Search Sales
Search lettings
Super User

Super User

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 00:00

We’ve moved!

We are delighted to announce that due to continued expansion in the business the Balfours Estate Agents team have now relocated  to The Square in Shrewsbury!  The new address is Balfours LLP, The Square, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 1LG. We are now operating from the new premises.

 

Monday, 07 December 2015 00:00

Woodcock under the moon – out of bounds

It is good to hear of the GWCT involvement at top level, last month, when Mike Short of the GWCT was among the All Party Parliamentary Group impressing on a Westminster audience the importance of continued availability of effective, lawful tools to manage predation pressure during the breeding season which will be critical to securing the recovery of some dwindling native species.


Better still, Liz Truss MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, paid tribute to the scientific research of the GWCT and its contribution to developing practical solutions to reversing the decline of our native wildlife.


Mike Short who heads up the Predation Research team said: “The GWCT has invested a huge amount of time and effort in improving the selectivity and welfare impacts of predator control practices. For example, when fox snares designed to allow non-target species to self-release are used in accordance with ‘best practice’ guidelines, they have been shown to pass internationally recognised trap welfare standards, although it’s critical that operators are properly trained in their use.”


GWCT research has clearly shown that the provision of good habitat, in conjunction with legal predator control, can substantially boost species recovery. This is demonstrated by the Duke of Norfolk’s inspiring Peppering Partridge Project on the South Downs. Here, there has been a dramatic recovery of a whole suite of nationally declining farmland bird species, such as our native wild grey partridge, lapwing and skylark. Addressing the meeting the Duke emphasised that without effective predator control the project could not have worked.


Agricology, launched recently, is a new online resource that translates scientific research into practical advice to help farmers become more profitable, resiliant and more sustainable, while protecting the environment.
Founded by three independent charitable organisations – the Daylesford Foundation, the Organic Research Centre and the GWCT Allerton Project – Agricology aims to provide farmers with the best practical information on ecological techniques, regardless of labels via a website www.agricology.co.uk, on social media, and through on-farm events.


Under the Moon
Flighting woodcock set the adrenalin rushing and are fantastic sport, but did you know that woodcock “under the moon” as the Game Acts prohibit woodcock shooting between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. On a dull evening the flight is usually over before this, but on a bright, full moon one the birds can flight late.

 

The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s research has shown very strong winter site fidelity by woodcock, so those who might be tempted to shoot too many can expect less to come to their particular place next season.


Tim Main is  Chairman of the Shropshire Branch of the GWCT. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, 04 December 2015 00:00

Five bed - Shrewsbury in top ten

Shrewsbury is one of the UKs top ten choice county towns for family homes – with price rises averaging 27% for five plus bedroom homes in the past year.

Warwick takes the medal for the highest price growth for five bedroom homes, increasing from £519,000 to £799,000.

The figures revealed by premier global property service, Property Wire, have been welcomed by Alistair Hilton, residential sales town manager, with Balfours Property Professionals. This is good news and reflects the continuing growth we have seen in Shrewsbury.”

Significantly the top ten county towns are across the geographic spread of the UK, from York, to Exeter, Bristol and Northampton. Of 41 towns analysed, just 11 reported price deflation in the past 12 months, four of which were less than one percent.

Says Alistair: “County towns are a popular choice amongst residential buyers, especially those with children who are looking for larger family homes which represent seriously good value for money.”

He says this was illustrated earlier this autumn when a London buyer, pushed up by several under bidders, finally exchanged nearly £100,000 above guide price on a five bedroom house in Shrewsbury’s SY3 district.

“Like so many coming into Shropshire, this buyer appreciated that where Shrewsbury really scores is with its great infrastructure; private and state schools, services and amenities, with a fabulous choice of independent retailers, cafes and restaurants. People often tell me what a fantastic mix Shrewsbury provides and the bonus is a huge variety of rural landscapes close by too.

“I think parents also appreciate that Shrewsbury is a good environment as youngsters seek independence and want to socialise with their friends. County towns like Shrewsbury can provide a more self-sufficient environment for off-spring.”

He says that transport links, rail and buses are also easily accessed. For him personally being able to walk and cycle around the town is a major advantage. “We have so many picture perfect places within the centre which makes the whole experience of living and working in Shrewsbury very satisfying.

“Since 2008 the value of larger family homes has been squeezed – these figures illustrate very clearly that Shropshire’s county town market is coming back and strengthening very nicely,” Alistair concludes. 

Shropshire professionals attending a Balfours Xtra seminar at The Mytton and Mermaid Hotel heard about changes to Letting laws and rules with the latest regulations introduced from October.

Speaking to some 70 professionals including lawyers and accountants at the annual Shrewsbury event on Tuesday this week, (November 24,) Senior Lettings Negotiator, Charlotte George, highlighted five significant changes to letting legislation including, tenancy deposits, smoke and Carbon Monoxide regulations, The Immigration Act, Retaliatory Evictions and Section 21 notices which have been implemented.

She said: “From the 1st October this year, the good news is that landlords are no longer required to serve notice on their tenants on a particular day of the month.  However landlords do need to be diligent when instigating a tenancy, issuing to the tenant a suite of documents including an Energy Performance Certificate, Gas Safety Certificate, deposit requirement and local government’s “How To Rent” brochure without these the landlords ability to serve notice will be affected,” Charlotte warned.

Genuine tenant complaints could also give tenants the right to stay in a property until the complaint is resolved. If it is a legitimate complaint which is issued in writing to the landlord, then the landlord must reply detailing the action to be taken and the timeframe this will happen in. If this doesn’t happen then the tenant can take the matter to the Local Authority. At this point the Authority can serve an Improvement Notice or an Emergency Remedial Notice – and once this notice is served it could prevent the landlord from being able to evict the tenant.

“We are advising any landlords to address potential issues; not only will this avoid complaints, but in our experience the landlord will attract better, happiertenants who are likely to stay longer,” Charlotte adds.

From February 2016 the Immigration Act will be placing a new onus on landlords, with heavy fines for those letting property to tenants who aren’t in possession of the relevant visas. Charlotte says all potential tenants must be validated for the right to rent in the UK: “Landlords or their agents are legally bound to check potential tenants have the unlimited right to rent in the UK, or that a valid visa is in place and in date.”

“The message is that compliance with letting law is getting tougher, so if in doubt ask a reputable agent,” Charlotte concludes.

Three per cent stamp duty on second homes, announced in the Autumn budget, will hold back the buy to let market and may impact on buy to let property value, reducing the prices.

Shropshire estate agent, Tim Main of Balfours, says that the move is the second significant blow for buy to let investors this year.

He says: “The reality is that stamp duty on a £150,000 property will be hiked up significantly after April 2016, from £500 to £3,800. This is the second financial hit for buy-to-let investors this year. The summer budget in July reduced landlords’ ability to offset mortgage interest costs against rental income. That change will be phased in between 2017 and 2020 and make many existing buy-to-lets unprofitable.”

He continues: “We don’t know full details, for instance what constitutes a second home? However it could well spike the buy to let market in the next few months, before the April 2016 deadline. That will initially step up the competition for first time buyers, but ultimately first time buyers are unlikely to face as much competition as they have experienced in recent years.”

Mr Main is less concerned for the second home, holiday market: “It might dampen enthusiasm and marginally reduced spend, but generally if people want, and can afford, a holiday home they will buy anyway.  On a £350,000 second home there will be an £9,300 extra stamp duty to pay taking the bill to £16,800; for a £450,000 property the stamp duty bill will be just short of £25,000 – which is nearly double the current cost.

“We have experienced a good year with SY1, 2 and 3 property values averaging 5% up, overall Shropshire property prices are very settled which is good for confidence, however house supply has been less predictable – perhaps yesterday’s announcement will encourage home owners considering a sale to progress pre April 2016.”

 

Thursday, 26 November 2015 00:00

AMC Down to Earth Winter 2015 issue

The AMC have circulated their most recent Newsletter - you can read it here

Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:00

SY1, 2 and 3 up 5

Properties in Shrewsbury residential areas have seen a three to five per cent rise in value this calendar year.

The statistics were revealed to some 70 professionals attending Balfours Xtra seminar at the Mytton and Mermaid, yesterday (November 24). Speaking at the event Balfours town manager, Alistair Hilton said: “Properties in the SY1, 2 and 3 areas have risen in value by three to five per cent, those in the SY3 were up by 5.29% according to Zoopla.”

“The change in stamp duty last December has had the greatest impact on the £250,000 previous price barrier, giving buyers an extra £5,000 to put into their deposit. Some of those that were stuck at the £250,000 threshold are now selling for £275,000 showing a 10% increase. Buyers have also taken advantage of the 0.5% base rate – with ‘Loan To Value’- LTVs being more favourable and accessible than three or four years ago, with LTVs of 95% now available.”

He also highlighted new build as a significant growth area, with the 2014 market accounting for 10%, while 2015 has seen a strong increase to 15.7% this month. He says: “First time buyers can now approach developers with no money and the developer will offer 5%, together with other help to buy incentives.”

Highlighting several speedy sales at above guide, he added: “Buyers are out there, we had one buyer coming out of London who identified the property they wanted and despite competition above the guide price, they secured the Shrewsbury property nearer to £900,000, almost £100,000 above guide. Timing and location are key,” he added.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 00:00

One bed perfection in sandstone

An exquisite sandstone cottage, formerly a chapel in an idyllic rural setting has been launched to the market by Balfours Property Professionals. The Chapel, at Hopton, Nesscliffe, is equidistance of nine miles from both Shrewsbury and Oswestry, with local amenities in Nesscliffe half a mile away.

The ground floor comprises entrance hall and hallway, with independent access to the dining room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. A stairway from the hallway leads to a first floor living room with glazing to all aspect and unspoiled views to Hopton Hill, Nesscliffe Hill and the Welsh Mountains. The room also has a wonderful ceiling which is open to the rafters – adding to the spacious feel of the room which is 35 metres square.

Agent, Clemmie Daborn, of Balfours says: “This really is a one off and rare opportunity to purchase a one bedroom property. The Chapel dates back to 1833 and is just a sheer pleasure, well worth viewing.” The Chapel, which includes parking and garden, is marketed with a guide price of £150,000. For more information call Clemmie Daborn on 01743 353511 or visit www.balfours.co.uk

IMG 7918 - Copy

Monday, 16 November 2015 00:00

We are delighted to announce

We are delighted to announce that due to continued expansion in the business the Balfours Estate Agents team are relocating to The Square in Shrewsbury. The new address will be Balfours LLP, The Square, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 1LG. From Monday 7th December 2015 we will be operating from the new premises.

We do hope you will be able to come and see us soon in the new premises.

 

Music Hall

Tuesday, 03 November 2015 00:00

Winter responsibilities

Landlords and tenants should ensure they are fully aware of who is responsible for what before the onset of winter.

Most tenancy agreements require tenants to take such reasonable and prudent precautions expected of a householder, particularly between and including the months of November to February, by heating the premises to prevent damage by frost or freezing. 

To this end Charlotte George MARLA, Senior Lettings Negotiator of Balfours Property Professionals is urging landlords to make tenants aware that if they are planning extended periods away they should always remember to leave heating on at a low level, which should stop the possibility of freezing damage to the plumbing and heating systems, prevent condensation and mildew and mould growth. 

Charlotte says, “The most effective way to achieve this is not to have the heating on for one hour in the mornings and evenings, but to leave it on permanently, with the boiler output thermostat set to low or min and the room thermostats set to  around 12C. Radiator valves should be left fully open, and any thermostatic radiator valves turned up to max.

However if the tenant is out daily, they should ensure that the heating is put on for a period of time in the evening – the easiest thing to do is to set the timer/thermostat.  This will ensure pipes do not freeze and avoids damp in the property,” she adds. 

With additional heating comes an increased risk of fire. New legislation that came into effect on 1st October this year requires private landlords to install smoke alarms in all rented properties on every floor of their property. Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms are also required in any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance, for example a wood burning stove, an open fire or a solid fuel Aga.

Charlotte explains: “In the first instance the alarms are the responsibility of the landlord, but on handover tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order. ‘Test it Tuesday’ is the day Balfours and the Fire & Rescue Services recommend that smoke alarms are tested.”

She concludes: “Keeping a house or flat in good condition is particularly important in winter, areas of responsibility do need to be clear to avoid both misunderstandings and costly repairs, neither of which the landlord or tenant want.”

 

Page 26 of 37