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Media blamed for ‘stifling market sentiment’

Industry leaders have hit out at the media for “stifling sentiment” as they urge agents to help vendors make an informed decision based on their own local data and knowledge.

It comes as executives from across the property sector gathered in November 2022 discuss challenges facing the housing market.

The panel included former Foxtons chief executive and current board member Peter Rollings, Agents Together chief executive Sarah Edmundson, Matt Giggs of the Giggs Group, former eMoov boss-turned-PR and property pundit Russell Quirk, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals Iain McKenzie, Adam Day, UK lead at eXp, Gemma Noonan, operations director at the Giggs Group and Mark Burgess, chief executive of Iceberg Digital 


They covered a range of subjects that have been split into separate videos to be released over the next 10 days.

The first video covers the issue of if now is the right time to sell a property.

Describing himself as a “token optimist,” Quirk said he doesn’t buy into “media negativity and sensationalism,” and said people should take a long-term view rather than worrying about a “little wobble” in prices.

McKenzie agreed and blamed the media for “stifling sentiment” and “sucking confidence out of the market.”

He said agents should allow clients to make an informed decision using relevant data and suggested buyers and sellers should focus on price differentials on where they are moving to rather than price drops.

Quirk said he didn’t believe there will be massive interest rate rises and said people were questioning if it is worth selling now or waiting two or three months for “green shoots” to start coming back.

Industry mentor Giggs said he believed it would be longer than that and said he has already seen vendors and agents struggling to sell even after repricing their listings.

He suggested some agents have become too reliant on Rightmove to sell the property for them and said better training was needed.

Giggs added: “You don’t make more sales by pushing people to make a decision that doesn’t suit their needs.”
Edmundson said agents should become a trusted adviser, adding: “The industry needs to get better at saying why are you moving, listen to the client and then give the right advice.

“Rather than everyone should buy now, actually that may not be the right advice.

“Ask the right questions and listen to people.”

Watch the full debate in the video below:

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    The general housing market broadly reflects macroeconomic conditions, allied to the concept of 'confidence'. While there will always be forced sellers and localised market factors, the overall interaction of demand and supply determines the direction of house prices nationally. At present, even though supply is relatively limited, demand is declining because of adverse macroeconomic conditions and falling confidence - pointing to a downturn phase in the long run housing cycle.
    Regarding the issue of price drops and price differentials, the two are closely interconnected, eg if a buyer wants to trade up from a £450k house to a £600k one, the differential is £150k. If property prices fall by say 33% for ease of illustration, the buyer will now face a differential of only £100k - a financially advantageous outcome in the short run (and also the long run if the housing market resumes its normal cyclical pattern).

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    Apologies, I mistakenly deleted the last part of my earlier comment.

    Given the macroeconomic background and the reality of (albeit media assisted) falling confidence in the property market, the price drop / price differential issue will become more significant because FTB and people wanting to trade up benefit as prices drop and differentials shrink. Overall, I expect house prices in general to fall throughout 2023 and 2024 because of demand deficiency, as a large percentage of people sit tight and wait for the market to bottom out.


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