In The Country and Town

creating the inspiration to move The Market

Welcome to our Autumn 2017 edition of this magazine, which that sets out to showcase some of the most exquisite homes as well as editorial content including celebrity chefs, motoring features, great interior design, gardening, politics and of course market insight and property news.

On the subject of market insight, we promised a market update following the summer edition, so here goes.

First the good news.

For McCarthy Holden, the trading results January to September were well up on the house sales front against the same period in 2016, yet the picture painted across the media during this year was, and continues to be at odds with what we are experiencing on the shop floor. Yes the London market has experienced house price reductions in 2017, but this is a correction from the hot London market that was skewed in recent years by over zealous overseas buyers who impacted the London market whilst the rest of the UK conducted business as normal.

As we go to press, it has been announced that the average house price is now £225,109, the highest on record following a 0.8% rise in September and prior to that a 1.5% increase in August (according to the Halifax data which does not include cash sales).

So is there any bad news?

Well not so much bad news, but more a cautionary note to say that we could be at the height of the market cycle for now. Yes 2017 will be a good year for McCarthy Holden house sales, however, we are not far away from the start of a New Year and already there are enough storm clouds gathering which indicate that house price increases will level out and the prospect of monthly increases

in property values is unrealistic. Furthermore, a double blow could be about to hit aspiring first time home owners, because not only have house prices crept up again, but lenders have also begun to slowly increase their rates so any aspiring first time buyer will naturally be more cautious.

Delve deeper and the economic instability in sectors such as the car market, the political instability in the UK Government, and the prospect of a 10% world tariff Brexit could conspire to impact on house buyer confidence. Ultimately it is buyer confidence that will dictate the strength or weakness in the market. For the foreseeable future buyer confidence will remain, albeit infused with a healthy dose of caution when making their buying decisions. So for house sellers, the advice is to focus on the buyer and achieving a sale and not to let the pursuit of the asking price or a specific £ per square foot achievement cloud the goal of achieving a move.

The Rental Market

We are experiencing an unexpected Stamp Duty twist.

Ever since George Osborne introduced a change in property transaction stamp duty, top end house sales, especially over £4.m. for example have suffered, unlike the rest of the market. An unexpected outcome however is benefitting owners of such properties who have elected to become landlords and put off a house sale for a few years until Brexit is well and truly over. Buyers of such property are beginning to think of spending the stamp duty they would have given to the Government (around £394,000 on a £4.0m deal) on renting instead, feeling they are getting a better personal benefit from the spend! Not surprisingly given this mind set, in 2017 we have noticed an increase in demand for rental properties in the £5,000 p.c.m. to £12,000 p.c.m. sector.


We are entering our last quarters trading period in 2017 with a high Sales Arranged pipeline, so we are anticipating the house move harvest and market insight report in the next issue of this magazine to be positive. Forecasting the 2018 market will be an interesting challenge and we look forward to presenting our thoughts in the next issue.


All letting agents across England will have to be registered under new legislation, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said recently. It means that the days of anyone being able to set up as a letting agent, even if they have no experience of the sector, may finally be drawing to a close. The writer (63) was campaigning for this aged 28 so progress is incredibly slow, because successive housing ministers in both Labour and Conservative administrations have either refused or failed to bring in regulation, usually citing not wanting to add red tape to the industry. Funny that, my experience tells me Governments of all shades are in love with red tape and bureaucracy. The bottom line is that combining such legislation (which is welcome) with the Governments plan to ban tenant fees will result in Landlords having to absorb higher costs, with the net result for tenants being increased rents.

Christmas / New Year 2017

John Holden

Chairman and Managing Director McCarthy Holden

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