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RICS: Housing market sentiment is cooling
The latest Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) housing index report suggests that both the number of new properties coming to market and the number being sold has slowed or dropped back by almost 10%. This means the impetus in the bullish market now seems to be flattening.
RICS also reported that the number of new sales being agreed fell back by a fifth, which means that there are fewer properties being sold and the stock levels of all agents is low. In fact, in a separate report conducted independently, it was found that a typical agent might have only 15 properties on their books – an all-time low.
Simon Rubinsohn, the chief economist at RICS, said that there was an ongoing imbalance between demand and supply. “The inventory on agents’ books appears to have slipped back towards historic lows and this seems to be underpinning both the current price trend and expectations for the next year.”
In 1988 there were two million completions, compared to around one million in the previous years. Why? The reason was that the Chancellor at the time played around with MIRAS, creating a rush to buy. Then from late 1988, the market languished for about three years as prices went backwards. Only those needing to sell did so. As a result, fewer properties came to the market and fewer sold.
Over three decades later in 2021, we will have an uptick in completions to 1.5 million (from the usual 1.1 to 1.2 million) by the end of the year. Why? Because our present Chancellor, who would have been eight years old in 1988, played around with SDLT. Is history repeating itself?
A low amount of inventory equals fewer people moving. Fewer listings means low market activity.
Also of course in 1988 onwards we saw interest rates climb, reflecting a likely event from the seven wise people at the bank of England who meet again next month to decide on the BoE base rate policy.
Boomin launches ChainMaker tool to help agents and clients
Boomin, the next generation property portal founded by Michael Bruce, has just announced its latest digital service, ChainMaker. Set to help residential property sales when they fall through, enabling buyers to register interest in ‘sold subject to contract’ properties.
ChainMaker is an excellent initiative, where data meets real estate at the micro-level, leveraging solutions that all stakeholders can benefit from. The concept behind the application is that there will be a ready to go list of second-string buyers should a sale falter at any stage before the exchange.
At present, sales that fall through are a huge collective pain point for agents, leading to loss of potential income. So too for buyers and sellers, with typically 26% to 32% of sales failing depending on the type of housing market conditions.
With 1.2 to 1.4 million properties completing each year, losing 30% of these sales prior to an exchange is a costly and nerve-wracking outcome for all involved. ChainMaker looks to address that.
Boomin are now using new software to solve problems residential agencies have had for decades, much like how the banking app Revolut is digitally re-plumbing the antiquated practices in banking by adding speed and transparency and a UX worthy of the modern age.
Michael Bruce said: “ChainMaker goes to the very heart of what we are trying to achieve as a business; using technology to re-establish the direct connection between local agents and customers, whilst providing support and a boost to housing market activity levels.”
Is Gove helping or hindering the cladding crisis?
Michael Gove, the current Housing Secretary and Leveller in Chief has waded into the cladding debacle with his usual aplomb, halting the initiatives of his predecessor by asking questions like ‘why should leaseholders need to underpin the cost of remediation works?’
Gove has also been very verbal about “cowboy” builders who have caused the problem, and he has effectively stopped the present initiative around who should be doing what with regard to getting properties safe, inhabitable, sold, rented or bought.
The problem with Mr Gove is he is great at articulating the key problems of any matter, just as he did in previous government posts, but he then tends to helicopter out to another department leaving others to sort the details and the solutions.
In direct terms, under Gove we have seen the initiative for leaseholders to shell out tens of thousands to make good properties, and the government is also on the brink of backtracking on its consolidated advice note on properties that are not high rise. This would directly feed through to how surveyors would treat them, which in turn would impact mortgage lending all the same.
The DLUHC seems in some way to be as muddled and as opaque as its acronym. It is all very well to say we are changing direction, what Gove needs to do is outline that direction and get behind the steering wheel, as it leaves hundreds of thousands with an uncertain and potentially unsafe future.
Inventory Hive becomes two-time EA Masters award-winner
Inventory Hive scooped two huge accolades at the 2021 EA Masters, bringing home the Best Medium Supplier award and Overall Winner of the Best Estate Agency Supplier award.
The awards were given at a glittering EA Masters Awards Conference event, held at Evolution London and presented by Great British Olympic gold medallists Dame Sarah Storey and Tom Dean.
Richard Abbots, CEO and founder of Inventory Hive, commented: “The EA Masters is unique, as the awards are based upon the quality of service that you provide to the customer, who rates you. You can’t ‘buy’ or ‘game’ the system. So people in the property industry know that if you are a big winner, then you must be the very best.”
Peter Knight, Founder of the Property Academy, said: “The EA Masters event had an amazing turnout, and the event went fantastically well. It was great to see Inventory Hive scoop two EA Masters awards, including Best Overall Supplier! Congratulations to Richard and Inventory Hive team! an achievement to be proud of. We can’t wait for the next event already.”
On winning the two awards, Abbots said: “We’re so thrilled to win this award. It’s been a monumental team effort since we started this journey five years ago. The roadmap is so exciting and it’s a joy working with such a talented group of people – our team and our customers. The competition in the room at EA Masters was immense, which makes this even more humbling.”
Andrew Stanton is the founder of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.