Estate Agents Who Know What They’re Talking About: Gibbs Gillespie
I am delighted to interview leading Estate Agents James Gibbs and Paul Gillespie for our series “Estate Agents Who Know What They’re Talking About”.
Paul And James are the owners of award winning Gibbs Gillespie, Estate Agents, Surveyors and Valuers.
Gibbs Gillespie cover London, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Middlesex from offices in Pinner, Harrow, Ruislip, Rickmansworth, Uxbridge and an associated office in Park Lane,London.
In 2009, Gibbs Gillespie were voted the UK’s Best Estate Agency of the Year by the Sunday Times.
I asked Paul and James10 questions about the Housing Market, past present and future:
2010 was a year of two halves for the sales market; the first six months characterised by a shortage of property and demand that met or exceeded supply; the second half of the year saw an increase in supply, no change in demand and therefore prices started to fall.
Mortgage lending remained tight throughout and this was a major factor in holding back transactional volumes.
The change in Government mid year created two major changes for the housing market. The removal of HIPs and a plan to reduce the huge Government deficit more quickly than the previous Labour regime had proposed. This, whilst widely seen as being the correct strategy for the country overall started to create nervousness over employment and personal incomes that resulted in reduced activity towards the year end.
The lettings market remained strong throughout with demand exceeding supply and rental values and yields rising.
2. What are the prospects for the Housing Market for early 2011
We anticipate a slight increase in demand due to seasonal factors early in 2011 but feel that the market will continue to be held back by lack of mortgage availability and concerns over employment and household incomes.
We do however expect the UK economy to recover more strongly than predicted and for confidence to improve as the year progresses leading to greater transactional volumes.
Overall we do not see 2011 as being significantly different to 2010 in terms of volumes and prices.
We expect demand from buy to let landlords to purchase to increase and demand from tenants to be strong. There is a likelihood of greater volumes of rental arrears and landlords would be best advised to look closely at the quality of tenant and not just the rental figure being paid.
3. Did the abolition of HIPs have an overall positive or negative impact on the Housing Market in 2010
We feel the overall effect was fairly neutral. Undoubtedly the removal of HIPs helped bring more property to the market but with no greater buyer demand this did not result in more sales and helped see prices slip. The removal of HIPs also reduced income streams for agents and may reduce the certainty and speed of sales in the longer term. We would rather have seen a revised and improved HIP process than their removal.
4. Do you see or would you like to see a HIP replacement on the horizon
We think it will be difficult to replace HIPs with anything similar as too many people in Government and the industry have built up a negative view in the eyes of consumers.
5. What effect has the internet have on traditional Estate Agency
Footfall at branches has been reducing for many years and the use of the internet is accelerating that position. We still believe that a combination of physical presence combined with intelligent use of the latest technology is the answer. People buy from people but the internet and associated technology creates fabulous opportunities to better communicate and supply information to all.
6. What is you opinion of DIY Estate Agency sites and their potential impact
There has always been a small percentage of owners who sell privately. The internet has made the marketing of property via “sale by owner” sites easier but we have seen no discernible change in volumes for our services and do not expect to do so. We are not complacent however and are constantly looking to ensure we “add value” to every transaction.
7. What do you think about internet estate agency portals such as Rightmove having too much power in the Housing Market
Rightmove undoubtedly has a dominant position and will undoubtedly utilise its muscle in terms of the fees it charges. We do not see the property portal as being detrimental to the market but we might see things differently if we were a local newspaper group!
8. What single improvement would you like to see in the Housing Market or Conveyancing Process.
We would like to see closer working between agents and Conveyancers with perhaps more multi discipline practices emerging. An effective model that enabled chains to be shortened or broken into manageable sized pieces would be advantageous but we don’t profess to have the answer on our own.
9. What is your prediction for house prices by the end of 2011
We think prices will stay broadly in line with inflation during 2011.
10. What will Estate Agency as we now know it look like in 5 years time
We believe there will be fewer agents overall with a greater polarisation of position between High St Estate Agentss and virtual offerings. We believe fees will increase in line with improved service delivery. We also believe that the use of TV and video will increase and that mobile communications will be the key channel for interaction between agents, clients and customers.
Thank you very much Paul and James.
If you are an Estate Agent who would like to be considered for this series please contact me.