A housing market expert says agents should be more pro-active and explain to the public that contrary to popular belief, some homes really are affordable and it is possible for first time buyers to get on the ladder.
Kate Faulkner - who advises agencies, is a housing commentator for Which? and heads the Propertychecklists consultancy - says only by doing this can estate agents hope to improve transaction volumes and avoid a possible fall in house values.
“Agents and lenders have a choice; allow low transactions based on myth and nonsense to continue or make a concerted effort to help solve people’s housing questions and problems at a local level and act as their property adviser, rather than just sell and let properties” says Faulkner in her latest Propertychecklists newsletter.
“Whether a homeowner, tenant or an investor, now is the time for estate agents to really engage with their local community – people won’t be walking through the door as much, so it’s time to go out and give helpful advice, even if it doesn’t deliver a direct lead there and then” she add.
She says a regional analysis of house prices and their relationship with local salaries suggest that the nationwide picture of unaffordable homes and younger people obliged to rent doesn’t hold good for every area.
“First-time buyers can get on the ladder (although it’s tough in areas like London and the south) and although welcome, the Bank of Mum and Dad is not necessarily a ‘need’ but a ‘luxury gift’ our third generation home owners can afford to give. For those who don’t have access to the Bank of Mum and Dad, Help to Buy schemes can be useful” Faulkner writes.
She says that although average annual growth since the year 2000 suggests a high return from property, with increases often outstripping inflation, this is no longer the case and increases of between 1.0 and 2.5 per cent fare now the annual norm.
“People need more help and the industry needs more transactions in both the sale and rental market. From my perspective, local experts sharing local knowledge about the reality of their property market is a must if we aren’t going to see more transactions fall and possibly see prices dip over the coming year” she warns.