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Hi, I had to register after being a lurker for a good while. I've checked a number of properties that are currently for sale around St Albans, and compared previously sold prices, and the vast majority of properties coming on the market now have often been sold for a lot less in the last 2-4 years. So initial prices seem to average a lot higher than peak 2007, rather than lower.

For example, a house a few doors from me was bought in mid-2007 by it's current owners for £325,000, and they've just sold it for something above £340,000 as far as I know.

There are often price drops, but EAs seem to start by adding 10-25% to what might be a reasonable price in the first place, so they can look good by then dropping the price, and it seems to work in a lot of cases.... It seems like people don't bother to check previously sold prices.

Does anyone else have any experience of what's going on around St Albans?

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Hi, I had to register after being a lurker for a good while. I've checked a number of properties that are currently for sale around St Albans, and compared previously sold prices, and the vast majority of properties coming on the market now have often been sold for a lot less in the last 2-4 years. So initial prices seem to average a lot higher than peak 2007, rather than lower.

For example, a house a few doors from me was bought in mid-2007 by it's current owners for £325,000, and they've just sold it for something above £340,000 as far as I know.

There are often price drops, but EAs seem to start by adding 10-25% to what might be a reasonable price in the first place, so they can look good by then dropping the price, and it seems to work in a lot of cases.... It seems like people don't bother to check previously sold prices.

Does anyone else have any experience of what's going on around St Albans?

I'll take that as a no then.... :)

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I'll take that as a no then.... :)

In a similar situation STR early last year and have been monitoring the area. EA's have recently been more open to offers I believe far below asking prices. They know that there's no correlation anymore.

I was looking at the sold prices on zoopla or similar site and the rabbit hutches - I mean new builds in Weatherall Mews off Watson's walk which mostly sold for £500k - the last one went for £330K! And (admittedly a probate) house near me sold for £340K asking price £440k. Both in Feb. There weren't many transactions in addition to those.

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I had a call from an EA the other day about a property that was on the market for £450,000. He told me that they'd consider offers 50K below that and "to ignore the asking price", which was interesting....

I suppose what we're seeing mostly is just a lack of movement, precisely because people aren't dropping their asking prices.

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Although it's good news (as the asking prices are crazily high) I wonder if it is a good tactic, as the vendor will have the inflated price in their head. The EA may advise them that this is their method (you'd hope) but potential sellers might evaluate their own property based on their neighbour's asking price and drag out the ordeal; perpetuating naivety re. the market.

I'll just keep looking up the sold prices for now. Although some properties are coming on at a more reasonable price (still a way to go though). If they're loading by £50k on to their perceived value then this has to be the starting point for negotiations. I'm heartened by their candor but also alarm bells ring.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This talk of increases in asking prices just makes me laugh. I keep an eye on a particular band of properties on Rightmove (300-400K, 3 bed houses with a garden and parking).

In the last 2 weeks 9 properties have gone on the market. True enough, their prices are high compared to much of what's already out there, but that's the point. There are over 100 other properties in that search, and probably 50% of them have been on the market for at least 6 months, many of them have been on the market for over a year.

I know i'm preaching to the converted, but it is ridiculous that the media report stuff like "increased buyer interest" (in other words, I called the EA to ask about a house - once) and "increased asking prices" as if they were real news...

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simples!.......

if a seller has a nice house in a nice street and is not desperate to sell they are likely to get a price within 10% off peak 2007.

a distressed seller of a poor house in a poor street is likely to get an offer at 35% off peak.

everything else is somewhere in between and both you and the seller will have an opinion on where it lies.

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Erm...the market is dictating where the price lies, that's why they're all still for sale. I agree the odd property still gets a good price, i've seen it happen a few times over the past year, but the overall trend remains.

Anyway, my point was just that the media suggest something is happening in the market, whereas my anecdotal evidence shows that what they are reporting is people's "desires", which aren't necessarily related to real transactions. Therefore it isn't news - except for those trying to talk up the market.

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It may be a bit of a generalisation, but there are very few people now who would put their house up for sale without real motivation behind it (ie it's imperative that they move). The writing is on the wall finally.

There may be some with a "put it up & wait & see because I fancy a change" attitude but that seems masochistic.

The original peak prices would have factored in the quality of the house & location and the correction should be the same percentage across the board. If they are not desperate why would it automatically follow that they would get an offer of just 10% below peak? Their motivation only presents itself in the asking price. It will just stay on the market for a long time. There aren't many people in a position to buy a house at 10% off peak (& I believe EA's are valuing houses at 20% above usual asking price currently).

That said the market is literally all over the place at the moment, so it's futile trying to rationalise it. Time will tell...

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That said the market is literally all over the place at the moment, so it's futile trying to rationalise it. Time will tell...

I occasionally take a peek at the rental market in St Albans and it's also all over the place. Take these examples from rightmove: we'll look at Windsor Court, a bland pile of modern rabbit hutches - but great for comparison purposes, as all the flats are basically identical.

You can get a 2-bed flat for £850. link

Or... take a look at this. You will have the "chance" to live in a penthouse - i.e. same flat as the first, but the sloping roof means you have a lot less usable space. For this, you will pay £1250 (approx 50% more).

Go figure :wacko:

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I occasionally take a peek at the rental market in St Albans and it's also all over the place. Take these examples from rightmove: we'll look at Windsor Court, a bland pile of modern rabbit hutches - but great for comparison purposes, as all the flats are basically identical.

You can get a 2-bed flat for £850. link

Or... take a look at this. You will have the "chance" to live in a penthouse - i.e. same flat as the first, but the sloping roof means you have a lot less usable space. For this, you will pay £1250 (approx 50% more).

Go figure :wacko:

Jesus, we're renting a 3-bed semi with a garden for less than that at the moment. We obviously live in the "wrong" part of St Albans... ;)

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  • 1 month later...
In a similar situation STR early last year and have been monitoring the area. EA's have recently been more open to offers I believe far below asking prices. They know that there's no correlation anymore.

I was looking at the sold prices on zoopla or similar site and the rabbit hutches - I mean new builds in Weatherall Mews off Watson's walk which mostly sold for �500k - the last one went for �330K! And (admittedly a probate) house near me sold for �340K asking price �440k. Both in Feb. There weren't many transactions in addition to those.

I think the 330k in Wetherall Mews was for one of the 2 bungalows/ 'granny flats' at the end. Point is though, that the bigger houses which originally sold for 500 have dropped nearly 20% like the broader UK housing market. St Albans is not really a special case.

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The property market is just crazy at the moment. A friend of mine is looking for a house in St Albans and is having zero luck for a decent 4 bed, garage and garden for 425k max. He said the agent even took them up past the honda garage to look at tiny 3 bed semi's for around 350k close enough to hear the A1M. I told him to stop wasting his time, come on here and remain renting.

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I think the 330k in Wetherall Mews was for one of the 2 bungalows/ 'granny flats' at the end. Point is though, that the bigger houses which originally sold for 500 have dropped nearly 20% like the broader UK housing market. St Albans is not really a special case.

I Agree.

Just checked my sources: those Granny flats (No's 6 & 7) sold for 285k each in May '08.

The half mill ones 3 & 5 went for 400k and 330k respectively toward the end of the year. :o

I realise that it is an exceptional case - I feel for those who bought off plan, paying full whack.

As an example though it really highlights the market forces at play, as there are no other variables.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...
My mistake: Actually GBP530k (and also marketing to lease it out).

What a bunch of charlatans these EAs are.

I've been watching a few properties in south St Albans, and despite properties being for sale for over a year, and a couple being sold at almost 20% below asking price, new properties are still coming on at higher prices. They're not selling for ages, and when they do, it's at these massively discounted prices. Of course you'd only get this info from the Land Registry, so it doesn't get very well noticed or reported, but the fact is that there's no basis for prices going up at the moment in St Albans. They're just chancers.

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What a bunch of charlatans these EAs are.

I've been watching a few properties in south St Albans, and despite properties being for sale for over a year, and a couple being sold at almost 20% below asking price, new properties are still coming on at higher prices. They're not selling for ages, and when they do, it's at these massively discounted prices. Of course you'd only get this info from the Land Registry, so it doesn't get very well noticed or reported, but the fact is that there's no basis for prices going up at the moment in St Albans. They're just chancers.

At the risk of cliche overload; EA's are "flying kites" waiting for the "Greater Fool". But it can't go on indefinitely, we need more sold prices to unfold, which is frustrating given the drought of completions (& some that do completely & mysteriously evade the LR). <_<

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I've been viewing a few properties in St Albans recently, and estate agents have been saying the problem is a chronic shortage of new listings - they claim that properties are going pretty quickly after coming to the market. Although I've certainly seen several on Property Bee that have been on for ages.

I'm looking for something in the 450-600 bracket near the centre and the station (for commuting to London). The ones I've found seem pretty overpriced to me: eg 4 bed on Granville Road for £650k, and 3/4 bed on Liverpool Road for £515k (last sold for £250k in 2001, so this is 9% AER increase, compared with 5.5% AER for terraced houses in AL1 Mar 2001 - Jun 2009, according to the Land Resistry). The estate agent just rang to say they were "expecting" an offer on the latter imminently, but it seems way overpriced to me. Any thoughts here?

Similarly, does anyone have any idea why this 4 bed terrace on Cannon Street is on for £489k, when the most that a house has ever sold for on that street is £410k (in 2006), and all recent sales have been £300-380k?

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I've been viewing a few properties in St Albans recently, and estate agents have been saying the problem is a chronic shortage of new listings - they claim that properties are going pretty quickly after coming to the market. Although I've certainly seen several on Property Bee that have been on for ages.

I'm looking for something in the 450-600 bracket near the centre and the station (for commuting to London). The ones I've found seem pretty overpriced to me: eg 4 bed on Granville Road for £650k, and 3/4 bed on Liverpool Road for £515k (last sold for £250k in 2001, so this is 9% AER increase, compared with 5.5% AER for terraced houses in AL1 Mar 2001 - Jun 2009, according to the Land Resistry). The estate agent just rang to say they were "expecting" an offer on the latter imminently, but it seems way overpriced to me. Any thoughts here?

Similarly, does anyone have any idea why this 4 bed terrace on Cannon Street is on for £489k, when the most that a house has ever sold for on that street is £410k (in 2006), and all recent sales have been £300-380k?

I've found that, for the most part, properties stay on the market for at least a few months. In most cases they're dropping massively from their initial asking prices too. However, most EAs are still being really bullish about asking prices and increasing them, as you've found. This seems to be working with the very best properties because there's so little supply. I'm hanging on though - as you can see from the Land Registry, you're not missing out on anything by waiting, it's only the asking prices that are going up, not the sold prices! However, the bonus might be that the increase in asking prices will entice more sellers into the market...

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  • 3 weeks later...
I've been viewing a few properties in St Albans recently, and estate agents have been saying the problem is a chronic shortage of new listings - they claim that properties are going pretty quickly after coming to the market. Although I've certainly seen several on Property Bee that have been on for ages.

I'm looking for something in the 450-600 bracket near the centre and the station (for commuting to London). The ones I've found seem pretty overpriced to me: eg 4 bed on Granville Road for £650k, and 3/4 bed on Liverpool Road for £515k (last sold for £250k in 2001, so this is 9% AER increase, compared with 5.5% AER for terraced houses in AL1 Mar 2001 - Jun 2009, according to the Land Resistry). The estate agent just rang to say they were "expecting" an offer on the latter imminently, but it seems way overpriced to me. Any thoughts here?

Similarly, does anyone have any idea why this 4 bed terrace on Cannon Street is on for £489k, when the most that a house has ever sold for on that street is £410k (in 2006), and all recent sales have been £300-380k?

Those prices are mental !!

......and I wouldn't want to live in any of them.

Don't even think about one of these if you have a car, even if you can find a space you'll be getting tickets all the time from the Wardens that roam the streets in 3's until 8 o'clock at night.

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Those prices are mental !!

......and I wouldn't want to live in any of them.

Don't even think about one of these if you have a car, even if you can find a space you'll be getting tickets all the time from the Wardens that roam the streets in 3's until 8 o'clock at night.

I'm surprised at what you say about parking. Twice when I've been there (once during the day, once in the evening) there have been plenty of spaces in most of the streets. Plus, it's residents parking I understand, so wardens surely aren't an issue?

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