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North Somerset Sellers Still In Cloud Cuckoo Land


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In process of moving back to North Somerset after two and a bit years through east, off looking at rentals today in Wrington, Winscombe, and wooded bits near Weston.

First observation was how much more you get for your money compared to the rubbish generally on offer for rent in Berkshire.

Second observation was that every single house we saw for rent was also for sale and some had been for sale on and off for 2+ years. Lettings agents are doing OK but next to nothing is actually selling. (Quite a few voids though, some places we saw had been empty for months). How these people are living is beyond me! Wrington alone has three estate agents, for a village of a thousand or so population and small surrounding area.

Third observation was that asking prices are in complete lala land. Generally asking prices are pretty similar for the same sort of stuff in a good chunk of east Berks (not the poshest bits obviously, just the mainstream). But rents are half to two thirds, like for like. Something has to give, surely? Letting agent I chatted with agreed that a couple of local estate agents (locals will know who they are) had been pushing the market as high as it could bear for a long while, there are folk memories of prices achieved over a particularly crazy fortnight in May 2007, and vendors have been very very slow to get real. His view was that there were a lot of people with money who could sit it out - well I guess we'll see about that.

Fourth observation was more personal, I noted my old landlord is still struggling to sell his place for 100 grand less than he was trying to get in 2007 (he had it on all year - we were renting at the time and he got about 4-5 viewers in a year). At least he's got more realistic with price ... he's down to £395k now, not a kick in the **** off the £353 he (over)paid for it in 2002. Still I suppose he's had five years of people paying his mortgage (let's hope for his sake it wasn't interest only ..... :P ).

Anyway looks like a very nice place has been found, tons more space and a sea view for half what we were paying here on the outskirts of Reading in earshot of the M4. OH's travel isn't expensed which will need careful managing (she needs to be through 2-3 days a week in term time), mine is (thankfully), time commitment around the same so hopefully we can do our best to synchronise trips.

Edited by montesquieu
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In process of moving back to North Somerset after two and a bit years through east, off looking at rentals today in Wrington, Winscombe, and wooded bits near Weston.

Thanks Montesquieu, very interesting post.

Matches my view of the huge disjunct between rents and sales prices - houses for sale are completely detached from any sense of possible rental income. Which presumably puts a significant limit on how long potential sellers can 'make do' on the rental income when hoping to rent out and then sell 'when things improve'. Will be interesting to see what happens when the dawn of recovery doesn't appear in spring 2011.

And yeah, rural estate agents... in the boom years one of the few viable small business models for many in these smaller towns - who have much tougher headwinds in most other sectors (retail especially). Difficult to see how they can last with the ongoing slump in transactions.

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