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The Masked Tulip

Sunday Morning Pop In To Local Ea

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I was out for my morning cycle ride today - glorious sunshine down here - and decided to pop into one of my local EAs in, for those of you who know Swansea, Walter Road. This is where most of the EAs' main offices in Swansea are.

This particular EA chain is one that I personally think hugely over-values HPs in the area but then they all do don't they. However, by chance the EA 'on duty' this morning was one a chap who, back in 2003 advised me and my then partner not to buy in the then current market. At the time he felt that there was going to be a crash and that, as we were locals, it was not a good time for locals buying in the area. He told us then that much of the property being sold was being bought up by people from outside of Wales.

Anyhow, after passing the usual plesantries, etc, and him asking me if I was still looking, myself telling him that I had no intention of buying till the crash, etc, we got down to the nitty gritty.

He told me, quite matter of fact, that the market in Swansea was dead - "totally dead!" .

He said that it was now "stalemate", that there were very few buyers in the market but a "vast amount of property is just waiting to be sold" and that "prices are simply OTT for Swansea". He said he "felt sick" when "...every now and then a we get local young couples would coming in desperate to buy and they are taking out huge mortgages on places that we couldn't give away a few years back". He said that he had tried to dissuade a few but "many just want to get on the property ladder no matter what".

He told me that the money from London and the South East had dried up with many people he had sold to from that part of the World in the last 3 years now trying to sell up and get out. However, he said no one is prepared to reduce their prices to a realistic level. I commented that many of them could not afford to reduce as they had paid way over the odds to which he agreed.

I asked him what was needed to rectify this and he said that the market would not get moving again until interest rates rose and people had to sell or risk losing everything. I commented about how there were now so many properties to let in Swansea and that rents being asked were more than Cardiff Bay. He simply said that it was because people were desperate to have their mortgages paid and can't afford to ask less than what they are.

I also asked him about the new SA1 development and he said that it has been handled badly in that, again, people from outside of Wales had bought up flats in bulk last year and the year before, driven the prices up and now no locals can consider buying there as the "what's on offer do not justify the prices asked". He said that "it (SA1 development) was in danger of becoming another Swansea white elephant" and "I'll be surprised if it is ever completed". I made a comment about how it was in the local paper this week that some local businessmen were seeking permission to open a nightclub next to one of the few completed block of flats and the EA laughed "Typical Swansea, they try and attract professions, expect them to pay a quarter of a million for a one bed flat and then they put a night club and a kebab shop next you!".

I asked him when he thought that I should consider buying and, of course, he said "when prices fall" but then went on to say that he could see no end to things at the moment as "everyone seems in limbo". I asked him what the other EAs in the area were feeling and he said that "everyone is in the same boat" to which I commented that it was time that EAs started driving down the prices and making sellers aware that the market had changed.

He said that they could not do this for two reasons - firstly, people will not accept that prices should be lower and will not until something makes them accept that. Secondly, he said that it was the old chestnut of if they do not give a high vaulation to a seller then the seller will go around all the EAs until they find one who gives them the valuation they want.

He did tell me though about one woman who came to him initially back in the Summer, got a valuation off him and point blank refused it. She then went around several other EAs all of whom apparently gave her lower valuations which ended up with her coming back to him in August asking him if he would put the house on the market for his original valuation. By this time he felt that the house had fallen another 15K and he told her that he would only put it on the market for that new price. He said the house has now, after some heated conversations, been on sale with him since August at the new price and so far not one viewer has even asked for details of the property - he pointed it out to me, nice detached house in the Sketty area of Swansea West. He confided that it was effectively two and a half times what it had last sold for in 2001 and "I don't think it will sell until it goes back to that price"! WOW!!!

This chap has been an EA in Swansea for as long as I can remember. He has been through the last bubble and crash and knows full well that people like me are his bread and butter long-term. His honesty is the main reason why, when the crash comes and I am seriously looking to buy, he is the EA that is top of my list to find me my home - assuming his chain is still in business!

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Are provincial EAs perhaps a bit better than the sharks and liars you find in and around London?

When we were looking at houses recently in the Westcountry the EAs seemed to agree with our honest appraisals if we said a place had been 'smaller than we expected' or 'seemed far too expensive considering that one is 10 cheaper and much nicer' - South East EAs would come out with some ******** as to why a house was worth the silly price tag. It was quite refreshing to speak to middle-aged old-school who obviously gave a toss about their good names in the locality having lived there since the year dot.

They seemed quick to point the finger at vendors, 'Yes, SHE's had it on for that for a few months and now SHE's had to bring the price down', 'Yes I can see why you said it was worse than the cheaper house, but that what the VENDOR has put it on at'. There was an accusing tone mixed with one of utter resignation. It seemed the 'EAs valutaion' had gone totally out the window.

Seemed like stalemate: 'I want to move to a bigger house but that house I want has a stupid price tag, so I must get a stupid price for mine'. Never mind the need for some poor FTB somewhere on a 5 or 6 times multiple having to sacrifice themselves on the alter of this absurdity to keep things moving.

The market was obviously dead as the very nice but overpriced houses we'd bookmarked on Rightmove were nearly all still available for viewing over three months later when we finally got down there.

Edited by CrashedOutAndBurned

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With the odd exception I personally have found several Swansea EAs whom I have met to be downright rude, arrogant, condescending and with a total 100& belief in never-ending rising house prices. I think many of the others from West Wales who post on here feel the same.

However, there have been 2 or 3 whom I have met who have been honest, who have given frank views of the market and who have, as I have posted here in the past, admitted that we have a big bubble in Swansea with current HPs.

I have also overheard, on several occasions, EAs talking amongst themselves about how over-priced local property is but who will, on a different day, greet you as a new potential customer and then give you the usual rubbish about a shortage of properties for sales, prices going up, etc.

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  • 339 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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