Thursday, October 27, 2016

“Finding the Right Property”

If location is fundamental to a property purchase, then mapping is surely the most obvious way of highlighting location.   

We choose to use locational maps on our property details/website as they make it easy for buyers to identify the property in relation to its surroundings. This is particularly useful when a buyer is considering a property that is slightly outside an area they might have preferred, as they can see from the map that the property is actually not that far away from their chosen area.

Additionally, as an aerial perspective, maps are an excellent way of showing areas of open spaces such as parks, woodland and lakes which are not always possible to see when driving round an area. This is particularly the case with the satellite image overlay which we use on many of our maps. Perhaps the area is not quite as built-up as it appears at street level. Google Streetview is also featured on our web description.

But the most obvious benefit of the use of mapping in relation to property particulars is that it makes a property easier to find. When buyers have seen four or five properties on a cold wet winter’s evening, if they can’t find the property easily, it’s all too easy simply to give up, resulting in a lost viewing. (This is another reason why a “For Sale” board is so important as well.)

As well as providing straight-talking good advice for sellers, we never forget that the job of a good estate agent is to help make it easier for buyers to find the right property – literally!



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

1,056% - Rise in South Ockendon Property Prices since 1981

Roll the clock back 35 years to 1981, and Mrs. T was in power, we had a Royal Wedding, Britain won the Ashes and Bucks Fizz won Eurovision with ‘Making your Mind up’.   Haven’t things changed.  The number of homeowners and property investors who said they wish they had hindsight and bought up every house in South Ockendon all those years ago, especially when you consider what has happened to South Ockendon property values, as…

South Ockendon Property Values since 1981 have risen by 1,056%.

Not bad when you consider inflation over the same time period has been 271.9%, meaning in real terms (i.e. after inflation), property values in South Ockendon are 784.1% higher.   It’s no wonder people can’t afford to buy property anymore and landlords are attracted by bricks and mortar. Yet the changes to the South Ockendon Property market run much deeper than property value changes as no one could have predicted how the property market has changed in South Ockendon over the last 30 years.

Looking at the Local Authority data for Thurrock Council in 1981, 43.8% of South Ockendon people lived in a Council House, whilst today its 18.4% ... a massive drop which can mostly be attributed to Margaret Thatcher allowing Council tenants the right to buy their Council House.  The private rental sector since 1981 has, as one would have expected, also changed.  The proportion of properties privately rented in the South Ockendon area (i.e. through a private landlord or a letting agency) has more than doubled, rising from 5.5% to 14.1% of property.

So, let us consider those people who own their own home, surely that has had a massive drop?  In 1981, the proportion of people who lived in the Thurrock Council area who owned their own home was 50.5% … and today its … 66.2%. Not the seismic change most of you were expecting (including myself!).

Homeownership in the 1980’s and 1990’s in South Ockendon did in fact rise, but as I have discussed in previous articles in the ‘South Ockendon Property Market Blog’, that was because nearly every Council tenant was buying their council house. Now there are hardly any Council houses for the younger generation to move into (because of the right to buy scheme) so they have no choice but to privately rent.

.. and this is why the buy to let market in South Ockendon is an investment sector that will continue to grow as councils aren’t building council houses in their thousands each year (like they were in the 1950’s/60’s and 70’s).  The South Ockendon property market is constantly changing and buy to let for too long has been heavily dependent on house price growth, where yield has been almost forgotten.  I see the changes in tax and landlord and tenant law in a different perspective to the sooth-sayers and see it as bringing many opportunities where yield will become more important.  You might need to change your buy to let targets, your methodology to financing or even consider places other than South Ockendon in which to invest your money, but this will shine a light on investing in properties with healthier yields and create more realistic long term buy to let opportunities, instead of short term growth bets and wagers.

Like Bucks Fizz said in their song, it’s time to make your mind up. The advice I give to my landlords, and also to you my blog reading friends is this; these changes will make some landlords panic, meaning competition for decent South Ockendon buy to let bargains will reduce as fear of change kicks in and amateur investors flee the market.  These opportunities will provide a more stable platform for knowledgeable and wise South Ockendon buy to let landlords to thrive in.  If you want to learn more about the South Ockendon Property Market, feel free to pop in for a coffee at our office for a chat with me, or failing that, visit the South Ockendon Property Blog, where you will find many more articles like this solely on the one topic of the Property Market in South Ockendon.



Ps. Have  a good Tuesday!

Monday, October 17, 2016

The 1,798 South Ockendon Savers batten down the hatches with low interest rates set to continue into the 2020’s

You might ask, what has the plight of the South Ockendon savers to do with the South Ockendon Property Market … everything in fact.  Read the newspapers, and every financial wizard is stating that with the decision of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee in early August to cut the Bank of England base rate to an all time low of 0.25 per cent, savers should prepare themselves for interest rates to stay low well into the early 2020’s.

... And this isn’t some made up story to capture the headlines of newspaper editors. The yield (posh word for interest rate or return) on 10-year Government bonds is currently 0.61 per cent. This indicates that the money markets believe that the Bank of England’s base rate will, on average over the next ten years, be below the 0.61% rate they are buying the 10 year bonds at (because they would loose money if the average was over 0.61%). UK Interest rates are going to be low for a long time.

For those who have saved throughout their working lives and are looking for ways to maximise their savings, tying their money into property could prove advantageous. You see as a saver, I did a search of the internet and the best savings rate I could find was a 5 year fixed rate at 2.5% a year with Weatherbys Bank. Your £200,000 nest egg would earn you £5,000 a year – not much. However, on the other side of the fence, growth in South Ockendon house prices and princely buy to let yields have made property investment in South Ockendon an appealing option for many. According to my research, the...

Average Yield over the last five years for
South Ockendon Buy to let property has been 6.5% a year

… and average Property Values in over the same period have risen by 32.5%.

Using these averages, the South Ockendon landlord’s property would be worth £265,000 and they would have received a total of £65,000 in rent – making the total return £330,000. Meanwhile, whilst our 1,798 South Ockendon Saver’s, using the average savings rates for the last 5 years, even if they had reinvested the interest, their £200,000 would only be £221,184.

There are risks as well as benefits to buy to let though. As my blog readers know, I tell it like it is and investing in buy to let means locking up capital in a property that may fall in value. Another option would be stock market income based investment funds, which are paying around 5%, especially if put your nest egg into a tax free Stocks and Shares ISA. Although you can only add £15,240 a year into an ISA, but you would also have the ability to sell up quickly if you want ... but one last thought…

The other side of the coin is that you cannot buy an unloved ‘stock market income based investment fund’ and set about renovating it and adding value yourself. The investment fund isn’t something that you can touch and feel, isn’t something tangible, isn’t something physical, isn’t something concrete, it isn’t bricks and mortar ... and that is why my fellow South Ockendon homeowners and South Ockendon landlords is why the love affair of the British and Property will continue.

If you are considering becoming a new buy to let landlord in South Ockendon, what do you know about the South Ockendon property market? Do what many established landlords do and visit the South Ockendon Property Blog where there is a catalogue of articles like this and where the best buy to lets deals are in South Ockendon 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

“Can I Buy My Freehold?”

Most lessees (nb not tenants) have the statutory right to purchase the freehold of their building, called Collective Enfranchisement, under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. 

Such a purchase certainly has its appeal if your lease is beginning to look a little light – say 80 years or less. In this instance it may be worth considering buying the freehold now as the cost of doing so in the future will escalate dramatically as the years go by under a process called reversion, alongside an associated depreciation in the market value of your remaining lease. 

One important condition of such a purchase is that at least half of the lessees in a building participate in the purchase. Any lessee who does not wish to take part is deemed to have forfeited the right to do so in the future. 

Start by calling a lessees’ meeting and appoint a solicitor to draw up a participation agreement and a specialist surveyor to prepare a valuation. A formal notice requiring the freeholder to sell will then be served which must be accepted by the freeholder within two months or the tenants can force the sale through the county court under a Vesting Order. 

The issue of valuation can be extremely complex and requires specialist advice as it depends on numerous variables and precedents with over twenty valuation models in use! The freeholder may of course disagree with the valuation in which case the matter can be referred to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal for a decision although this can be costly for both sides. 

It is likely that your solicitor will advise that the purchase be made through a trust or limited company whereby shares in the company which owns the freehold are subsequently transferred from seller to buyer whenever the flat is sold in the future. 



Ps I have been asked many times about the above situation so, if you require any assistance, please drop me an email or alternatively give me a call on 01708 851999

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

“ Autumn’s All Go!”

With the summer, and the initial confusion over the Brexit issue, now firmly behind us, the market is active once again, and we actually find that we currently have far more buyers than we do stock, but predict that there will be a run of properties coming onto the market in the run up to Christmas. Those who enter the market ahead of this rush are likely to be the winners, as they will be competing with old stock.        

New-to-market properties over old stock that might have been on the market since the spring. The first question buyers ask is, “how long has it been on the market?” If nobody else wanted to buy it – why should they?  Any agent will tell you that a property is most likely to sell within the first two to three weeks of marketing. That’s when buyers are excited about your property, often leading to a price increase as buyers compete for your property. 

So if a move is on the cards, we urge you to consider bringing it forward if at all possible. You can always extend your completion date if need be. But the key in this market is to secure a buyer sooner rather than later.

We would be happy to create a Marketing Plan that really works for you – without obligation – quickly, efficiently and with great care and courtesy for local homeowners over the coming weeks.  

So why not call us today on 01708 851999, and discover a refreshingly different estate agency? You might just be putting your Christmas tree up in a different house this year!

Have a great day!



Monday, October 10, 2016

4.9% Rental Yield South Ockendon

Good morning! This two bedroom mid terraced house in Bann Close is currently on the market with a price tag of £255,000 and is being marketed by M&P Estates South Ockendon branch contact deals are 01708 851999 or email

This property has been well maintained by the current home owner and is being sold with the benefit of no onward chain. In addition, this mid terraced house is double glazed throughout and is fitted with a modern bathroom and kitchen which is always appealing to working professional tenants.

Bann Close is ideally situated for local amenities and Ockendon Train Station c2c line is 1.2 miles away making this an ideal rental property for those commuting into London.

Before I sign off let’s have a quick look at the figures, if you purchase the property at £255.000, the rentals on similar properties are now between £1050 - £1100 pcm, so if we work on the lower figure the rental yield will be 4.9%, not a bad yield at all, and when you take into consideration that property prices in South Ockendon will only increase it’s therefore a good buy!

If you would like to discuss this property or any other properties you may be thinking of purchasing as a buy to let investment then why not drop into my office for a coffee and a chat.  I have had a couple of clients who did this over 16 months ago and they are really glad they did pop in and take my advice, they are now sitting on a gross gain of 50% on their investment purchase.



PS  The advice and assistance I give to you and seasoned landlords is free and impartial, my knowledge of the area has been built up over the last 20 years of buying, selling and renting in South Ockendon and Aveley.  So why not give me a call on 01708 851999. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

“Relative Values”

Even the most credible authorities tend to disagree on the rate of price change in the property market, leaving the humble consumer somewhat baffled!    

The problem is the source of data that is used to make assumptions about the market is fickle. For example, you could look at the latest Land Registry figures. These record the volumes and prices of sales that completed potentially several months after the sale was arranged. But a lot can happen in that time – tax, economic data, interest rate changes and media influence can make a vast difference to buyer sentiment! HMLR figures also include the sale of small tranches of land in their figures, which can skew the average downwards.

You could look at the figures supplied by property portals such as Rightmove, which interpret the relationship between the monthly change in the average asking price of properties new to market during the preceding month. Of course, average asking prices are not necessarily a reflection of specific sale prices and theses figures do not take account of any asking price reductions, thereby skewing the average upwards! (Although at M&P Estate Agents we are proud of how often we achieve or even exceed our clients’ original asking price!)

As your local estate agent, we are acutely aware of what’s happening in the South Ockendon & Aveley market at a given point in time. We have a huge responsibility to get it right for our clients first time, and we take that responsibility very seriously. Ultimately, we find that the most reliable indicators lie in our ability to interpret the needs and comments of our buyers at local level. After all, it is today’s buyers who determine the current value of your property.    

We’re currently experiencing a healthy level of buyer enquiries, which inevitably results in some great prices being achieved. So why not contact us for an informal chat about the value of your property and suggested marketing plans over a cup of coffee? You might be pleasantly surprised!      



Ps If you want to find out how much your property is worth then dive me a call on 01708 851999 or email me

Thursday, October 6, 2016

What will the 0.25% Interest Rate do to the South Ockendon Property Market?

I had an interesting chat with a North Stifford landlord who owns a few properties in the town. He popped his head in to my office as his wife was shopping in the area (and let’s be honest talking about the South Ockendon Property Market is a lot more interesting than clothes shopping!). We had never spoken before (because he uses another agent in the town to manage his South Ockendon properties) yet after reading my blog on the South Ockendon Property Market for awhile, the landlord wanted to know my thoughts on how the recent interest rate cut would affect the South Ockendon property market and I would also like to share these thoughts with you……

Well it’s been a few weeks now since interest rates were cut to 0.25% by the Bank of England as the Bank believed Brexit could lead to a materially lower path of growth for the UK, especially for the manufacturing and construction industries. You see for the country as a whole, the manufacturing and construction industries are still performing well below the pre credit crunch levels of 2008/09, so the British economy remains highly susceptible to an economic shock. This is especially important in South Ockendon, because even though we have had a number of local success stories in manufacturing and construction, a large number of people are employed in these sectors. In South Ockendon, of the 8,915 people who have a job, 647 are in the manufacturing industry and 866 in Construction meaning

7.3% of South Ockendon workers are employed in the Manufacturing
sector and 9.7% of South Ockendon workers are in Construction

The other sector of the economy the Bank is worried about, and an equally important one to the South Ockendon economy, is the Financial Services industry. Financial Services in South Ockendon employ 472 people, making up 5.3% of the South Ockendon working population.

Together with a cut in interest rates, the Bank also announced an increase in the quantity of money via a new programme of Quantitative Easing to buy £70bn of Government and Private bonds. Now that won’t do much to the South Ockendon property market directly, but another measure also included in the recent announcement was £100bn of new funding to banks. This extra £100bn will help the High St banks pass on the base rate cut to people and businesses, meaning the banks will have lots of cheap money to lend for mortgages .. which will have a huge effect on the South Ockendon property market (as that £100bn would be enough to buy half a million homes in the UK).

It will take until early in the New Year to find out the real direction of the South Ockendon property market and the effects of Brexit on the economy as a whole, the subsequent recent interest rate cuts and the availability of cheap mortgages. However, something bigger than Brexit and interest rates is the inherent undersupply of housing (something I have spoken about many times in my blog and the specific affect on South Ockendon). The severe undersupply means that South Ockendon property prices are likely to increase further in the medium to long term, even if there is a dip in the short term. This only confirms what every homeowner and landlord has known for decades .. investing in property is a long term project and as an investment vehicle, it will continue to outstrip other forms of investment due to the high demand for a roof over people’s heads and the low supply of new properties being built. 



Sunday, October 2, 2016

“Your Secret Agent?”

Many estate agents will flatter you and promote themselves by claiming that they’ll get you the “highest price in the shortest possible time”. This is easy to say, but not so easy for most agents to justify or indeed deliver! Effective property sales involve a combination of great presentation, attractive pricing and effective marketing along with a host of other techniques that facilitate a successful sale.
As innovative estate agents with our finger firmly on the pulse of the local property market, we do things a bit differently at M&P Estates. One of the innovations that we have recently introduced is the “secret agent” concept whereby a property is offered “off-market” – and it’s proving to be hugely effective. 

In essence, instead of bringing your property to market in the expected way with the usual initial exposure across the property portals, local advertising, window display, website, etc, we make it quietly known to suitable pre-qualified buyers that the property is “about to come onto the market”. This “advance notice” really excites buyers as they feel they have exclusive access to a property that other buyers do not. During this pre-marketing phase we find that buyers are more likely to pay the full asking price rather than lose out. 

This technique is especially effective for properties that could possibly command an excellent price from one of a small pool of buyers, or where the vendor wants to try an ambitious price for a short period of time without exposing the property to the risk of going stale on the market – one of the worst things that can happen to a property!

Alternatively, if you have a property that has remained unsold for several months, it might just be worth “withdrawing” it from the market and reoffering it in this way, with us as your “secret agent”. You might be in for a pleasant surprise!

Why not call us today on 01708 851999 in confidence, to see how a more creative approach to property sales can pay real dividends.    

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

“It’s Not Just About Selling”

Many estate agents put substantial emphasis on their ability to find a buyer, and they highlight this as a primary reason to sell through them.

However, we believe in going far beyond this. In many ways, finding a buyer is the easy bit! Most switched-on agents have access to most of the buyers in the market, primarily via their advertising in the press, website and portals, enabling them to build a large database of registered buyers.

But the issue is not actually about selling. For most people it’s about moving. Selling your home is only one component of the process, and for most it is not as exciting as the buying component! Whilst an agent’s sales success and their investment in technology and advertising will always be important to vendors, there does seem to be a huge gap in estate agency that provides the reassurance homeowners deserve when they are moving.

On average about a third of sales arranged in England and Wales fall through prior to exchange of contracts (although our own fall-through rate is substantially below this). The chances of a sale failing to exchange can be considerably reduced if the seller’s agents are as concerned about the whole move in context as they are about the sale in isolation. So often, it is issues relating to linked sales or purchases that can be the cause of problems, be they legal, structural or emotional.

Our aim is to make the process of buying and selling be the celebration it should be, rather than the daunting process it often is. So when you speak to one of our property advisers, don’t be surprised to find them as interested in your moving plans as they are in your sale. Because that’s what meaningful and relevant service is all about!      

So if you’d like to work with a committed and accountable agent who will actually help you move, then please do contact us for an initial chat on 01708 851999



Monday, September 26, 2016

13,300 People Live In Every Square Mile Of South Ockendon – Is South Ockendon Over Crowded?

South Ockendon is already in the clutches of a population crisis that has now started to affect the quality of life of those living in South Ockendon. There are simply not enough homes in South Ockendon to house the greater number of people wanting to live in the town. The burden on public services is almost at breaking point with many parents unable to send their child to their first choice of primary or secondary school and the chances of getting a decent Dentist or GP Doctor Surgery next to nil.

Well that’s what the papers would say.. but let’s look at real numbers, and in particular my specialist subject of South Ockendon Property, with the housing issue in South Ockendon. To start with, the UK has roughly 1,065 people per square mile – the second highest in Europe. The total area of South Ockendon itself is 1.457 square miles and there are 19,400 South Ockendon residents, meaning …

13,300 people live in each square mile of South Ockendon, it’s no wonder we appear to be bursting at the seams!

… but yet again, newspapers, politicians and property market bloggers quote big numbers to sell more newspapers, get elected or get people to read their blog (I recognise the irony!). A square mile is enormous, so the numbers look correspondingly large (and headline grabbing). Most people reading this will know what an ‘acre’ is, but those younger readers who don’t, it is an imperial unit of measurement for land and it is approximately 63 metres square.

In South Ockendon, only 19.03 people live in every acre of South Ockendon … not as headline grabbing, but a lot closer to home and relative to everyday life, and if I am being honest, a figure that doesn’t seem that bad.

Yet, the issue at hand is, we need more homes building. In 2007, Tony Blair set a target that 240,000 homes a year needed to be built to keep up with the population growth, whilst the Tory’s new target since 2010 was a more modest 200,000 a year. However, since 2010, as a country, we have only been building between 140,000 and 150,000 houses a year. So where are we going to build these homes .. because we have no space! Or do we?

Well, let me tell you this fascinating piece of information I found out recently in an official Government report. Looking specifically at England (as it is the most densely populated country of the Union), all the 20 million English homes cover only 1.1% of its land mass. That is not a typo, only one point one per cent (1.1%) of land in England is covered by residential property. In more detail, of all the land in the Country -

  •      Residential Houses and Flats 1.1%
  •         Gardens 4.3%
  •         Shops and Offices 0.7%
  •         Highways (Roads and Paths) 2.3%
  •         Railways 0.1%
  •         Water  (Rivers /Reservoirs) 2.6%
  •      Industry, Military and other uses 1.4%

.. leaving 88.5% as Open Countryside (and if you think about it, add to that the gardens, which are green spaces, and the country is 92.8% greenspace)

As a country, we have plenty of space to build more homes for the younger generation and the five million more homes needed in the next 20 years would use only 0.25% of the country’s land. Now I am not advocating building massive housing estates and 20 storey concrete and glass behemoth apartment blocks next to local beauty spots such as nearby Belhus Woods Country Park or Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve, but with some clever planning and joined up thinking, we really do need to think outside the box when it comes to how we are going to build and house our children and our children’s children in the coming 50 years in South Ockendon. If anyone has their own ideas, I would love to hear from you.



Friday, September 23, 2016

September 2016 Property Market Comment

Three months after the Brexit referendum and there has been no property market apocalypse as some had predicted. As ever, we British are very good at keeping calm and carrying on. Fortunately the referendum itself was simply a pointer to change, not a change in itself and we probably have three years over which to adjust to the gradual implications that may affect the market.

In the meantime, as with any major economic or political event, the market was somewhat put on hold over the summer, with reported transactions only now showing themselves. Whilst the latest transaction volumes were up year on year to July by 8.3%, this is lower than the 9.7% recorded last July. And most of these latest transactions would have been agreed prior to the referendum result.

More telling might be that mortgage approvals, according to e.surv, were nearly 5% down on the same time last year and house price growth according to The Halifax house price index is at its lowest for three years at 6.9%, down from 10% in March, although much of this fall could be attributed to seasonal effects and wild differences across the country. Some areas of London for example have experienced a slowdown whilst others have seen rises of up to 18.7%. The Land Registry now puts the average house price at £216,750 nationally – up 8.3% on the year based on July’s figures, while Rightmove reports a 10.5% hike in asking prices of new sellers during August.

Interestingly, the RICS reports that new sales listings have fallen at the fastest rate ever, possibly indicating a “wait and see” attitude from sellers. Buyers on the other hand appear much more confident, especially with interest rates at 0.25%! This imbalance of supply and demand, plus medium- to long-term uncertainty suggests that people considering a sale in 2017 and beyond might be well advised to bring their decision forward. Not only would they be able to maximise their own sale price, but they’d be in a stronger position as they themselves become buyers as more properties potentially come to market, at a time when things might not seem so rosy.

If we can help you reach the right decision for your own circumstances, then please feel free to call us on 01708 851999 for friendly, sincere, expert advice.



Ps. Hope you all have a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The South Ockendon Love Affair with its 3,400 Terraced Houses

Call me old fashioned, but I do like the terraced house.   In fact, I have done some research that I hope you will find of interest my South Ockendon property market blog reading friends!

In architecture terms, a terraced or townhouse is a style of housing in use since the late 1600’s in the UK, where a row of symmetrical / identical houses share their side walls. The first terraced houses were actually built by a French man, Monsieur Barbon around St. Paul’s Cathedral within the rebuilding process after the Great Fire of London in 1666.  Interestingly, it was the French that invented the terraced house around 1610-15 in the Le Marais district of Paris with its planned squares and properties with identical facades. However, it was the 1730’s in the UK, that the terraced/townhouse came into its own in London and of course in Bath with the impressive Royal Crescent.

However, we are in South Ockendon, not Bath, so the majority of our South Ockendon terraced houses were built in the Victorian era.  Built on the back of the Industrial Revolution, with people flooding into the towns and cities for work in Victorian times, the terraced house offered decent livable accommodation away from the slums. An interesting fact is that the majority of Victorian South Ockendon terraced houses are based on standard design of a ‘posh’ front room, a back room (where the family lived day to day) and scullery off that.  Off the scullery, a door to a rear yard, whilst upstairs, three bedrooms (the third straight off the second).  Interestingly, the law was changed in 1875 with the Public Health Act and each house had to have 108ft of livable space per main room, running water, it’s own outside toilet and rear access to allow the toilet waste to be collected (they didn’t have public sewers in those days in South Ockendon – well not at least where these ‘workers’ terraced houses were built).

It was the 1960’s and 70’s where inside toilets and bathrooms were installed (often in that third bedroom or an extension off the scullery) and gas central heating in the 1980’s and replacement Upvc double glazing ever since.

Looking at the make up of all the properties in South Ockendon, some very interesting numbers appear.  Of the 8,178 properties in South Ockendon …

637 are Detached properties (7.8%)
1,947 are Semi Detached properties (24.0%)
3,419 are Terraced / Town House properties (42.2%)
2,093 are Apartment/ Flat’s (25.8%)

And quite noteworthy, there are 82 mobile homes, representing 1.0% of all property in South Ockendon. 

When it comes to values, the average price paid for a South Ockendon terraced house in 1995 was £39,812 and the latest set of figures released by the land Registry states that today that figure stands at £230,500, a rise of 479% - not bad when you consider semi-detached properties in South Ockendon in the same time frame have only risen by 300%.

But then a lot of buy to let landlords and first time buyers I speak to think the Victorian terraced house is expensive to maintain.  I recently read a report from English Heritage that stated maintaining a typical Victorian terraced house over thirty years is around sixty percent cheaper than building and maintaining a modern house- which is quite fascinating don’t you think!

Don’t dismiss the humble terraced house – especially in South Ockendon!  For more thoughts on the South Ockendon Property Market – visit the South Ockendon Property Market Blog



Ps Have a good Tuesday!

Monday, September 19, 2016

“A Proactive Approach Essential”

Estate Agents are generally an up-beat type. Selling property, to the right buyer, quickly and at an impressive price requires a “can do, will do” approach that is unlikely to be found in a pessimist.

Agents with a positive attitude are more likely to be able to identify opportunities on behalf of our clients. Combine this with a strong focus on proactivity and hard work and results tend to follow. To this end we have found that embracing the following activities pays real dividends in this market: 

1     Encouraging former vendors to consider relisting their property. These vendors in turn become buyers again, adding fuel to the market.

          Demonstrating to buyers and investors that this is actually a historically good time to purchase property. We do of course have all the all the economic data and housing stats at our disposal to prove this point.

3   Having direct access to the latest mortgage products, thereby empowering buyers who might previously have had difficulty in securing funding.

4       Becoming even more deeply involved in managing chains of linked transactions. This might include chasing mortgages and solicitors up/down the line, or even renegotiating a distant deal in order to save others.  

5    Working more intensively with good buyers by interpreting their needs thereby helping them to understand where areas of compromise may be required. Also helping them to recognise relative value so they feel confident about any offer they make, ensuring that the sale sticks!   

So why not engage an agent who, through hard work, innovation and a progressive approach, continues to deliver exceptional results? Why not call us on 01708 51999 for an initial no-obligation chat. Oh yes, you’ll find us really nice people too!   



Ps Have a great Monday!!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

47.1% of South Ockendon Rented Property have Children living in them.

A few weeks ago I was asked a fascinating question by a local Councillor who, after reading the South Ockendon Property Blog, emailed me and asked me – “Are South Ockendon Landlords meeting the Challenges of tenanted families bringing up their families in South Ockendon?”

What interesting question to be asked.

Irrespective of whether you are tenant or a homeowner, to bring up a family, the most important factors are security and stability in the home. A great bellwether of that security and stability in a rented property is whether tenants are constantly being evicted. Many tenancies last just six months with families at risk of being thrown out after that with just two months’ notice for no reason.

Some “left leaning Politian’s” keep saying we need to deal with the terrible insecurity of Britain’s private rental market by creating longer tenancies of 3 or 5 years instead of the current six months. However, the numbers seem to be telling a different story. The average length of residence in private rental homes has risen in the last 5 years from 3.7 years to 4 years (a growth of 8.1%), which in turn has directly affected the number of renters who have children. In fact, the proportion of private rented property that have dependent children in them, has gone from 29.1% in 2003 to 37.4% today.

Looking specifically at South Ockendon compared to the National figures, of the 718 private rental homes in South Ockendon, 338 of these have dependent children in them (or 47.1%), which is interestingly (although expected) above the National average of already stated 37.4%.

Even more fascinating are the other tenure types in South Ockendon…

  • ·        32.7% of Social (Council) Housing in South Ockendon have dependent children
  • ·        46.8% of South Ockendon Owner Occupiers (with a Mortgage) have dependent children
  • ·        10.7% of Owner Occupiers (without a Mortgage) have dependent children

Although, when we look at the length of time these other tenure types have, whilst the average length of a tenancy for the private rented sector is 4 years, it is 11.4 years in social (council) housing, 24.1 years for home owners without a mortgage and 10.4 years of homeowners with mortgages.

Anecdotally I have always known this, but this just proves landlords do not spend their time seeking opportunities to evict a tenant as the average length of tenancy has steadily increased. This noteworthy 8.1% increase in the average length of time tenants stay in a private rented property over the last 5 years, shows tenants are happy to stay longer and start families.

So, as landlords are already meeting tenants’ wants and needs when it comes to the length of tenancy, I find it strange some politicians are calling for fixed term 3 and 5 year tenancies. Such heavy handed regulation could stop landlords renting their property out in the first place, cutting off the supply of much needed rental property, meaning tenants would suffer as rents went up. Also, if such legislation was brought in, tenants would loose their ‘Get Out of Jail card’, as under current rules, they can leave at anytime with one months notice not the three or six month tenant notice suggested by some commenters.  

Finally, there is an extra piece of good news for South Ockendon tenants. The English Housing Survey notes that those living in private rented housing for a long periods of time generally paid less rent than those who chopped and changed.



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

“Pick a Letter”

There are many styles of estate agency operating in the South Ockendon area, and picking the right one to sell your property can be daunting.   

Different agencies provide a variety of services, yet some people are unaware of the indirect benefit that apparently unrelated services can offer. Whilst you may be thinking of selling rather than letting your property, have you considered the benefit of instructing an agent who also provides letting services – as we do – as it could be the make or break of your sale, for a number of reasons:

Firstly, as we handle both sales and lettings, we have long-term buy-to-let property investors permanently on our books who buy through us regularly. They know us, they make quick decisions and reliable offers. They prefer to buy through an agency that also does lettings because it is easy for them to then let out their new investment. Indeed, we are often able to find, reference and process a tenant who can move in quickly - even on the day of completion in some instances, thereby helping to maximising the investor’s return on investment!

Secondly, many of our tenants, wishing to get their foot on the property ladder, subsequently go on to buy a property. As we build good relationships with our tenants we are in prime position to be able to help them buy one of our own clients’ properties - smoothing to move from rented to purchased accommodation.

Thirdly, there are times when a vendor decides not to sell, but to rent, or even pursue both options simultaneously, in which case we are of course well positioned to handle both. Likewise, it is sometimes the case that a prospective tenant decides to buy instead of renting, again adding to our stock of pre-qualified buyers.

So when the time comes to sell, pick an estate agent who also offers letting services. It will improve your chances of a successful sale on the best possible terms! 



Friday, September 9, 2016

New House Building in South Ockendon slumps by 29.3% in the last year

Let me speak frankly, even with Brexit and the fact immigration numbers will now be reduced in the coming years, there is an unending and severe shortage of new housing being built in the South Ockendon area (and the UK as a whole).  Even if there are short term confidence trembles fueled by newspapers hungry for bad news, the ever growing population of South Ockendon with its high demand for property versus curtailed supply of properties being built, this imbalance of supply/demand and the possibility of even lower interest rates will underpin the property market.

When the Tories were elected in 2015, Mr. Cameron vowed to build 1,000,000 new homes by 2020.  If we as a Country hit those levels of building, most academics stated the UK Housing market would balance itself as the increased supply of property would give a chance for the younger generation to buy their own home as opposed to rent.  However, the up-to-date building figures show that in the first three months of 2016 building starts were down.  Nationally, there were 35,530 house building starts in the first quarter, a long way off the 50,000 a quarter required to hit those ambitious targets.

Looking closer to home, over the last 12 months, new building in the Thurrock Council area has slumped.  In 2014/15, for every one thousand existing households in the area, an additional 11.72 homes were built.  For 2015/16, that figure is now only 8.28 homes built per thousand existing households.  Nationally, to meet that 1,000,000 new homes target, we need to be at 7.12 new homes per thousand, which means Thurrock Council is actually above the National target, the problem is the country is only building at a rate of 4.9 for every thousand exiting households – we can’t just rely on little old South Ockendon or Thurrock Council to build for the rest of the Country.

To put those numbers into real chimney pots, over the last 12 months, in the Thurrock Council area,

·        460 Private Builders (e.g. New Homes Builders)
·        80   Housing Association
·        Nil   Local Authority

I am of the opinion Messer’s Cameron and Osborne focused their attention too much on the demand side of the housing equation, using the Help to Buy scheme and low deposit mortgages to convert the ‘Generation Rent’ i.e. South Ockendon ‘20 somethings’ who are set to rent for the rest of their lives to ‘Generation Buy’.  On the other side of the coin, I would strongly recommend the new Housing Minster, Gavin Barwell, should concentrate the Government’s efforts on the supply side of the equation.  There needs to be transformations to planning laws, massive scale releases of public land and more investment, as more inventive solutions are needed.

However, ultimately, responsibility has to rest on the shoulders of Theresa May.  Whilst our new PM has many plates to spin, evading on the housing crisis will only come at greater cost later on.  What a legacy it would be if it was Mrs. May who finally got to grips with the persistent and enduring shortage of homes to live in.  The PM has already referenced the ‘need to do far more to get more houses built’ and stop the decline of home ownership.  However, she has also ruled out any changes to the green belt policy – something I will talk about in a future up and coming article.  Hopefully these statistics will raise the alarm bells again and persuade both residents and Councilor’s in the Thurrock Council area that housing needs to be higher on its agenda.