With around 1 in 2 Fife house sellers actually selling their home in the last month, Fife sellers and buyers will need to continue to be pragmatic if the surprisingly strong current levels of activity in the Fife property market are to be sustained.
To start, we had the once in a lifetime event of the credit crunch in 2008, we then had another once in a lifetime event with the Brexit vote in 2016 and now the mother of all ‘once in a lifetime’ events, Coronavirus in 2020 – three once in a lifetime events in the space of 3 Olympic Games!
The doom-mongers forecast that the British property market would drop like a lead balloon on the scale of the 1989 housing crash (where property values dropped by 30.87% in a couple of years) but would be nothing compared to the tsunami that was Covid. Yet in the first 75 days of the property market coming out of lockdown, behavioural and economic changes mean that many Fife homebuyers are now even more dedicated to moving home and the Fife property market is doing quite well.
Going into lockdown, the effect on activity in the Fife property market during those three months was expectable and predictable as it was placed in suspended animation during April, May and June. When the Fife property market re-opened in late June, nobody predicted what happened next. Of course, many of us in the property industry estimated some release of pent-up demand from the Boris Bounce, yet nobody anticipated such a ricochet in activity in the Fife property market.
This is particularly interesting when one considers GDP dropped by 20.4% in Q2 2020 (fascinating when compared to notable historic times when it dropped by 13.8% in WW2 and 16.7% in WW1), yet amidst the largest contraction in the UK economy ever in a single quarter, what wasn’t expected was an increase of potential property buyers and sellers wanting to move post-lockdown.
Some have cited this boost to the property market on a number of factors. Firstly, we have had the Stamp Duty Holiday, others have pointed at the never seen before 0.1% Bank of England base rates making mortgages cheap, then we had the furlough scheme which protected so many jobs and finally, the pent-up demand from the Boris Bounce.
Yet, when one actually talks with Fife buyers and sellers, whilst all of them cite one or two of the above reasons, all of them mention and talk about how the lockdown has made them re-evaluate and reconsider how they want to live, their work-life balance and where they want to live. This is also reflected with tenants changing their requirements when looking for a property to rent (so Fife landlords – be aware of this).
Demand for apartments in the centre of Fife has eased off, whilst demand for property with a good-sized garden or other outside space has increased. One question we get asked all the time is also the broadband speeds, although they are quite decent in Fife (the average broadband in our local Council area being 41.0 Mbps download and 7.9 Mbps upload).
So, with record numbers of Fife properties coming on to the market – is it boom time for Fife homeowners?
Of the 901 properties that have come onto the market in Fife over the last month, 420 of them have agreed a sale
(a percentage of 46.6%)
That means around 1 in 2 Fife people that have placed their property onto the market have not found a buyer yet.
Yes, the Fife property market is good, yet the number of people who have placed their property on the market has also gone up. Fife estate agents have never been so busy putting property on the market and I feel sorry for the chap who is putting up all the for-sale boards – his wife hasn’t seen him in daylight for weeks!
But that does mean you are in competition with so many other properties on the market (the number of properties coming on to the market typically at this time of the year is about a third to half less). The Stamp Duty boost ends in March 2021, so that means you need to have found a buyer by November at the very latest. By over egging your asking price, to test the market, might mean you will lose out on this hiatus and could end up missing the boat!
The prices being achieved for the Fife properties that have been selling have been fair and realistic and have stood up much better than many were originally predicting.
Yet as the country looks forward, given the ambiguous nature of the outlook for the British economy and the possibility that Covid-19 may be with us for a little while yet, I must implore Fife property sellers to be realistic with their asking price so a greater number of you who want to make the move, are able to do so.
For many of us, when we decide to move to a new home there will be many factors to consider, which can range from new work commitments, to growing family needs or simply the need for better quality of life. A new survey from Broadband Choices has discovered the five key reasons as to why people select a location for their new home, which could form a useful list for current house-hunters. Continue reading The 5 Most Important Factors When Buying A Home In Fife! (4 min read)
SPRING SELLING TIPS for 2020: How to prepare and present your home for prime selling season
Spring is usually the time of year when the largest numbers of buyers start registering with estate agents to find their next home. And with two long school holiday periods on the horizon – Easter and Summer – family friendly locations like Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Leven, Cupar, Kirkcaldy, East Neuk and St Andrews see a lot of property market activity. Continue reading SPRING SELLING TIPS for 2020 in FIFE
For a lot of older homeowners today, downsizing can be a great way to have a good clear out after your kids have left home, but also a fantastic way to free up some equity from your home. This financial boost will most likely come with the added bonus of a reduction in running costs as you move to a smaller home.
While there are plenty of benefits of downsizing, moving home can still be a complex and stressful experience, so we’ve put together a quick guide on what to consider to help make your move a much smoother transition.
If you have spoken to us on this subject previously, you will know that in the three years since the referendum of the ‘B’ word (that word is banned in our household), we have proved beyond doubt that it (whose name shall remain nameless) has had no effect on the Fife property market (or the UK as a whole).
So one might ask, what does affect the property market locally? Well many things on the demand side include wages, job security, interest rates, availability of mortgages, confidence in the economy, inflation, speculative demand … the list goes on. Yet as my blog readers will note, I like to delve deeper into the numbers and I have found an interesting correlation between unemployment and the number of properties sold (i.e. transactions).
Why transaction levels and not house prices? Well just looking at Fife house prices as a bellwether has flaws. Many property market commentators and economists believe transaction numbers (the number of properties sold) give a more accurate and candid indicator of the health of the property market than just house values alone. The reason is twofold. First most people when they sell also buy, so if property values have dropped by 10% or risen by 10% on the one you are selling, it would have done the same on the one you are buying – meaning to judge the health of a property market is very one dimensional. Secondly, the act of moving is very much a human thing. Property habitually conveys a robust emotional connection with homeowners – a connection that few would attribute to their other investments like their savings or stock market investments. Moving home could be described as a human enterprise, moving from one chapter of one’s life to another. When people move home, it shows they are moving forward in their lives and so this gives a great indicator of the health of the property market.
Looking at Fife’s figures on the graph, you can see an inverse relationship between unemployment and housing transaction levels.
Property transactions in Fife dropped by 55.6%, whilst unemployment in Fife rose by 54.29% during the 2007 to 2009 Global Financial Crash
Until recently, there has clearly been a relationship between conditions in the Fife job market and the number of people who move home … interesting don’t you think?
Now I am not saying unemployment is the only factor influencing the Fife property – but it has to be said there is a link.
As a country (and indeed here in Fife) over the last 40 years, we have seen a shift in the outlook over the purpose of housing and the development of the religion of following house prices (and I appreciate the irony of me writing these articles on Fife – feeding that habit!) Yet, when did owning a home turn from buying a roof over your head to an out and out investment vehicle? I do wish people would stop fretting about their intrinsic value being associated with their Fife home. Now of course, I am not dismissing the current levels of Fife house prices – we just have to take into consideration other metrics alongside them when judging the health of the property market locally.
One final thought, looking on a broader scale in the UK, those towns and cities whose property markets bounced back after the Global Financial Crash had high levels of employment and low unemployment whilst places with high unemployment and relatively low employment have, on the other hand, typically under performed.
So, the next time you are considering a house move or buying a buy to let property in Fife … don’t make your judgement on house price growth alone.
We’re moving into a new decade, and so the last thing that you want is for your home to look dated. Throughout 2019 we have seen some extreme trends in interior design; from the embracing of industrial elements to the resurgence of entirely neutral spaces. We have taken a look at what to expect this year and how to get ahead with your design aesthetic, whatever your budget.
Colour makes a comeback
One of the key trends this decade has been that of neutral spaces with a few accent pieces to liven up the décor, however this year one of the main inclinations in design will be towards colour; bolder, brighter and braver! Rebecca Breslin, Wayfair Professional design manager, is calling for an end of “Greige, grey and all neutral everything without texture or visual interest” and therefore if you are looking for a change this year then start by adding colour into your home – burnt oranges and deep blues are set to be en vogue throughout the whole year.
Paper set to tear up the market
A feature wall has been the mainstay of every makeover show and glossy magazine before-and-after shoot since the early naughties, however 2020 is set to end this fad. Rather than a singular wall that is adorned with wallpaper, we are going to see all four walls covered with paper – in line with the brighter aesthetic of 2020. Wallpaper has seen something of a renaissance over the past decade, with designs from Gucci and Dior all the way through to stick-and-peel examples flooding the marketplace, and this isn’t set to end this year. If you want to experiment, then start with smaller spaces such as studies, toilets and guest bedrooms where patterns will seem less overwhelming.
The crisp, white kitchens that have been an enduring design staple over the last decade are set to move into retirement in 2020, with colour making its way back into the heart of the home. Kitchen cabinets, more specifically, are to become a real focus in kitchen design – therefore if you are looking to stay on-trend then think about rejuvenating your cabinets. Navy blue matte cabinets with vintage gold handles will transform your aesthetic immediately and mixes the traditional and vintage visuals that are set to be all the rage this year.
Give art a start
In these modern days of mass production and consumerism, vintage art and antiques are making a huge comeback due to the perceived one-of-a-kind nature of the objects and that they possess their own unique story. If you are looking to make small changes to your home that make it chic, then adding some select pieces of art is a great start – adding pieces to your kitchen walls will add particular interest to an otherwise utilitarian space.
Soften the edges
Throughout the 2010s, chicness has often been related to strong lines, sharp edges and minimalism, however as we move into the next decade this is set to be turned on its head for an altogether softer look. As well as a nod to 30s glamour (think metallics such as silver and gold, as well as scalloped seating) curves and fluid shapes are set to be popular this year; from circular side tables to rounded-edge sofas.