co.uk for the monthly update which just arrived in my inbox.
  17. Two more optimistically priced flats from my local search: • 52 (3F2) Arden Street – ‘price guide’ 310K This is a ‘faux 3-bed’ flat, i.e. a 95 m² flat with a kitchen squashed into the boxroom. At £3,263/m² it is somewhat overpriced for the local area. However, last summer its neighbour, 52 (3F1) Arden Street, with its original two-bedroom formation, came to the market initially for OO 315, then OA 325, and, much to my amazement, it sold for 315K on 14 December. I think this is the highest price paid for a Marchmont two-bedder for a long time – almost bubble prices, actually, when a flat like that would probably have gone for 340K. So who knows, perhaps somebody with more mortgage then sense will pay 310K for its neighbour. • 21 (2F1) Falcon Gardens – OO 260K This weird one, on the surface of it, looks like reasonable value, as it claims to be a three-bedroom flat, in poor condition and in need of a new bathroom and kitchen and total redecoration. The schedule does not give the floor plan, but looking at the photo, there is an extra double window between the two bay windows, which could belong to an extra bedroom at the front. Unfortunately it turns out that the extra room belongs to the flat across the stair, and the ‘third bedroom’ of the flat for sale is actually the boxroom, but with a window, because it is an end-of-terrace flat and has side windows. The size is still 95 m², though. Why anybody would want to pay 260K for a flat like that which needs a lot of money spent on it, when a few doors away is another flat in lovely condition for the same price, is beyond me. Are people really so bamboozled by the number of bedrooms, and so blind to the actual size of the property? It’ll be an interesting one to watch. Incidentally, the increase in supply in my area seems almost to have stopped now. The number of properties in total on sale via the ESPC keeps trying to nudge towards 5,500 (it was only a few weeks ago that it reached 5,000), but is struggling to get there. I wonder whether the stock of properties on the market now is what we’re stuck with for the summer, after which some will sell, others will be withdrawn, and we’ll be left with limited supply, prices will rise again, etc. etc., rinse and repeat …
  18. It was thanks to the lovely Anne Ashworth that I discovered this site! I picked up a ‘Bricks and Mortar’ supplement that somebody had left on a bus, and there was a mention of housepricecrash.co.uk in it. And here I am, six and a half years later – I know I really should get out more …
  19. I just heard about this on You and Yours on Radio 4 (about 15 minutes into the programme). Now we know that soldiers were encouraged to ‘invest’ in property. Earlier this week we found out that the big care homes company Southern Cross sold and rented back its homes in order to maximise gains on property. Everyone was at it! It really does seem that one has to ‘invest’ in property in order to count for anything in this country – at least during the bubble years. I wonder how many more examples will come to light …
  20. The Edinburgh Spring Bounce is not here! I’ve been out viewing a few flats – two-bedroom tenement flats in Marchmont, Bruntsfield and Morningside, with asking prices from 255K to 275K, on the market from 6 weeks to over a year. The most noteworthy thing is that, on this spring Sunday in late May, we didn’t see anybody else viewing any of the five flats. We were only asked to sign a list in one of them, and there were two other names on the list – this was towards the very end of the two-hour viewing ‘window’ – and we don’t know whether they viewed the flat today or possibly last Sunday or the one before. One of the flats had a closing date set for this coming week – curiously, it was the one which needed the most work done and was the most expensive! Another had apparently had two notes of interest (it has been on the market for seven months and the owner recently switched to a new agent) but still no closing date. My anecdotal observation is that very few people seem to be interested in buying property at the moment in south Edinburgh. It was similarly dead when I viewed a few flats last autumn, but always at springtime I have encountered other people viewing. Even when I last looked at some flats, on 3 April this year, I encountered one or two other viewers; when I viewed one which was in need of repair in March 2010 there were loads of people viewing (and it went for an inflated price), and as for viewings in 2008, we could hardly move for the other people present. This year there is definitely no Edinburgh Spring Bounce. So what will happen next? Given the lack of forced sales, it is possible that most of these flats will be quietly withdrawn from the market at the end of the summer. Maybe the owners will accept offers of 250K and that will set the new price for the area. In one case the owners have already had an offer accepted on a property with more rooms (not necessarily larger!) in a cheaper area, due to another child being on the way – I doubt whether people like that will stay put forever in their Marchmont/Bruntsfield/Morningside two-bedroom flats. I think Mrs Hillbilly and I shall wait until the late summer and see what happens …
  21. 6/1 Warrender Park Terrace £375K for 110.46 m² = £3,395/m², so overpriced, even by local standards, by about 13%. Also it has a utility room in place of a boxroom – first time I’ve ever seen that particular combination!
  22. Well, not so long ago, it seems that Abbey were offering credit cards to rabbits.
  23. Two of them have Eyemouth addresses on Rightmove. I must admit I didn’t look into the exact locations – I just saw the name of a place I recognised and spouted forth with an ill-informed post! Because it is so sparsely populated around there, I suppose a post town like Eyemouth would cover a vast area of country, so the houses may be miles from Eyemouth despite their addresses.
  24. I have a friend who comes from Eyemouth. She says (forgive me if I’m paraphrasing here) that it’s full of inbreds and drug addicts! Although the landscape is undeniably beautiful …
  25. If the boxroom had a skylight, they could legitimately call it a second bedroom. As the boxroom does not have a skylight, I believe this blurb and the schedule are in contravention of the regulations. An internal boxroom with no external window cannot be called a bedroom. If you email ESPC, they will probably contact MOV8 and require that they change it. I did something similar with a flat in Marchmont a few months back. If the search function on this forum ever worked, I could dig out the post where I wrote about it!
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