I am at the Haslemere office for the weekly 8am catch-up meeting. There is good news from our on-site negotiator, who is working at a superb development of eight new properties by award-winning Millgate Homes. He reveals that the penultimate was reserved over the weekend.
At £1.9 million, the price has been heavily affected by the change in stamp duty rates a year ago. This house now attracts a bill of £141,750, an increase of nearly £50,000.
The Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement has also seen an additional three per cent added on to current stamp duty levels for anyone purchasing a buy-to-let property or second home. As this comes into effect next April, we are hoping to see an increase in demand for good rental properties and pretty weekend homes over the next four months.
Another early morning meeting, this time at our Guildford office, to review business. The team has enjoyed a busy year, with the town market particularly good. There is also amusement when one of our staff recounts a viewing from yesterday at a beautiful property in the Surrey Hills. It has extensive equestrian facilities where, on opening the door to show an outdoor toilet, they found it occupied by a burly gentleman. All parties got quite a shock.
We are agreeing terms to market a house in Wodeland Avenue, Guildford, which is near the mainline station with its fast train service to Waterloo. We have sold six houses in this road this year and three of them have generated competitive interest.
The client is thinking of holding off marketing until the new year, although he agrees for us to have a number of “one-off” viewings over the next 24 hours.
The team all have buyers to speak to and, by close of play, we have a total of six viewings lined up.
It’s down to Farnham this morning for a regional catch-up. Generally the mood is good and there are plenty of decent buyers out there looking, although there is a lack of good-quality stock. A valuation later today in the pretty village of Ripley has come in as a result of agreeing a sale on a stunning Georgian house earlier in the week. Forge Cottage turns out to be a well-proportioned, four-bedroom property with a walled garden, but unusually it also comes with a 16th-century barn that is ripe for conversion.
We are keen to win the business here as there is a strong trend in the market for good-quality ancillary accommodation. With an ageing population, we are seeing more buyers looking for a property with a full annexe or the ability to create one for grandparents. Multi-generational living — a trend we have nicknamed “The Waltons” — is on the rise.
After yesterday’s viewings on the house in Wodeland Avenue, we have two offers on the table well over the price our client was expecting. One party is in a stronger cash position with a flexible timescale that suits our client and we agree the sale before a photograph has been taken.
Lunchtime approaches and we have three properties completing today, with one a simultaneous exchange and completion. As the calls come in from solicitors confirming completion has taken place, various team members dash off to meet excited purchasers with keys, champagne and other goodies.
At 5.30pm, after a long week, I think it is time to take the Guildford team down to the Three Pigeons for a well-deserved drink.
- Daniel Burstow is head of the Surrey region at Strutt & Parker (01483 306565)