Today is a poignant day to publish a statement about remembering the ills of the past and also to acknowledge the continual need for change for the better, in our modern society.

Unlike James Murdoch, Chairman of News International and the hacking scandal perhaps, we are actively wishing to rid the world of another scourge of our society; that of bad estate agency. It’s because of bad and unethical practices that people are experiencing poor performance and the inability to be able to move house when they need to. We’re saying, someone needs to sit up and take notice of this.

Property Match (UK), has developed a new strategy for getting the housing market back up and running as well as for keeping it active, by stopping the recurrent house price booms and busts from being influenced, to quite such an extent, by big fluctuations in the main economy, like the one that we’ve recently witnessed.

Peter Hendry, a Consultant in Housing Valuation, working at Property Match (UK) based in Nottingham says “My theories are not rocket science but are based on the valuable experience I have gained from having worked in the property sector for more than thirty years, and from carefully observing the issues involved”.

Change is the only way forward in everything. No-one can dispute that. Change for the better is what is desperately overdue - to improve the way the UK housing market operates.

It’s now important, for the politicians making our laws and running our country, to realise that they need to intervene to resolve the financial crisis impacting the housing market. That is their proper function. By doing so, they should help to resolve the economic and trading imbalances which would help the housing market as part of our national economy. In fact the housing market is the perfect place to begin the whole process of economic recovery.

We say, like the people braving the cold and sleeping in tents in towns squares and other prominent places, this change is overdue, that they are right.

Like them, we are asking the same sort of questions: For example, “Why is nothing being done to confront bad practices, of the kind that are crippling our nation’s housing market?”

It’s essentially a question of those who see no evil, being myopic (or exhibiting short-sightedness) when it comes to seeing the need to change things for the better. That is what is so sad about our country, at present.

If estate agents themselves don’t sort the mess out, someone else should instead, sort out the estate agents themselves, and that ’someone’, would ideally need to be our Government.

Unfortunately, as nothing effective is being done by Government, then exactly like the protesters camping and campaigning against many other issues ranging from inequality to corporate greed, those wishing to sell and move house need to protest, by acting for themselves, and selling direct.

Fortunately, instead of everyone having to camp out in town, what we need to do, driven on by the enthusiasm of these intrepid demonstrators, is simply ask ourselves the question ‘What DO estate agents do, that we can’t?

The answer is essentially what Phil Spencer explains in his ‘Secret Agent‘ series recently broadcast on Channel 4. Selling a house, is really just about knowing what price to ask and secondly knowing how to present the house for sale, in an effective way.

However, rather like cooking a sumptuous meal for a close friend, it’s best to have a bit of knowledge and practice if you want to be sure to get it right.
If you don’t have all the experience you’ll need, it’s best to get this advice from people who have. “That is exactly what we’re offering,” says Peter Hendry.

“Instead of using an estate agent to provide this advice, it’s now OK to use the Internet direct. After all, that’s what the Internet was originally devised for.”

“The web site, Property Match (UK), is designed not only to enable people to sell or let houses direct, it also provides all the necessary advice and expertise that they would need to do this.

Understandably however, such advice cannot be free. In order to provide such objective advice, people using our new service need to value it enough to pay a small sum to use it. Unlike the notion of providing free services for all (which often tend to be poor services) we wish to revert to the old maxim “Anything that’s worth something has a value”.

Good advice is, and always has been, worth paying for. It’s paying too much for too little (or ending up paying for no advice at all) that has been the main problem. For this reason everyone should stop using estate agents, who charge excessive amounts for poor advice.

Secondly, free house advertising web sites need to be avoided - because they have no intrinsic value. If they did, people would pay something for what they have to offer. It’s communistic to bring in the notion of being able to have useful services free of charge! For that reason these sites actually need to go. It’s obvious if you think about it.

Why? Because a lot of property advertised on free to advertise web sites is overpriced, poorly presented and inadequately marketed - just like many of the houses sold by estate agents! Do you really want your property to be in amongst all of that? Property Match (UK) says, hopefully not!

People need the Internet but they also need a little help, to get everything right in order to maximise their marketing potential. Property Match (UK) is online to provide such advice, not only by assisting vendors to set the correct asking price in the current market using our informative online advice, but also to enable them to show their property in a way that demonstrates that they are serious about selling to genuine online viewers.

It’s time to stand up and make the changes needed to straighten-up our stumbling housing market, and thus help the rest of our economy in the process.
If our Government won’t do it for us, we should be doing it for ourselves?
The World would become a better place, if many of us were to start doing that.

Posted by: Property Match (UK): The modern way to market houses

The thing is, everything has gone pear-shaped in the housing market with far too many houses for sale and not enough sales being completed. Even Phil Spencer, working flat out to close sales, is not going to be enough to plug this sized gap.

The most significant difficulty causing the market to fail is undoubtedly the problem that asking prices are being ill-conceived.

Clearly, people need to be ‘educated’ about what current prices are. Equally clearly this education needs to come from estate agents to their clients; and it’s not.

On reason why it isn’t happening is that even estate agents don’t seem to have much of a clue about valuing (or appraising) houses.

This is quite simply, totally unacceptable.

It’s GOT to be sorted out, for the sake of all those selling, or wanting to sell, but also so that buyers can have the ‘confidence’ to know what market values currently are, for what they are thinking of buying.

For example, if a vendor is offering (through estate agents, as their appointed agent) a house at say £200,000 and the best interest the agent can get for their clients is a succession of offers at £170,000, then any seller should be made to understand that the current price of what they are selling cannot be £200,000. Also the estate agent needs to understand that these offers are material when valuing the house in the current market. These, together with actual evidence of recently completed sales, should be used to re-calculate the house’s present value.

The really important bit though is: - if the same logic could be applied to any house that the seller wanted to buy, that same seller would realise they could be more relaxed about the level of price they needed to attain; as the buy price would and should also be similarly affected in a downturn.

Unless and until both these things can happen, chaos must continue across the whole housing market. It really is that simple and it also is really that simple to find the way to get the whole housing market working again; chiming in unison, flowing like a well established river! When this happens, people would be able to move from one house to another relatively easily, which is one of the main reasons for wanting to be owner-occupiers in the first place?

Estate agents need to take the lead here because they are the lead players in the task of finding new buyers for houses, in this country.
I really hope they will soon accept this and act accordingly, but am firmly of the belief that if they do not, other businesses will spring up and do this in place of them.

The most obvious way for this to happen would of course be via the Internet. But the revolution would have to be from sites that take appropriate responsibility to get the houses advertised, marked up at prices which are within the correct ‘valuation range’ - and not simply quoted piecemeal, as happens at present.

This is the challenge.

The gauntlet has been laid down by the recent collapse of the housing market - without any shadow of a doubt.

The winners will be those who take action to embrace these vital changes to the old methodologies, without waiting until it’s already been done (by others).

Best of luck for the future, everyone!

Posted by: Property Match (UK): The modern way to market houses

So, what could estate agents do to restore activity in the housing market?

To my mind, first of all, unless houses are priced within the valuation range, and well-presented, why would they ever sell - except by some kind of fluke!

For my money, it’s the estate agent’s ‘job’ to make sure that each house they are selling is firstly priced within that current range and secondly well-presented, by advising their clients appropriately and convincingly. Budding estate agents need to possess sufficient ‘charisma’ to enable them to succeed here.

But before all that, they do need to be able to measure (or know how to measure) the valuation range correctly, before opening their mouths and offering advice about house values. That requires both good training and sufficient experience.

The lack of these things are the twin problems currently besetting many estate agents.

Unfortunately owing to financial pressures these days, most agents just end up in a headlong rush to retain the greatest number of houses on their books, instead of dealing with these shortcomings. They need to take stock of this.

Things need to change for the better if the housing market is ever to improve.

One way would be to force all of the overpriced houses onto the private or free-listing web sites!
That would free-up estate agents to offer a more professional service and get on with the work of moving people who are genuinely ready to accept good professional advice and thus move house more quickly.

It would be a master stroke, in our view.

Posted by: Property Match (UK)/Asking_Prices: Peter Hendry, Consultant in Housing Valuation

We’re looking for an edge, to offer a better service, than that currently provided by estate agents. That is why we have developed this web site.

Our stance is to embrace ‘valuation techniques’ to a greater extent than estate agents do and thus help people to price houses more accurately in the marketplace.

The purpose of using valuations and the main purpose of anyone doing them should be to act between parties (i.e. any vendors and purchasers), in determining the right price for any particular house to be sold at.

In comparison, the mandate for estate agents (as is generally stated) is to try and get the ‘best’ price that they can for their client, an individual vendor, in the current market conditions (but usually without settling upon a specific time by which this needs to be achieved). The difficulty is, this does
not
involve the need to do a proper valuation of the house to be sold at all.

Instead it works by the agent simply gauging the level of vendor desperation and than fixing the asking price as high as possible whilst loosely taking into account both the market conditions and the extent to which the client might take a lower offer in order to get the house sold!

Those clients who have no wish to take below market offers at all, are often taken on by the agent anyway, at whatever price the owner thinks they ought to get - irrespective of true current value. This is because in the present circumstances, no-one actually does a proper valuation to find out what that is! The result is that large numbers of houses on estate agents’ books are frequently over priced. The effect of this is to cause unwanted confusion in the marketplace about what market values are actually running at. Unfortunately this tends to drive buyers away, which in turn is the primary cause of the next price slump, or to be more precise the next correction in prices (because the prices being asked were never achievable in the first place).

Instead of this, IF everyone placing houses up for sale in the market used proper valuations to determine asking prices, the market would flow, continually, in all economic conditions. This achievement would be of immense benefit to the wider economy as well as to individuals wishing to move house at any particular time.

One of the main benefits of being a house owner in the first place is to be able to be mobile enough to sell and buy elsewhere simultaneously. If that opportunity should no longer be available as a result of a de-stabilised private housing market, in exactly the way we are currently seeing, fewer people are likely to be interested in becoming home owners. This itself could become a threat to the whole idea of (and indeed the intrinsic value of) home ownership.

WE, at property-match, are aiming to help the market by offering a better way in which to buy and sell houses by trying to ensure that houses placed online with us, have been properly valued beforehand.

We are taking the lead on this because we know that estate agents are failing to carry out proper house valuations, as is clearly shown by the Land Registry statistics on completed house sales and their differentials with average house asking prices. The whole housing market has suffered as a direct result of this failure.

Vendors: - if you would like to join us in improving the way houses are bought and sold here in the UK, we welcome your business on this basis. We look forward to not only advertising your property online for you, but also to liaising with you in person about anything which you may be unsure about when you are in the process of selling your house.

Obviously we would first encourage you to obtain a valuation of your house, based on Land Registry data. We can help you to order one of these before you actually start the whole marketing process. Estate agents generally do not offer their clients this at all and our research indicates that many of them are actually opposed to considering doing so.

Intervention by Government, whilst deciding and implementing ‘public policy’, is always a prerequisite to bringing any necessary improvements to the way in which the housing market (or any other market for that matter) functions; especially when a market is hijacked by the poorly considered actions of its main players and negotiators.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Consultant in Housing Valuation Property Match (UK)/Asking_Prices

Average asking prices are currently £231,543 whereas average sold prices are £164,000 (recent Land Registry figures). What does this say about current house-marketing methods by estate agents??? Something urgently needs to be done to correct this appalling mismatch, which is crippling the housing market by driving buyers away, just when they are most needed.

The PM said on The Marr show last Sunday “Democracy is government by explanation“. Well I have some unanswered questions for him.

How can you square this government’s policy to cut the deficit as a matter of primary importance (and urgency) whilst at the same time expecting individuals to borrow more from banks and banks to lend them more for buying houses at unrealistic, unjustified, and frankly completely unsustainable prices?  To put it another way; are you strongly encouraging the public to borrow more e.g. buy houses at unsustainable prices etc., at the very same time as telling our own exchequer to cut the Nation’s deficit as a matter of extreme urgency?  If so, which policy is, in fact, the one you would advise ordinary people living in the community to pursue, those who are loosing their jobs or otherwise struggling as a result of the government’s chosen policies?

Assuming the debt crisis is exacerbating the slowdown in the housing market, you would expect (would you not) that house prices would self-moderate enough to adjust for this. I think we should agree, in a perfect market, prices would moderate to reflect market conditions. The question is, why is our housing market NOT functioning in this way? Once this is properly realised, the question of exactly what should be done to improve the way it functions needs to be addressed? To date it has simply been ignored by successive governments.

Just helping buyers to borrow more and builders to do likewise (which is the government’s current suggested policy) is not the answer. What is required instead, is first helping industry, the engine of our economy, to achieve a growth in exports in order to create new wealth. This will eventually result in those needing housing, acquiring the ability to purchase some and hence house prices would stop falling, once again.

Until this is achieved, how can any government turn a blind eye to what is, in the words of your Housing Minister Grant Shapps, speaking on Radio 4 on 4th October, ” A very extreme housing crisis”. How can they not deal with the problem of excessive house asking prices, when hardly anyone is earning enough to pay such artificially conceived prices and when the rate of completed sales is stagnating unacceptably and unnecessarily?

What is needed are proper valuations, which are fully reasoned and provided in writing by all estate agents, whom should be made to provide these by law. This is the KEY to getting the housing market back on its feet and moving, once again. To quote from an age-old saying “If the price is right, each individual house will sell, in any market conditions”.

Surely therefore all estate agents should be required to provide proper valuations, as part of the service that they offer, whenever pitching to take on new properties to sell? They certainly do not do this at present.

Secondly, the idea that first-time buyers are in some way essential to provide support to the prices of houses further up the chain, has NO factual basis whatsoever.
This is like saying that small investors, buying shares on the stock market, will have ‘a measurable’ affect on the quoted price of those shares. The effect would be as insignificant as someone trying to fill a swimming pool using a teaspoon filled from a dripping tap!

Thirdly it’s a myth to suggest that building more houses (whether affordable or not) will have a material effect by reducing the prices of the majority of existing UK houses.

All that is needed instead is better information about the current sales prices being achieved, so that this feeds into agents’ asking prices more effectively.

This, is what could bring much needed business back to the housing market. It would also help grow the whole economy. David Orr, the economist, speaking on the same phone-in program as Grant Shapps said, that a successful housing market is very very important to the whole UK economy. I totally agree with him.

Finally, after publicising his reservations in newspapers, Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, managed to get George Osborne to agree that he would make it easier for small businesses to take on new workers. A success surely.

Maybe Andrew Tyrie, if asked, might be prepared to ’second’ some of these questions for more detailed consideration by government?

If there are no answers available from David Cameron (or from his Housing Minister) might Mr Tyrie be prepared to offer some further comment on some of these points instead?

Posted by: Property Match (UK)/Asking_Prices: Peter Hendry, Consultant in Housing Valuation

The continued very low interest rates exist essentially because the Exchequer’s levers, for correcting the economy, have frozen. He now appears powerless to do anything about this problem, which is a problem in itself!

This is causing extreme pain for those who have diligently saved throughout their lives, for their old age.

The other effect that continuing low interest rates is having - in the face of rising inflation is, it is putting the housing market into utter turmoil with wildly varying asking prices and such confusion that sales are floundering, just when we all need stability, in this particular marketplace.

What can be done? If low interest rates must continue, the way houses are appraised for sale needs urgently to be tightened up, so that buyers are no longer continually misled by wrong asking prices.

This problem is further compounded by a widening regional discrepancy in asking prices. The increasing gap in actual completed sales prices also seems to be widening across different regions. This obviously causes difficulty for those attempting to move from one area to another.

The author, a retired property valuer, has been aware of these problems in the private housing sector for a considerable time, and it is abundantly clear that very little is being done to resolve them.

The large discrepancies between asking prices of similar types of property, even in the same area must stop. This is resulting in differing sale prices eventually being achieved for such properties, due to market confusion.

If instead, prices quoted on sales particulars more closely matched actual achievable prices for the houses in question, people would be able to see what they could afford to buy and what they could not. More transactions would be achieved as a direct result.

This is the true goal and would get the housing market working smoothly, and remaining stable, in all external economic situations.

This is precisely where the Government should be more proactive. To create a future stable housing market, with a steady number of sales and purchases proceeding to completions, should be its ultimate goal.

It would be perfectly possible to arrange this by changing the way houses are currently evaluated by estate agents.

The outcome may involve a slightly greater fluctuation in actual sold prices depending upon the present economic conditions, but because all the asking prices would be more closely related to one another, less damage to individuals’ budgets would occur.

Moving house, even in difficult economic circumstances, would become possible. This is the holy grail, both for individuals investing their earnings in their houses, and for the increased electoral opportunities for any government offering this.

It would not be difficult to re-train estate agents to do this, instead of perpetually trying to lift prices for their selling clients, whatever the market conditions. (It appears this is all they currently know how to do in order to keep winning new instructions.)

What they should, instead, be doing is providing best advice to their clients on how much to sell their existing properties for; in the the current market conditions. To achieve this they would need to face up to having to charge an upfront fee for providing full advice. Market appraisals would then become proper market appraisals, not just instruction-winning tools.

Everyone would be winners.

Posted by: Property Match (UK)/Asking_Prices: Peter Hendry, Consultant in Housing Valuation

Those who say that the current way in which queues of people are organised prior to embarking passenger planes is just fine are wrong!
A prominent mathematician recently came up with a much improved order, for passengers to embark aeroplanes; thus saving valuable time for everyone in the process. Will anyone actually take him up on his realisation however? Let’s hope so.

It’s not rocket science, it’s just excellently applied mathematical deduction and logic.
My improvements for the housing market are, in essence, similar. It should perhaps be said however, the changes which I am advocating are a little more complex to fully grasp, as they involve market economics and house valuation methods also.

Nevertheless, I shall try to outline these in simple terms, so that the overall concept may be appreciated in essence.

One matter which I hope I may be forgiven for mentioning first of all is the state of our society, as this impinges directly on house transactions. To me, it seems that western democracies in general, which have functioned well for so many years, especially since the last World War; are now showing important stress signs. Housing is just one aspect of the present difficulties.

It seems that the glue that has been holding our society together, which originated from the cohesiveness produced from small communities working in their common interests, is now loosing its cohesiveness and becoming rather aged and brittle.

This is partly owing to the accelerating growth of the size of the UK population. At a certain point this starts to mean that communities no longer function as communities and it seems evident that this point has already now passed. I happen to believe that we are witnessing the slow implosion of western democracy, and what concerns me is this could materially damage the very society we survive within.

The fact that individuals, like me, can no longer even be heard by our elders in Parliament is symptomatic and this is a clear sign that society, as it started out, has devolved into something less - something rather too sinister for many people’s liking.
Another prime example of what I am talking about is the lack of interest in voters voting at General Elections nowadays.

Even if Karl Marx, the revered German philosopher’s prophesies are now playing out, it doesn’t mean that we should do nothing to try and resolve the issues by trying to improve our established and much relied upon capitalist belief system. Why wouldn’t we? It’s in our own best interests after all.

Capitalism is leading to a revolution but not the one that Karl Marx expected. The fiery German thinker hated the bourgeois life and looked instead to communism to destroy it. He predicted that ‘the bourgeois world’ would eventually be destroyed, he thought, by communism; but in fact it is capitalism itself that is now killing off the bourgeoisie.

See a recently publish article by the BBC: The revolution of capitalism

Weirdly (or perhaps logically) this set of arguments actually explains why unregulated estate agency (especially in regard to providing so-called FREE market appraisals) causes a repeating acceleration and then a collapse in the number of houses being bought and sold in this country.

If you think about this however, you will realise that the actual number of people wanting to move house tends to remain the same, whether or not it is difficult to achieve a move. The approximate number is a pretty fixed percentage of the population. Something is therefore very wrong within the private house market, because the difficulties of achieving a sale and purchase get very much worse in repeating cycles.

House asking prices must therefore be having a significant affect on this process.

To dismiss them as merely a product of the market itself is totally misunderstanding the very fundamentals of economics.

By reportedly saying: “The reason why houses became so unaffordable, was a tripling of prices between 1997 and 2007, which put them out of reach for many people”, The Rt Hon. Grant Shapps is conveniently not saying what he really intends to do to bridge the supposed affordability gap in house prices. He’s just stating the obvious; only the other way round?

The next instalment will cover why it is asking prices that are disrupting the smooth-running of the UK housing market.

Posted by: Property Match (UK)/Asking_Prices: Peter Hendry, Consultant in Housing Valuation

Last updated: 20 Aug 2011:
We are attempting to project likely outcomes for the housing market, by looking ahead of the curve and into the future.

Now that the USA has had its credit rating downgraded and the Euro is at maximum stretch for survival, what are the real prospects for house prices in the UK?

Financially, times are tough right now and things aren’t likely to get much better as far as one can see by trying to guess what’s over the horizon.

However, to better understand things, with reference to house prices, and to get a glimpse of what comes next, we need to gather the most critically important pointers together and see what they may indicate.

Analysing what happened in past decades when we were faced with similar conditions, is a vital part of the toolkit.
Knowing what Governments have done to change the economy, since the last big shake-up occurred, is the secondary key to knowing what will, or is most likely to happen next.

Recent market research suggests that house prices will remain weak for some years, because of squeezed disposable incomes and tight credit conditions.
However, this assumes that the economic corner-posts of our Nation’s stability, stay in place and weather the storm. What if they don’t?

Unfortunately, there are certain key issues that are liable to deflect the economy away from this - the preferred and safest prognosis.
This deflection last happened in a big way in the 70’s. Unfortunately, all the indicators are in place for a repeat of this, because not enough has been done to really strengthen our country’s position in terms of economic growth since then.

To summarise, the primary factors impacting on the situation are: -

DOWN EFFECTS (or the effects causing and/or resulting in delayed recovery and prolonged economic weaknesses)
Allowing a continuance of the unbridled growth of the population of this island
Shortage of money in the economy, both in terms of the level of earnings and in the reducing level of people’s savings
Reduction in consumer spending
Falling value of Sterling itself
Low interest rates, necessary to try and sustain economic growth and a strong likelihood that they will need to subsist. This further adds to a fall in the value of Sterling
Falling share prices (and uncertainty, demonstrated by the excessive volatility of certain key stocks)
The apparent need for further Government spending cuts and tax increases

Coupled with:
Reduced manufacturing for exporting, despite the low value of Sterling (It’s absolutely vital this is reversed)
Reducing employment opportunities (especially if the global trade downturn continues)

UP EFFECTS ( on the housing market, or the effects giving rise to the need for people to move their savings out of Sterling or Sterling related investments)
Inflation in our economy
Food and clothing prices rising (especially products imported from Asia, because inflationary pressures there have been causing price increases for some time and these are likely to continue)
Fuel prices rising further (again fuel is mostly imported)
Falling value of Sterling (However, as well as being a down effect, this could also result in money from abroad, from foreign investors, going into UK property)
Stubbornly high asking prices for houses themselves (owing to the public being genuinely concerned about the economic situation and wishing to hedge against it!)
Uncommonly high gold and other precious mineral prices
A high likelihood of continuing uncontrolled inflation (and/or of a further devaluation in Sterling) and the need to hedge against it

ALL of these factors point to a probable loss of confidence in the state of the economy, and hence a desire to find as safe a haven as possible for one’s savings and investments.

In such extreme conditions, and they have been extreme owing to the absence of significant economic changes put in place by Government to stop these effects re-visiting our economy, what is likely to happen? By definition, the same things as before are almost certainly set to recur, namely: -

With an impending risk of another financial collapse, individuals will pile their dwindling assets into:
Gold, land and houses.

Cash-rich buyers will come along and buy the best houses as live-in investments and retain these for the duration of the downturn. Some will be bought for buy-to-let investments in order to provide the additional prospect of receiving rents, to further hedge against probable inflation.

For these reasons alone, we forecast that those buying the better quality reasonably priced houses today, will see the values of these investments out-perform all monetary savings plans, including the stock market over the next 10 years.

Also, we strongly suggest that there is continued pressure for housing, as our island’s population is still increasing at an alarming rate, and hence the general demand for houses will continue to increase simultaneously, certainly in the medium term.

Better quality houses are therefore an extremely good buy currently.

If ultimately, the demise of the Euro is a ‘fait accompli‘, this would add considerable weight to the suggested outcome for UK house prices as forecasted in this article.
Our question to our readers then is; If the Euro should actually collapse, are we correct about this outcome?

Prices of the ‘better buys’ can only start going up if sufficient numbers of cash-rich buyers start competing to buy these. Will this happen?

Updated 2nd Aug 11:
[Reuters] The IMF said at the beginning of August, that should the UK economy appear likely to experience a prolonged period of weak growth and high unemployment, and a lowering of the rate of inflation as a consequence, then quick action would be important.

Further quantitative easing by the Bank of England and temporary tax cuts might then be the outcome.

We say, IF this scenario were to be played out - on the ground - as it were, it would be a question of ‘steady as she goes‘ (shipping expression), concerning a rise in the value of residential property as an additional form of investment.

We say that in these conditions, house prices should stay solid and not collapse.
That already seems to be happening currently, which seems to add weight to our argument at present.

The ultimate reason, which is supporting this argument, is that there is a chronic shortage of housing, (or a quickening in the level of demand for it) depending upon how you prefer to look at this. No government, not even this one, could suddenly build enough houses to overcome such a shortage. That would take years to do - far longer than several terms of office of any elected government.

Factoring this in, the result of the equation can only be, sustained and/or increasing house prices; especially in the longer term and relative to most other forms of investment.

Therefore the time to start buying is soon, assuming that prices have, or are about to have, bottomed out.

Posted by: Property Match (UK): The modern way to market houses

There’s a sea-change about to come, in the the way that houses are sold in this country and it’s being started by the Land Registry who are now making their data about house prices available for use by other businesses.

Land Registry Service, operated by Land Search Service Limited is bringing together various sources of information currently available to produce what we consider to be some very helpful mathematical and statistical data resulting in the production of current benchmark house valuations.

For example they have recently begun offering a detailed online valuation service called an Instant Valuation Report, something which is specific to an individual house and which gives a valuation using all the available information both on recent sales and using market projections to arrive at a current valuation for the house in question.

This new report provides exactly the sort of information needed to get the housing market back onto its feet, with houses changing hands as frequently as people would like them to.

Of course it goes without saying that the information produced is without carrying out a detailed inspection of the individual property, therefore an experienced valuer ought to be engaged in any event to determine to what extent (if any) the figure produced needs adjustment to reflect both the actual condition of the house concerned and whether there have been any changes or enhancements that have been completed and which could add or detract from the overall valuation.

Nevertheless this online valuation service is a first and is something that both sellers and estate agents currently lack as a method to aid the correct pricing of houses going up for sale.

In fact it could revolutionise the way estate agents both take on, and then deal with sales of houses across the whole country.

With exceptional valuation knowledge like this now being made publicly available, both the buying and selling of houses should become a far less stressful and much more enjoyable experience. It will bring both certainty of price and an added confidence to sellers (and their agents) when deciding on the correct asking prices to bring about actual sales.

This will allow vendors to go ahead with simultaneous purchases which must, in turn, stimulate our whole economy. That’s something that relatively few have been able to manage in recent times owing to the plethora of excessive prices being quoted - mainly through the lack of sufficient valuation information previously available. This lack of information has dogged the housing market and caused such price imperfections that the market has all but stalled in many locations, compared with the levels of completed sales transactions attained in past years.

The new Instant Valuation Reports, which are available to all applicants, will ‘out’, or spotlight, any house marketing campaigns where prices are not in-line with current market prices, i.e. currently achievable prices.

Anybody serious about buying a house these days would be well advised to avail themselves of one of these reports. The cost of buying one is approximately £30 per copy and is sent by email. It only takes about 24hrs to obtain the report. As an additional extra, if required, a five year future statistical price forecast may also be obtained.

The web address for obtaining these reports is: http://landregistryservice.co.uk/ - Land Registry Service (part of Land Search Service Limited).

Thinking about this, why don’t all estate agents use these new reports when giving sellers market appraisals, and/or as a check on the vitally important matter of correctly estimating an asking price? We all know that it is vital to set this price correctly if each client is to get their house sold within the planned timescale. Using these reports extensively would dramatically help people to do the house moves that they wish to do and so improve the private housing market in the process.

Posted by: Property Match (UK): The modern way to market houses

In a nutshell, The Coalition Housing Minister, Grant Shapps MP, potentially has the economic stability of the whole country in his hands.

Why?

Because the stability of the whole of the UK economy depends upon getting the housing market going again and because the property sector (and spin-off economic activities arising from it) amount to what is the largest single chunk of activity in our economy - well over 20% of national economic activity.

Why is it broken? Because estate agents simply do not know nearly enough about what current market values are doing at any one time.

Estate agents don’t know how to advise properly on current market values. They usually err on the rather optimistic side, when in fact they need to be more realistic if they want to actually help their clients to sell and then buy elsewhere.

Here’s a good analogy:
Peter Pan, having lost his shadow, became unable to fly! Well, ‘market value’ is the very equivalent to Peter Pan’s shadow. Without using it, the housing market can’t fly either!

For as long as this analogy is not properly understood by Mr Shapps and his Government advisors, the old boom and bust scenarios will just keep rolling on - to the inconvenience of many, including both the banks and building societies’ business prospects.

It is true that the following method does mean accepting a short-term appropriate correction but, we must ask, is there really any other viable alternative in order to correct the last Governments mishandling of this situation? None that we can see.

A house-price adjustment will inevitably have to happen at some time or another. The only question is: Has the new Government got ‘the bottle’ to lay the ground for one now?

One way forward, is for estate agents to be made to fully justify their asking prices, and if these should later be proved to have been wrong, then the agents involved should be held liable to compensate their own clients (if their clients can demonstrate, in court, that they were misled by their agents, resulting in a property not being sold within an agreed timescale). In fact, this would simply be clients taking actions, in tort, for professional negligence but, in this instance, because this particular negligence is so rife throughout estate agency, it needs to be enshrined in Statute Law.

We have other proposals as possible ways forward in addition and are requesting the opportunity to consult with our government on these.

It’s being reported that 80% of buyers, since 2006, cannot now move because their houses are worth less than the sums they paid for them. They are attempting to recover what they paid, using the services of estate agents that are ill-prepared to achieve this. See the Daily Mail to read more.

To effectively implement the improvement proposed here, agents should at the very least, be required to charge a fee for doing proper in-depth market appraisals, as part of a new tightening-up process for the housing market.

Change is needed because The Government needs to facilitate the improvement of the service currently offered by estate agents to the public at large.

Posted by: Property Match (UK): The modern way to market houses