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Improve the Kerb Appeal of Your Home

Although the housing market is showing no signs of slowing down and demand is far outweighing supply, it doesn’t mean you can’t still maximise the value of your home by giving the best possible ‘first impression’.

The first thing that a potential buyer sees when they are looking to view your home is the outside. How smart is your brickwork and paintwork? Do you have window sills flaking with paint? Do you have moss growing on your roof? Is your garden overgrown or has your front door seen better days?

All of these features can add to the appeal of your home – especially as buyers are currently stretched in their budgets and less likely to have an additional budget for home improvements.

The outside of your property acts as an advertisement for what’s inside – so take a look at the outside of your home and decide if it looks like the sort of place, you’d feel that you could move in and be instantly proud. Here are some tips on maximising the kerb appeal of your home.

Front door

This is the first contact buyers will have with your home – it needs to create a positive impression. If it’s made of wood, make sure that the paint isn’t flaking off and that it has a fresh coat in a popular colour such as navy, charcoal grey or black. If your door furniture has been better days, this is a quick way to instantly give it a makeover. If your door is PVC  either replace it or give it a good clean. For composite doors, make sure there’s no erosion and if you do see any, invest in some specialist products and paint to smarten it up. Also consider a smart slate or metal number plate and new outside wall light.

Paths and driveway

If you have a paved or concrete driveway or path, it could be transformed with a good jet wash. Over time it can become dark with weeds and discolouration. Hire a jet wash machine or even hire a professional – it could make a huge difference. If you have wooden decking take care not to use it as this can damage the wood, but it would also work on walls and garden patios.

Neaten up the boundary

It’s important to have smart, clear boundaries in your front and rear garden. Not only does this give a clear indication of where your plot ends, it will also make your property appear cared for. Give any wooden or iron fencing a lick of paint, neaten up grass verges and remove any weeds from flower beds. Trim any large bushes and make sure any gates and locks are in good working order.

Hide bins away

Make sure that your bins are stored neatly and in a location that isn’t immediately obvious. If they are overflowing with cardboard, make sure you get rid of this before any viewings take place. If your wheelie bins are in bad shape, talk to the council about getting these replaced. Consider a bin tidy to keep them completely hidden.

Colourful plants

Investing in some beautiful flowers and plants in the summer months can do wonders for your front and rear garden. Either plant them in flower beds or place potted plants around in the area – and remember any pots and baskets can be taken with you when you move. Hanging baskets and tubs can by your front door can make your home look warm and welcoming. Also ensure that your lawn is short and neat and there are no weeds anywhere.

Cleaning your windows

Hire a window cleaner or use suitable products to leave your windows clean and streak-free. Wash any window frames and consider giving them a coat of paint if they are wood.

Lighting

Wall lights can brighten the area around the door and make it look warm and inviting, especially when selling in the autumn or winter. You could also purchase solar lights along your pathway – again they can be taken with you when you move.

A working doorbell

If you have doorbell that doesn’t work, invest in a new one, otherwise it creates the impression that it may not be the only thing that isn’t working in the home!

Low Housing Stock Continues to Influence the Market

Today’s property market is still being heavily influenced by the lack of housing supply following the pandemic and subsequent stamp duty holiday.

Although restrictions are now over, the pandemic caused a widespread re-evaluation of our priorities, and this included what we want and need from our homes. Rather than living in city centres close to transport links, given that home working looked set to stay for the foreseeable future, people wanted more space for home offices and the ability to enjoy their garden, given that travel all but stopped for many months. In addition, there was a race to purchase a new home without stamp duty (LBTT) taxes, giving a huge saving.

But now we are two years on and there are still many buyers looking for more suitable homes. However, the market simply hasn’t balanced out and supply is still unable to meet this demand. According to recent reports from Knight Frank, this supply shortage will carry on until the end of this year.

Inflation is currently at a 40-year high and interest rates at the highest rate in 13 years. According to ONS data, annual house price growth rose to 12.4% in April and lenders including Nationwide and Halifax reported double-digit growth in May.

In the latest quarterly house price index, UK house price forcasts have been put up to 8% from the previously predicted 5% in 2022. The reason for this revision is that the low levels of homes available to the number of buyers doesn’t appear to be easing off.

However, the number of listings has risen over the last few weeks given that the Bank of England has put up the base rate to 1.25% and issued a several stark economic warnings. More sellers have come forward with the belief house prices may finally be peaking. In the summer months there will be further pressure as corporate tenants and students seek new homes.

The report also indicates that stock levels to be particularly squeezed over the summer as high demand from corporate tenants and students exceeds available supply.

UK Average House Prices – Homes for Sale Right Now!

According to Zoopla, the average property in the UK now costs more than £250k. This is a record high, despite indicators showing that the property market is starting to slow down.

Here in Scotland, analysis from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in February found that the average house price in Scotland reached £180,000 with the average price of property in Scotland rising by more than 10 per cent in the past year.

According to the latest data from RoS, the value of an average home in January 2022 was £182,786, an increase of 10.8% on January 2022. Compared with the previous month, Scottish house prices went up by 2.2% between December 2021 and January 2022.

The UK-wide average house price of £250,000 will go a lot further in some areas – especially here in Scotland when comparing prices to South England. If you’re based in Glasgow and the surrounding areas, you will get a lot more for your money – here are some of our homes for sale – many of which are well under the UK average house price.

Oakshaw Lodge, Oakshaw, Paisley
Offers Over £235,000

Oakshaw Lodge is a charming and unique traditional detached lodge house with a nice setting within the Oakshaw Conservation area of Paisley.

The accommodation is formed over two floors and there is driveway parking for 2 or 3 cars and some low maintenance outside space for sitting out in fine weather.

See more and arrange a viewing. 

Chestnut Drive, Parkhall, Clydebank
Offers Over £119,995

Closing Date arranged for 12 noon, Friday 10th June 2022

Beautifully presented Lower Cottage Flat within the ever popular Parkhall area of Clydebank offering well laid out accommodation comprising Entrance hall, light and bright Lounge, Breakfasting Kitchen, Two double bedrooms, Bathroom. Gas CH, DG, Three car car monoblocked driveway to side, Enclosed mature gardens with lawn and deck at rear. Extras, Early viewing advisable.

See more and arrange a viewing. 

Denny Crescent, West Dunbartonshire
Offers Over £162,000

Caledonia Bureau have great pleasure in offering this competitively priced First Floor Flat onto today’s open market. The property has been constructed to a high standard by Turnberry Homes and is conveniently situated within a sought after landscaped development which is surely set within walking distance of Dumbarton’s Town Centre.

See more and arrange a viewing. 

Dumbarton Road, Old Kilpatrick, West Dunbartonshire
Offers Over £117,995

Rarely available Upper Cottage Flat situated within the ever popular Old Kilpatrick area within West Dunbartonshire with excellent road networks feeding Clydebank, Glasgow’s City Centre and, indeed, in the opposite direction – Loch Lomond, Helensburgh and beyond.

Craigmount Avenue, Paisley, Renfrewshire
Offers Over £132,000

Closing Date Wednesday 8th June at 12.00 Noon

Caledonia Bureau have great pleasure in presenting this extensively refurbished Mid Terraced Villa onto today’s open and competitive market – quietly situated within one of Paisley’s most popular and keenly priced residential locales, this subjects have recently undergone a programme of refurbishment, and must be viewed to be appreciated throughout a flexible layout of accommodation which is sure to suit those with or, who may be planning family.

Beeches Road, Duntocher, West Dunbartonshire
Offers Over £67,995

A well proportioned Upper Cottage Flat situated within a very popular and convenient location with well laid out, light and bright accommodation which comprises Hall accessed at the side with stairs leading to the l-shaped upper landing which offers access to all apartments, the loft space and has two storage cupboards off, There is a rear facing, spacious lounge, fitted kitchen with electric cooker, automatic washing machine and fridge-freezer to be included. The good sized double bedroom has front facing windows with views up through neighbouring properties to the hills at the front and, a fully tiled bathroom is provided with three piece suite and over bath shower.

See more and arrange a viewing. 

Nationwide Reports House Prices Hit Double Figures

According to the latest figures from Nationwide, house prices went up by 11.2% in the year to May 2022. However, it appears that growth is slowing as the increase in the year to April was 12.1%.

Looking at property values, on a monthly basis house prices rose by 0.9%. This marks the tenth consecutive monthly rise. At present the average house price stands at £269,914.

Nationwide notes that labour market conditions are strong and that there is a lack of housing stock which is pushing up demand and in turn, prices.

Nationwide’s Chief Economist Robert Gardner stated:

“Despite growing headwinds from the squeeze on household budgets due to high inflation and a steady increase in borrowing costs.

“We continue to expect the housing market to slow as the year progresses. Household finances are likely to remain under pressure with inflation set to reach double digits in the coming quarters if global energy prices remain high.”

At present, Bank of England figures show that mortgage approvals have fallen below the pre-pandemic levels and the recent Zoopla House Price Index has revealed that sellers are starting to be more realistic are cutting their asking prices, with longer selling times reported.

It’s not expected that house prices will fall – only slow down and stabilize after a frenzied two years. After all, demand is still outstripping supply and this will prevent prices from falling.
The headline figures show that the housing market isn’t yet affected by the cost-of-living crisis we are living through and house price growth remains in double figures.

Previously, house price growth was driven by market confidence – at present it is being driven by buyers’ changing priorities and their desire to purchase a property before interest rates price them out of the market. This momentum will only last for so long as people struggle to keep up with fuel, food and energy price rises as well as interest rate rises.

UK Property Prices Continue to Rise

Rightmove has just released the latest House Price Index.

Against a backdrop of interest rate increases and rising inflation, the price of homes in the UK hitting the property market has hit its fourth consecutive record of £367,501. This is a rise of 2.1% monthly, equivalent to £7,400.

Activity levels are strong and actually higher than they were pre-pandemic – but there appear to be signs that this market growth is now easing off.

Stock availability

The most in-demand stock (due to low levels) are 4-bedroom semi-detached houses in Scotland. Across the UK, the number of buyers getting in touch with agents is 14% down year on year but on the whole, it’s still 31% higher than the market levels we saw in 2019.

The number of sales agreed are 12% higher compared to the same period in 2019 and 17% lower from January to May compared to the same period in 2021.

Affordability

When it comes to affordability, Rightmove has reported that the average mortgage repayments are now 11% higher than they were ten years ago and higher than rental payments. This is due to the recent interest rate rises, going up four times although they are still historically low. Rental payments are currently 40% higher than they were ten years ago.

First time buyer affordability

As interest rates continue to rise and are predicted to go up further, Rightmove analysed first-time buyer affordability since 2012. This month, the average monthly mortgage payments of £901 have overtaken the average monthly rental payments of £887. This is based on a buyer taking out a 90% loan-to-value mortgage, at the average two-year fixed interest rate, and looks at a typical first-time-buyer home of two bedrooms or fewer, and the average monthly equivalent rental payments.

Following the Bank of England’s interest rate rises, the average monthly mortgage payment for a first-time-buyer home has risen by 13% since December 2021. This illustrates that ten years of historically low interest rates have compensated for rising house prices in terms of monthly outgoings when repaying a mortgage.

By contrast, rents are currently rising at the fastest pace that Rightmove has ever recorded.

A stabilising market

The housing market is levelling off following the unprecedented demand and price increases since the pandemic. Buyer activity is finally calming down, but the market is still extremely buoyant and people appear to be more confident in selling before buying. We are still seeing high prices achieved and properties going to closing date in a matter of days of going on the market.  

Rightmove’s Director of Property Science states:

“People may be wondering why the housing market is seemingly running in the opposite direction to the wider economy at the moment. What the data is showing us right now is that those who have the ability to do so are prioritising their home and moving, and the imbalance between supply and demand is supporting rising prices. Though demand is softening from the heady levels we saw this time last year, the number of buyers enquiring is still significantly higher than during the last ‘normal’ market of 2019, while the number of homes for them to choose from remains more constrained. We anticipate that the effects of the increased cost of living and rising interest rates will filter through to the market later in the year, and a combination of more supply of homes and people weighing up what they can afford will help to moderate the market.”

House Prices in Scotland

Here in the UK, we are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. Interest rates went up last week for the third time since December to 1%, fuel prices are on the rise, the energy price cap will be going up again in October, and food is increasingly expensive. But how will this impact Scottish house prices?

Despite the rising price of goods and energy, the market is still extremely buoyant. Since the property market reopened after the pandemic, house prices have been underpinned by a distinct lack of supply. With home-working, lockdowns and restrictions came a re-evaluation of what we want from our homes. We saw people move away from city living to more rural locations with more inside and outside space to accommodate for our ‘new normal’ of home schooling, working and socialising.

The lack of homes coming to the market has continued for the past two years and during this time we have seen record rises in house prices.However, there are now some indicators that this rise will start to slowdown. According to the April Residential Market Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), 65% of respondents said that house price had gone up. New buyer enquiries and newly agreed sales were also up very modestly by 6% and 4% respectively. Scottish surveyors predict that both prices and sales activity will continue to go up in the short-term but there was some softening in their responses with 27% of respondents expecting prices to increase over the next three months, compared to 38% the previous month. In addition, 8% of those surveyed expect sales to increase going forward, compared to 16% previously.

According to RICS, one of the main trends at present is a lack of homes coming onto the market. New instructions were -5% compared to the last report, suggesting that there are less properties currently being listed by potential sellers. This was the ninth month in succession that the figure was negative.

We are seeing pent-up demand and insufficient supply but despite this, market commentators believe we will start to see a gradual slowdown as the increased cost of living finally affects the residential market.

RICS’ economist Tarrant Parsons commented: “Despite growing macro headwinds in the form of cost-of-living pressures and higher interest rates, the UK residential market continues to see modestly positive trends in new buyer enquiries.

“For the time being at least, even though there is a lot of caution about the future economic landscape, it seems that limited supply available on the market, coupled with steady demand growth, are still the overriding drivers of house prices.

“As such, there is little evidence at this stage of house price inflation losing much momentum, while expectations for the coming twelve months have only moderated slightly from recent highs.”

Bank of England Raises Base Rate to 1%

Today’s rates rise from 0.75% to 1% is the fourth increase since December and the first time since February 2009 that the base rate has been at 1%.

The rate rise is in response to rising inflation and to stem the cost of living rises which have been triggered by energy, food and petrol prices.

The base rate determines the interest rate the Bank of England pays banks and building societies that hold money and affects their borrowing rates. By raising the cost of borrowing the effect that there is less demand for it – and people are encouraged to save. However, saving rates are still historically low.

This news will affect homeowners who are on a tracker/variable rate with immediate rises in their monthly repayment. Those with a fixed rate will be unaffected although they are likely to find that remortgaging will be more expensive in the future.

Mortgages

Mortgage rates have already gone up over the past few months from record lows – and this will push them higher still. There are approximately two million homes on a variable-rate mortgage and tracker mortgages – this is around 20-25% of existing mortgage holders. They will see their outgoings squeezed even more. For those near the end of their current deal, they will need to choose between the standard variable rate or a new fixed rate.

Moneyfacts has reported that the average standard variable rate has increased from 4.41% in November 2021 when the base rate was at 0.1%, to 4.75% today.

Switching from a standard variable rate mortgage to a fixed rate deal could substantially cut a borrowers monthly payments and protect them against any further rises.

Fixed rates

Homeowners will be locked into a current rate for a fixed term so won’t have any immediate rises. However, remortgaging in future will be more expensive as fixed-rate deals have already seen rises since December 2021. For those with substantial equity or a larger deposit, there are still some good mortgage deals available. For example, for someone with a 40% a mortgage rate of 2.2% on a two-year fixed deal is available from NatWest or 2.24% on five-year term from Nationwide.

Although two-year fixes have been historically cheaper than five-year, the gap is narrowing as borrowers look to lock in their rate for longer.

If you are on a variable or tracker rate we would advise that you talk to an independent mortgage advisor to make sure you are on the best deal for your circumstances. If you are considering a move now or in the near future, contact one of our specialists.

Asking Prices Rise Almost 10% in a Year

Rightmove has released its latest House Price Index which shows that the asking price of a typical home for sale has hit £360,000 – a rise of 9.9% since April 2021. The annual change in Scotland was 7.5%. The portal has reported a monthly rise of 1.6% and this is the third consecutive month that prices have hit an all-time high. Across every region of the UK and in every one of Rightmove’s lower, middle, and upper market sectors, properties reached new record price levels in April.

Over the last three months, prices have risen by £19,000. This is the largest price jump in any three-month period since the portal’s records began.

Rightmove also reported that 53% of properties sold for the asking price or above – this is the highest percentage ever recorded. In addition, properties, on average, achieved 98.9% of the final advertised asking price. This is the highest percentage since its records began.

In terms of selling times, properties are selling faster than ever. This time back in 2019, properties were taking 67 days to sell but in April this was just 33 days. Here in Scotland this figure is only 22 days.

The number of property transactions also remains high and is 21% higher than before the pandemic. This has been attributed to the imbalance between the supply and demand with not enough properties to meet the number of buyers.

Rightmove put the price increases down to the fact that the number of properties for sale was not high enough to meet buyer demand, leading to bidding wars between buyers. In particular family homes and 3/4-bedroom houses are in high demand leading to closing dates being set within days. There has also been high demand for rural properties as people continue to seek open space and larger gardens in time for the warmer months.

In Scotland, the average house price in April according to Rightmove is £182,310

What’s the outlook?

Over the last three months we have seen rises reported at 2.3%, 1.7% then 1.6%. This suggests that the pace of the price rises we’ve seen are tailing off. However, in Scotland the most recent monthly rise was 2.2%.

Rightmove has revealed that economic conditions such as the cost-of-living, fuel rises, interest rate rises, and inflation could start to slow down the current rise in house prices. These constraints can’t sustain the momentum of the last two years. Buyer enquiries have also fallen slightly compared to this period in 2021 with buyer enquires to estate agents down by 16%. However, buyer enquiries are still 65% above the figures seen this time in 2019.

If you are seeking to purchase a home at present it’s likely that you can see how fast the market is currently moving. Properties are going to closing date and selling twice as quickly as they were in 2019 and selling fastest here in Scotland. This is because the current supply simply can’t meet the demand.

There are some advantages to moving now – if you can secure a quick sale and purchase it becomes a less stressful process. If you are looking to buy – there are some things, you can do to make sure you’re in a strong position to have an offer accepted. We would advise that you have a mortgage offer in place and have an offer secured on your existing property.
Although the property market is slowing down slightly, Rightmove doesn’t envisage that there will be sustained price falls, but that house price growth will slow down in the second half of this year.

Is this the Best Ever Spring to Sell Your Home

According to Rightmove, this is the best ever spring to sell your home! The market has had the strongest start to the season with asking prices hitting new record highs as supply simply cannot  meet the current demand.

The gap between the number of those looking for a new home and sellers is the biggest Rightmove has ever measured at this time of year.

If you’re selling, then the likelihood is that you’ll be looking to purchase a property in the same market too. The positive news is that Rightmove has reported more sellers coming to market, bringing more choice of properties for sale. However, you’ll be competing against other buyers. Having a buyer for your own property will make you a ‘power buyer’ and give you more chance negotiating and having an offer accepted on your next home.

Here are some reasons that this is the strongest ever spring to market your home for sale:

Record asking prices

The average asking price of a property in the UK has gone up by an incredible £5,760 this month (March 2022) and the national average asking price is now a record-high of £354,564. This is the largest rise seen at this time of year in 18 years.

IT’s an incredibly competitive property market here in Scotland with estate agents reporting that homes are regularly going to closing date, receiving multiple offers from buyers and achieving up to 30% over the asking price. Whilst these conditions last, it’s advisable to put your home on the market now in order to give your home the best change of maximising the value.

Multiple buyers per property

At present, there are over twice as many buyers there are sellers in the market, which is the biggest imbalance that Rightmove has ever recorded at the start of the spring property selling season. This means that you have an excellent chance of being able to choose between several suitable buyers for your home and can consider several factors, not just price, including whether the buyer is in a chain, has a mortgage secured or is a cash buyer.

You have the highest-ever chance of finding a buyer within the first week

Properties are selling at some of the fastest times ever. At present, 20% of all property sales are being agreed within the first week of the property being listed on Rightmove. In 2019 it was double this figure for the same period.

With sales being agreed within the first fortnight on almost half of the homes listed, this shows just how high buyer demand is, and how quickly you could be in a strong position to make an offer on your next home.

Contact us at Caledonia Bureau to discover how much your home is worth this spring.

Is the Supply of Property Finally Improving?

According to the latest House Price Index, property listings were 5% higher in January than in the previous five years as the supply of homes finally begins to increase.

The shortage of homes available to purchase eased off at the start of this year with new listings 5% higher than the five-year average, indicating that we are seeing the start of recovery in supply. The availability of homes to buy increased in all types of properties including the in-demand three- and four-bedroom family homes. However, the price rise for houses has continued to significantly outstrip that of flats, with the average cost of a semi-detached home rising by 9.1% in the year to the end of January, compared with a rise of just 2.6% for flats.

Despite this rise in available homes for sale, it still didn’t meet the demand which has continued to put upward pressure on house prices. However, the rate of increase is slowing down.

At present, the average price in a UK home is now £244,100. This is an increase of approximately £80,000 over the last ten years. House prices increased by 7.8% in the year to the end of January but with signs that this rate is slowing down. Property values have risen by 0.9% in the last three months – this is the slowest rate of growth since August 2020.

There is still a mismatch between housing supply and demand. The number of people looking to buy a new home in late February was 70% above the five-year average, while the total number of homes for sale was 43% below it.

There has been record demand for properties since the lifting of lockdown restrictions in 2020, with January 2022 being the busiest month for the property market since 2016. Flats currently represent better value as they have seen a slower house price growth over the last year compared to houses, and they are in less demand.

The number of three- and four-bedroom homes for sale is now 10% higher than it was a year ago but there’s still a shortfall in the supply of terraced, semi-detached, and detached homes.

At present, the housing market is starting to get back to more normal conditions and reverting to pre-pandemic levels for this time of year in Scotland.

We are in a very fast-moving market, with half of all sold homes taking under three weeks to secure a buyer compared to a third of properties taking this long to sell in the same period in 2021. Three-bedroom homes typically take only 23 days to sell.

The increase in supply of homes is likely to continue for the rest of this year as the improved choice will result in more properties being listed for sale.

If you are considering selling your home, contact us at Caledonia Bureau.