House asking prices are up, down, all over the place, and way out of kilter with earnings, across the UK, because estate agents aren’t being ‘clean’ about what achievable prices are. Instead they simply tend to force them further upwards, in an effort to continue to fill their windows; while the market collapses.
We’ve had personal experience of this currently when we found it impossible to move from Nottingham to Cornwall in a chain, owing to unrealistically high asking prices in Cornwall, combined with most houses failing to sell there for many months. This coupled with a lack of genuine offers in Nottingham caused by confusion about what houses should fetch there, resulted in complete chain failure caused primarily by inconsistent asking prices. This is what’s causing market stagnation. If anyone suggests to us that ‘the market’ can sort things out for itself, we answer: “You must be kidding!”
We expect a howl of dissent from various quarters now that the Government has indicated that it’s primary response is to assist first-time buyers wishing to buy new built units. They’re completely missing the underlying cause of the problem, in our view and a notable number of dissenters (over 1,200) have commented about it on the BBC web page:
A BBC page on the Government’s approach. This strongly suggests that many people are unhappy with the action they’ve come up with so far.
It’s no good simply building new ‘affordable’ houses (which will take years to build and with substantial numbers only able be built at a comparatively slow trickle anyway, compared with the number of new houses currently needed).
Instead we need to get the market back into gear, right now – and the economy helped in the process of doing that.
This can only be done by changing the way in which houses are currently sold by estate agents. That’s what’s urgently needed. Who, if anyone else out there, can see that?
Why won’t our Coalition Government grasp the nettle, as a team, for everyone’s benefit and without further delay?
What is needed is restored market fluidity and more stability in house prices – as well as an increased pace of new build.
The Government was been approached on this earlier but hasn’t even seen fit to invite discussions about it. We suggest this is utterly unacceptable to the majority of thinking voters.
Posted by: Peter Hendry, Consultant in Housing Valuation