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Richard Pickles

Richard's recent reflections

15 Aug 2016   |   0 Comments

I was sitting with a client mulling over the current state of affairs the other day and we sort of concluded that it was the right time to go on holiday. Seriously, volumes tend to be down anyway and post-Brexit worries have just added to the mix this year. So far, August has probably been quieter than anticipated for most (although CDS had a record day!), but I’m hearing that confidence hasn’t actually taken all that much of a hit. Interest rates have now been cut to their lowest level ever; retailers reported a much better than expected July; mortgage deals get better and better and house price growth has slowed. Buying a house is probably a ‘better’ deal than it has been for some time.

So what’s holding up the market?

While I appreciate that (until we start hearing some positive post Brexit stuff) perhaps people may not want to make the biggest investment of their life, it would appear that there is a complete lack of listings as well. All of the agents I have spoken to are complaining about this (not a large sample I must admit!). In addition, there also seems to be a sort of price hiatus.

A ‘pause for breath’?

Whenever there are price adjustments in our market they take time to work through. Buyers want to take advantage of any reductions as quickly as possible, just as the sellers want to accumulate any gains. Right now we are at a bit of a price impasse (which might contribute to the shortage of listings).

Imagine your house is on the market for the same price as next door’s was, which sold for the asking price two months ago (naturally, your house is in better condition and is more tastefully decorated!). You are going to take some convincing that it is now worth the £20,000 less that you are being offered. The same would apply when getting a valuation.

This has led to houses hanging around a bit (or not listing), and will do until everyone understands exactly where the market price is right now. The BBC called it a “pause for breath”. So…how long do we pause? I don’t really know. What I do know is it doesn’t feel as if we are in a 2008 position, we are just waiting for a period of uncertainty to run through. Consequently I firmly believe that things will have got back to ‘normal’ by the turn of the year.

Con29 changes – we are getting the answers

One thing that hasn’t helped at all is the introduction of the new Con29 (2016). I’m afraid that the vast majority of Local Authorities are continuing to struggle to get hold of the data to answer all the 30 new questions. As a result, the average TAT for both PLAS and OLAS have slipped back another working day during July. For those of you that use our PLAS product, please be assured that we are committed to getting you the answers to all of the new Con29 questions and will not revert to a simple “not available” answer, which is the easy (and inaccurate) way out.

July’s stars

OLAS                                                  PLAS

Barrow in Furness    20 to 11 days         Conwy             14 to 8 days

St Edmundsbury      16 to 8 days           East Dorset     15 to 9 days

Stafford                   24 to 13 days                                   

As it happens I am off on holiday shortly so I wish all of you who are too: all the best for your trips. And for those of you that have just returned: I hope you had a great time. Back soon!

Kind regards


The above represents a personal view and does not, in any way, reflect the views of Conveyancing Data Services Ltd.


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