It’s no secret that there is a housing crisis. It has now reached such a critical point that we need to build at least 250,000 new homes every year to get anywhere near close to meeting the ever-growing demand.
And while we are all aware of the need for thousands of new homes, what we do have a problem with is houses popping up on our green land when we can patently see run-down sites across the UK that are not being utilised.
How did you get into the property industry?
By accident really. I trained as a bricklayer for a short while after leaving school but didn’t enjoy working on site in cold and wet conditions! I lived with my parents at the time, they were moving house and I showed one of the estate agents around. I thought that seemed like a great job and applied to join a well-known independent chain. I spent 25 years in estate agency working through the ranks from trainee negotiator through to Regional Director. Then I moved across to the Corporate Sales division of the Spicerhaart group about 10 years ago where part of my remit is responsibility for the part exchange and assisted move division that looks after our developer clients.
Buying a house has a certain sense of inevitability to it. You find a house you like, you put in an offer, your offer gets accepted. Meanwhile your house it on the market, you get an offer and you accept it. In a perfect world that would be it – job done.
However, there’s a lot more to it than just offers and acceptances. There are the estate agents, the valuations and the viewings. Not to mention keeping your house clean and tidy for as long as it takes. The solicitors to instruct, the surveyors and energy performance certificates and, of course, when everything is set and agreed you find yourself part of a chain.
According to recent research by Housesimple.com an average of 12.5 per cent of properties currently on the market have been for sale for six months or longer. Given that we are in a situation where even the government recognises that the UK has a desperate shortage of housing, this percentage seems hard to understand.
Of course, this is an average and there are various reasons why some properties are less attractive to buyers. Location and state of repair are factors, but in reality, not particularly significant in the grander scheme. Even in the City of Westminster, a most desirable location, the percentage of properties on the market for six months or more has reached 22.5 per cent of the total for sale.