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Sentiment Has Changed Or Has It?

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I have being reading lots of threads on sentiment over the last few months, but working out how to actually spot it for real is not easy. Sure there are plenty of articals and news stories, but they are all a bit detached and averaged over wide areas and timescales.

Currently if you put an offer in -20 to -30% you'd get laughed off the 'phone and, worse, labelled a time waster (you still need the EA's to be a go between in the current system).

The only way I can think of is that you occationally test the market and when you get a counter offer back rather than a guffaw you know the ventdor is in a mood to negociate. Then it is time to start barginning!

That is where forums like this come in very useful. The experiences of poeple like Rainbow (see thread http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/ind...showtopic=13015 ) are invaluable. Currently, in my area I sense the time is not quite right as the EA's are all sounding just a little too convident as yet, but when I do start making offers I'll keep you posted.

Mean while thanks to those who are sharing their experiences. Most helpful.

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I was looking to view rental properties about 3 years ago in my home town.

A local letting agent/EA showed me around a number of flats that weren't quite up to scratch, a few were quite dingy or overpriced.

After he had exhausted all of the possibles he then showed me around a building site that they were currently developing. It was a conversion of a huge former rectory into 6 flats and 2 townhouses.

Looked like it would be a very nice place when it was completed, as it had loads of period features and was a very nice building with large grounds and set 100 yards up a long driveway from any roads.

He told me at the time what he expected to sell them for, and I laughed. We had an argument (couldn't be bothered with subtleties as I was still hungover!) for 10 minutes about what his chances of selling them were.

Once completed the townhouses went on the market for £275k for a 3 bed. The largest flats (huge rooms, very nice) went on at £265K for a 3 bed. Most of the period features seemed to have disappeared to be replaced by the normal magnolia boxes of a new development.

Now 2 1/2 years later they have still only sold 4 flats out of 6. The two largest remain unsold despite being reduced from £265K to £185K (very recent reduction of £10K in last few days).

The remaining unsold townhouse is now on at £185K too.

All of the remaining unsold properties are still available to rent.

I wonder if his sentiments towards the market, and house prices, have changed since we last spoke?

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From what I hear in my part of London sale prices are around 5% off asking - less of a difference if in a desirable area with schools/amenities etc, more if the property is not in top order. But the volume is paper thin. Asking prices generally seem a little lower than the May 2004 peak.

While sentiment is turning slowly it is not being applied to the population's own personal circumstances. I think nothing will change rapidly (economic disasters aside) until people trying to sell have been through the Autumn months with no results and realise this affects them. They will cling to hopes of "a sale before Xmas" and when that does not materialise only then will they think about dropping their own prices. It has been said before but the next 3-4 months are key.

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