We’re pleased to say the ladies in our lettings office will be taking part in this year’s Race for Life charity event, which is helping to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Cheryl, Ria and Stacey will all be joining this year’s event which has been running since 1994 and has had over 5.4 million participants, raising over £362 million. You can read about their reasons for taking part on their page at JustGiving as well as showing them your support by making a donation.
Race for Life is one of the nation’s best loved fundraising events with thousands of women taking part each year. The event raises vital money for the life-saving work done by Cancer Research UK each year in preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.
The Personal Agent’s aim is to raise £500 for the charity and we’ll be donating funds raised from the 5K marathon in Epsom as well which we’ll be taking part in on the 28th June. There will be a link on our website where you’ll be able to donate, promoting the initiative as well. Race for Life is for everyone who wishes to help beat cancer sooner rather than later, so if you want to help raise money for this incredibly important cause then please click on the ‘donate’ button below and help to make a huge difference.
Remember that if you’re a UK taxpayer be sure to tick the ‘Gift Aid’ box as this will see your donation increased by at least 25% at no extra cost to you.
For more information on the event, how you can get involved, and how much money we’ve raised so far, then visit our JustGiving page or like us on Facebook for all the latest news and updates.
Here’s our collection of the latest news from the world of property and the private rented sector including the rise in demand for properties inside the commuter belt, the £22 billion invested in buy-to-let properties last year, what effect the election is (or isn’t) having on the property market and the return to growth in house prices in January.
Properties in London and the Commuter Belt see Rise in Demand
The next 12 months are set to see the price of prime rental properties in the capital and commuter belt rise by 2.5% according to research carried out by Savills. Whilst over the next 5 years an increase of 17.1% is expected in London and 15.9% for the areas surrounding the capital.
Savills highlighted that in 2014 the price of rents in the commuter belt rose by 2.7%. The strongest results were recorded in smaller homes, with 1 bedroom properties rising by 3.1% and 2 bedroom properties seeing their rents increase by 2.7%.
£22 Billion Invested in Buy-to-Let in 2014
Almost £22 billion was invested in the UK’s Buy-to-Let sector during the last 12 months a study from the National Landlords Association has shown.
Carolyn Uphill, the chairman of the NLA said: ‘These figures really hammer home just how much money private landlords put into providing much needed homes for the UK’s estimated nine million renters, especially if we consider that such a large proportion are single-property or smaller portfolio landlords.’
Ms Uphill went on to outline the importance of investment in this sector in providing housing when governments have neglected to incentivise the developments of new properties.
General Election in May having ‘Negligible’ Impact on Property Market
The upcoming election in May has had a ‘negligible’ impact on the property market according to the advisory service CBRE.
“Conventional wisdom suggests that property markets slow as a general election approaches. Elections are uncertain, with the forthcoming election more uncertain than most,” said Miles Gibson, head of their UK research team.
He went on to say that the property market often remains largely unaffected in the time before general elections with little changes to the market being recorded. With only specific policies, such as the proposed mansion tax, having any measurable impact.
CBRE’s data spanned the last 30 years, looking at the months directly preceding elections and concluded that there was little to suggest that they caused a slowdown in property sales or affected house prices.
House Prices Up 8.5% in January
House prices rose in January by 8.5% compared to the same period in 2014 according to findings by Halifax.
The research showed that property value increased by 2% compared to December and was up by 1.9% compared to the previous three months.
Martin Ellis, Halifax’s housing economist attributed the growth in prices to the rise in mortgage approvals in December.
“These improvements may indicate that the recent declines in mortgage rates, the reform of stamp duty and the first increases in real earnings for several years, are providing a modest boost to the market,” said Mr Ellis.
We’ve recently launched The Personal Agent’s Stamp Duty Calculator, a free App that is designed to help you quickly and easily calculate your stamp duty price. If you’re looking to buy a property in the area and would like a quick and easy way of working out how much Stamp Duty Land Tax you’ll have to pay under the new legislation, then download our Stamp Duty Calculator from the App Store.
This App was created as a result of the recent tax reform introduced in December 2014 and the increased interest from part of our clients. We have received numerous enquiries on the new stamp duty taxes people were facing after the changes and how would that affect their budgets. Since the topic was very popular we have decided to introduce a new, free app that will calculate the price of the property you are after on your phone without having to worry about internet connection, once downloaded. It is particularly convenient when you’re out viewing properties and wish to find out the government charges you’ll be facing at the reach of your phone. The App works on the basis of charging you different amounts based on which band the price of your home falls into.
The new tax bands are as follows:
- 0% worth up to £125,000
- 2% between £125,001 and £250,000
- 5% between £250,001 and £925,000
- 10% between £925,001 and £1,500,000
- 12% above £1,500,000
To download the calculator from the App Store, click here, or here for a close up of the App.
With the New Year has come the launch of a major new UK property portal called OnTheMarket.com, which will compete head-on with Rightmove and Zoopla.
At The Personal Agent, we pride ourselves on being progressive in our approach and we are delighted to have joined thousands of other prominent national, regional and local independent estate and letting agents in supporting the most important new venture of its type in many years.
We have reviewed our overall digital strategy and firmly believe that OnTheMarket.com will rapidly become a major player in the market and a “must view” destination for serious property-seekers.
OnTheMarket.com has launched with a multi-million pound marketing budget which will include sustained and heavy-weight TV advertising on the main terrestrial and digital channels. In addition, it is running in a high-profile press campaign in titles such as the Daily Telegraph, Times, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Scotsman, Glasgow Herald and Western Mail as well as in key magazines such as Country Life, The London Magazine and Fabric. There will also be a very heavy digital display and pay-per-click campaign.
The central OnTheMarket.com campaigns will complement local promotional activity by thousands of estate and letting agents across the country who are supporting the new portal.
More and more agents are moving all their properties to OnTheMarket.com from other websites. So now, neither Rightmove nor Zoopla will be able to claim their property listings cover the entire market because many estate and letting agents will be leaving them to having chosen OnTheMarket.com as the best platform to display their properties in the clearest and simplest way.
As it is a mutual organisation, OnTheMarket.com has no external shareholders. It is able to plough profits back into improving the property-searching experience and into efficiently connecting motivated buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords.
We are now proudly displaying all our instructed properties at OnTheMarket.com.
The state-of-the-art website will provide the most uncluttered, user-friendly and modern UK property search service.
There’ll be no distracting ads for other products, no spam mail, no information over-load – just a pure focus on properties, with hundreds of thousands of homes to buy or rent at all price points all over the UK.
Because the technology is new, OnTheMarket.com will adapt seamlessly to whichever type of device and screen size its visitors use. All screen space is used to present the properties looking their best.
In the words of Rupert Briggs at The Personal Agent:
“We look forward to supporting the launch of the new OnTheMarket.com property portal this month. It will offer prospective home-buyers and tenants a greater level of choice. While we shall not be renewing our contract with Zoopla, we shall continue to market all of our properties on Rightmove, which remains the UK’s largest property portal.
“After extensive analysis of web traffic and the quality and quantity of leads generated for our selling and letting clients’ properties, we have decided that this combination of portals best serves the best interests of our clients in reaching the best quality prospective buyers and tenants.
“We shall also continue to market our instructed properties on our own website, www.thepersonalagent.co.uk, as well as working as closely as ever with our valuable database of registered buyers and tenants.”
After the success of The Personal Agent’s 10 Year Anniversary Prize Draw, where we gave away a Fiat 500 to one happy customer, we were delighted to have received this letter from the Mayor of Epsom, Councillor Robert Foote, thanking us for the day.
Councillor Foote, who had kindly agreed to announce the winners of the Prize Draw, also gave his thanks to The Personal Agent for its contribution to Epsom during the last 10 years as well as recognising the excellent work we have been doing by donating to the Mayor’s Charities which help to support the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the Epsom & Ewell Citizens Advice Bureau and the Foodbank.
The Prize Draw was held to thank everyone throughout Epsom for the incredible support we’ve received during our 10 years and as well to give The Personal Agent a chance to celebrate the enormous success we’ve enjoyed during that time.
Once again, a big thank you to everyone who attended our anniversary celebrations and to Mr Foote for his kind words.
Back in September it was announced that Epsom would soon be included in the Oyster card travel scheme that would see those using Epsom’s rail lines benefit from this simpler and more intuitive system. At the time Get Surrey reported that they had received confirmation from MP Chris Grayling that Oyster would be rolled out to Epsom as of September 2015.
This was then confirmed by Govia Thameslink Railway, who are set to take over the existing rail links, who made this statement: “The Oyster scheme is planned to be extended to Epsom in September 2015, this is subject to the agreement of the Department of Transport and Transport for London.”
The Oyster system, which had previously only been available to inhabitants of Greater London, will afford Epsom residents some added convenience in the purchasing and managing of their train fares, as well as providing discounts on the cost of getting to and from London.
What is not yet clear is if Epsom will be included in Zone 6 when Oyster arrives – which would provide significantly reduced travel fares compared to those living in Zone’s 7-9 (see Property Detective for a useful blog outlining the differences in cost) – and in addition would have a greater bearing on whether its introduction would influence the value and attractiveness of homes in the local property market.
The change in the existing system could see Epsom strike a fantastic balance between avoiding the hustle and bustle of inner city life, whilst offering an attractive destination for those needing to travel to London on a regular basis. With existing property owners being set to reap the benefits from the increased appeal of their properties.
Rupert Briggs commented by saying, “We feel the introduction of Oyster will benefit Epsom greatly. Most of our buyers come from the London suburbs already, and with reduced travelling costs from Epsom it will make it an even more desirable place to live. With the new impressive station, Epsom is even more appealing to new buyers.”
Happy New Year! We’d like to thank everyone for making 2014 such a huge success for us: a year where we celebrated our 10th anniversary, opened a new lettings branch and gave away a brand new car to one lucky customer. We have created a timeline of what we think were the highlights of last year for us and for the property market in general (infographic by Rightmove).
House Prices In Surrey Rose To Nearly Double The National Average
Back in March 2014, Get Surrey reported that property values in Surrey had rose by 5% which was close to nearly double the national average at around £320,102, whilst the average for England and Wales was £168,356. Great news for Surrey home owners, who have another reason to sell.
Opening The New Lettings Branch
In April we launched our brand new Lettings branch in Epsom, run by Cheryl, Ellis, Joe, Ann and Stacey. Our Lettings branch aims to help residents in wider Surrey and people in the local area with letting and managing their properties.
The Personal Agent Supercar Event
In June The Personal Agent took part in the annual Supercar Event in Dunsford Park, to raise money for The Children’s Trust Tadworth. Over 120 drivers participated, with 16,000 people attending the weekend with £90,000 being raised towards charity.
Demand for Rented Properties Continues to Reach Record Highs
The Private Rented Sector continued to see fantastic increases as more people see rented housing as a viable long term option. All of which is great news for Buy-to-Let landlords who are set to profit from this increased tenant demand and greater availability and diversity in landlord focused mortgages.
Epsom To Become An Extended Area Of The London Travel Zone
September brought further good news for Epsom commuters when Surrey News announced that Epsom Station is due to be included in the Oyster Zone starting from September 2015, as part of the new Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise. We suspect that this change will result in an easier and cheaper commute for people to and from London, making Epsom an even more desirable place to live. We could even see a further housing price increase in the next few years if demand increases as a result of these changes.
Stamp Duty Changes
There was also more positive news for house buyers in December when George Osborne announced that “98% of homeowners in England and Wales would pay less” after changes to the previous system. Those who will benefit the most are property buyers planning to spend less than £937,000. Meaning that a good percentage of The Personal Agent’s audience are looking to save up to £4,500 on stamp duty in the New Year. The new rates will be
- Up to £125,000 : 0%
- £125,001 to £250,000 : 2%
- £250,001 to £925,000 : 5%
- £925,001 to £1.5m : 10%
- Above £1.5m : 12%
The Personal Agent’s 10 Year Anniversary Prize Draw
And last but by no means least we rounded off the year by celebrating The Personal Agent’s 10 Year Anniversary
with a prize draw in which we gave home seller’s the chance to win a brand new Fiat 500, as well as several other prizes that included a Grant & Valentine handmade rocking horse and an original Charles Rowbotham Painting. A special congratulations once again to our winners!
After a wonderful afternoon last Saturday in honour of The Personal Agent’s 10th anniversary, we are pleased to announce the official winner of the Fiat 500!
Our special guest, the Mayor of Epsom Mr Robert Foote, picked the winner’s name and announced Mrs Mandy Moodie as the new owner of the Fiat 500. Mrs Mandy Moodie only competed a house sale with The Personal Agent a week ago!
She was thrilled to have been able to sell her house and win a new car as a bonus for choosing The Personal Agent. Here is what she wrote to us:
‘’ Thank you so very much for your news. Can’t believe I’ve won the Star Prize !!!
I’m still in absolute shock ………. ! The funny thing is I’ve always said that I would like to change my car for a Fiat 500! And now my dream can come true, thanks to the Personal Agent Happy happy happy!
SO many thanks again. I can’t thank you all enough.
Wishing everyone in the team a Merry Christmas and a happy 2015.
Fiat 500 Prize
We are very happy for Mandy and wish her all the best with her new house and new car!
The celebrations didn’t end there, other lucky people have won also marvellous prizes on Saturday:
The event took place in the Epsom Market Square where guests enjoyed champagne and canapes at The Canopy Restaurant, with many of the competition entrants in attendance and the Fiat 500 being the centre piece.
The company has expanded from a single office to three sales offices in Epsom, Stoneleigh and Ewell, and a further lettings office in Epsom. The company soon felt the need to offer a more diverse service and therefore branched out into removals and mortgage planning. The Personal Agent clients can now receive a more complete service as well as a better and simpler home moving experience.
The Personal Agent Team
After 10 successful years in the estate agency business and hundreds of homes sold, we are now looking forward to another, even more successful 10 years in the industry.
Once again The Personal Agent would like to thank all of their clients over the last 10 years. We have always said: ‘could not have done it without you’.
With the Mayor of Epsom Mr Robert Foote
On Saturday 20th December The Personal Agent will be giving away a Charles Rowbotham painting as part of our 10 Year Anniversary Prize Draw. This original 24” x 20” piece was created by the distinguished Wimbledon based painter and is one of several prizes which we’ll be giving away including a brand new Fiat 500, a Grant & Valentine Rocking Horse and a Spa Day.
The competition, which enabled people who sold their home with The Personal Agent to win one of these great prizes aimed to reward our customer’s for making the past 10 years so great for The Personal Agent.
Mr Rowbotham, who has previously been short-listed for the New Lights Art Prize in 2013 and has been featured as part of the Thompson Gallery’s exhibition ‘A View of Marylebone’, is known for his work which looks at the different aspects of daily life in the city. His works, which centre around public, urban environments, have also captured London Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden.
His studio is located on Riverside Yard in Wimbledon and a full collection of his work can be found on his website www.charlesrowbotham.co.uk. Or for more information you can contact him via email at: email@example.com.
Last Friday the girls at our lettings branch took part in Save the Children’s charity fundraiser where everyone was invited to wear their most festive Christmas jumpers in a bid to raise money for the charity. Save the Children whose most recent appeals include helping displaced children in Syria, as well as those affected by the Ebola crisis in West Africa, organised the event to raise money for their projects in over 120 countries.
The initiative which at the time of writing has raised over £1,146,449 for charity asked people to make donations by texting WOOLLY to 70050. You can see some of the girls in the lettings office below, sporting some of their most festive knitwear.
To everyone who took part or donated money, thanks to making the world better with a sweater!