Not a great week to be called Jeremy…

.. be it Vine (tries hard but can’t get those hips to work), Kyle (mmm, who would you choose; the purveyor of cheap daytime mocking of the misery of the masses or a 25 year old international polo player 15 years your junior?), or Corbyn (how long have you got-comrade..?)  Alongside the angst of those shackled with an unfortunate first name, sat that of those embroiled in the deepening housing crisis.  What crisis?  Well if one is to believe various news outlets, the United Kingdom is in a property mire that those stuck in are finding increasingly difficult to extricate themselves from.  Housesimple.com has compiled a survey by comparing the number of listings on Rightmove in 100 towns across the UK.  The CEO, Alex Gosling was quoted in a variety of publications, “..across the country there are thousands of frustrated buyers with finance in place, ready to purchase, but the property supply reservoir has dried up..”  Nice analogy there, Alex, but what does it actually mean?  Questions, questions, not least who or what is Housesimple.com?  For those interested (the Christmas party will be in a ‘phone box), the website is-according to its own blurb-‘Online Estate Agency of the Year’-an award presented by the ‘longest established trade magazine for residential sales and lettings agents, The Negotiator‘.  Well that clears that up then and no, it must have passed me by in my 30 years in the business of negotiating.  Alex, having built up a head of steam continues, “Buyers must be scratching their heads as to why sellers aren’t marketing, as there’s no clear or single reason why sellers are sitting on their hands”.  I think that Mr Gosling may rather be missing the point.  Is he inferring that all sellers are first time buyers, or people looking to buy with nothing to sell?  If so, are they victims of those dastardly sellers who are delaying putting their property on the market, thus driving up prices?

The survey did not reveal how many of the, “frustrated buyers” are actually home owners with properties to sell before they can buy another house.  At Cheshire & Co we have a data base of applicants of which 50% have a property to sell and 50% of these have not yet actually put it with an agent.  In simple terms, 25% of the “thousands of frustrated buyers” have not yet left the saddling boxes, never mind made it down to the starting gate.  I would suggest that it is this group that are causing the ‘housing crisis’, if ‘crisis’ is not a word that is being misappropriated.

The old mantra of one having to be on the market before even starting to look at other properties has long been buried (alongside England’s chances of winning the World Cup).  The new trend of people using the internet to check the value of their property to see if it has increased in value since the last time they looked-that would be yesterday-sits beside their finding a house that they want to buy before putting their own property on the market or even calling out the local agents for a beauty parade.  It is this action-or lack of-that contributes to the torpor of the housing market.

Before every property ‘expert’ shouts me down, the evidence of the changing dynamic of the housing market is all around.  The rise of online agents such as Alex’s emphasises the power of the internet.  We use floor plans and videos to allow prospective buyers or those just having a nosey, to do just that.  See a property that grabs their attention and people are out of the gate like the favourite in the Prix De L’Abbaye, even if before sitting down for a coffee and deciding to have a wander around the virtual world, they had not really considered moving house.  The most important people on any applicant list are those who decide however abruptly that they want to move, but have yet to put their property on the market.  Those are the people any agent needs to impress, so that when they do decide to sell their home it is with that agent.