Inspired Sales & Acquisitions is the soul of Finders Keepers. We
started as a search service (it’s the “Finders” in our name) and over the years
we have bought hundreds of properties for investors of all sizes. Today, the
department deals with sales as well as helping investors to identify and acquire
investment properties, with a focus on bespoke service.
We believe that this last year has shown Oxfordshire’s strength as a county and while it has not been immune to the effects of the global pandemic, it has performed well: at 3.8% unemployment remains well below the national average of 6.4%; we have highly qualified workers in top positions; and the many growth sectors provide potential for job creation in the region.
The stamp duty holiday, introduced last year and currently due to end at the end of March, undoubtedly helped to fuel the sales market over the last seven months or so. However, as the deadline approaches and with the current time to completion sitting at 126 days, many buyers will not benefit from the stamp duty discount.
With the chance of completing a sale by the end of March declining, some sales are falling through as buyers and sellers are starting to realise they may miss the deadline. A survey by the Guild of Property Professionals showed that nearly a third of buyers would ditch their potential purchase if completion took them beyond the deadline, and recent Rightmove data shows that the proportion of property sales that fell through in January was 7% higher than the previous year.
“With the general election
concluded and Brexit on the horizon, 2020 is set to be an interesting year.
There will undoubtedly be changes which will impact landlords, and although
some of the detail remains cloudy at this point, our eight offices are set to
deal with the changing face of the private rental sector (PRS).”
That was our introductory paragraph to last year’s ‘2020 outlook’, and
we were not wrong when we said it was set to be an interesting year. At the
start of last year we, like many other agencies, were expecting a bounce in
activity due to renewed confidence following the General Election (and the
Government’s conviction to leave the UK bringing some form of certainty to the
future). What the market actually experienced was a solid start followed by a
seven week shutdown and enormous dip before rebounding when the market reopened
in May (Figure 1). A soothsayer, we are not! Nevertheless, we have taken a measured
view of the year ahead:
The announcement that the housing market could remain open during the
second national lockdown in England was welcome news. We have had a very busy
few months across all of our offices, with applicant enquiries up year-on-year.
Some applicants are, of course, moving out of London as they work from home
more, while some are relocating for work and others are moving within
Oxfordshire to upsize or downsize. This solid demand has meant that we have
seen many properties letting very quickly – sometimes even before we market
them online. Last week was particularly successful across our offices:
We have seen an increase in the number of home owners contacting us because they are considering letting their property to enable their next move.
We have had an extremely busy summer, with applicant demand being the highest we have seen for the last few years. All types and sizes of properties have been letting well, and in many cases we have secured tenants for some landlords in a matter of days.
A recent report* shows that homes in Oxford take the longest to sell, with properties being on the market for an average of 152 days – more than five months – before being sold. At the same time, we have seen an increase in the number of landlords and home owners contacting us because they are considering letting where they have struggled to sell in recent months.
Home owners letting to buy Let-to-buy is when a home owner rents out their existing home and buys a new one to live in. This can benefit those who have found their next property but are struggling to sell the existing one due to market conditions. Letting out your home could facilitate your onward move and free you up to purchase your ‘dream home’. You could then revisit selling the original property once the market improves, potentially even selling with a tenant in situ.
Quarter 3 has been the most ‘typical’ quarter of 2020. The
usual ‘busy summer months’ saw strong demand for quality properties of all
sizes and locations and we let 10% more properties this year compared to the
same period in 2019. It is no surprise that coronavirus continues to dominate
much of the news; not only is there concern about a second wave or even a
localised lockdown in Oxford, but there is concern of the economic effect over
the coming weeks and months. We approach the autumn and winter with cautious
optimism – more than aware that we are not yet through the woods and this
‘recovery’ could be thrown into chaos.