Before I get started on British RE news, I just want to remind you of the beauty of Google Docs. Why? Because I just wrote a long and, if I dare say so myself, rather witty blog post and then deleted the whole thing like a nincompoop just before hitting publish. So remember kids, if you want your work autosaved every few seconds and to be able to look through every single revision if something all goes tits up (as we would say here) then draft your posts in GoogleDocs and copy them over to WordPress or whatever when you’re ready to roll.
Anyhoo, let’s get back to real estate. What’s the dilly-o?
The latest Globrix data shows that asking prices are still being reduced across the country. During the week commencing the 28th of November, 278 sellers in London reduced their asking prices by an average of £58,446. The highest percentage of sellers dropping their prices was to be found in the coastal town of Southend, where the average price drop was £11,075 during the week. Across the UK as a whole, 3293 properties were reduced by an average of £22,061 during the week. I’m all for the price drops, house prices have been seriously overinflated and the market is relying on sellers to face up to the fact prices aren’t what they were to get transactions going again. Buyers have been waiting for sellers to readjust their expectations, it’s certainly not summer 2007 anymore.
The Bank of England cut the base rate to 2% on Thursday, the last time rates were this low was…wait for it…1951. Some people were immediately excited that their mortgage would soon start paying them but worry soon kicked in that the lenders wouldn’t pass on the rate reduction. Luckily, most of the banks have promised to pass on the rate cut in full to their customers.
According to one large London agency, rental demand may be on the up again. In the last week, it has been reported that registrations for new tenancies have increased by 20%. With job losses and a flood of rental properties to the market, it looked for a while as if the game was up in the rental sector but the good news for landlords and letting agents is that things seem to be improving.
Rightmove, the UK’s largest property search site, seems to have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons yet again this week. Recently, Rightmove has come under fire for increasing their membership fees when agents across the country are struggling to stay afloat and are shutting up shop. Agents who want to leave their contract with the property portal whilst times are tight have been told they’ll face a penalty if they ever want to rejoin. This has led to some angry customers and stories of a mass Rightmove exodus even reached the national press (although is yet to actually materialise). The latest in the PR saga seems to be the decision to spend £10million on an offline advertising campaign in the new year, needless to say agents are opining that this money would be better spent on cutting membership fees during these difficult times for the property market. If you want to see some irate British estate agents, read the comments here.
Brace Yourself America
I’m coming! That’s right, I’ll be heading over to NYC for Inman Connect in January. Superstar AG contributor, Jay Thompson, ran a competition on his blog for both a ticket to the conference (courtesy of Inman News) and $1500 worth of travel expenses (courtesy of HomeQuest). Without any death threats or malicious bribes I managed to get my lucky raffle ticket picked out of the hat, and I’m unspeakably excited! So if you’re coming to Connect then look out for me, I won’t be hard to miss!