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Property Moves Strengthening


A leading Shropshire estate agent reports steady strengthening of the residential property market, driven by more buyers who are determined to move.

“Positive trends are seen on two fronts, the number of buyers in the market and actual prices realised, probably the only area that remains reticent is prospective vendors – resulting in more buyers chasing less stock,” says head of sales at Balfours, Alistair Hilton.

His view is confirmed by two national players, UK Finance and According to UK Finance new homeowner re-mortgages were up 19.1 percent in January, compared to the same month a year earlier. This is the highest monthly number of re-mortgages since November 2008.

Alistair clarifies: “ recently reported year on year price growth in the West Midlands at 4.9 per cent with Wales also reflecting strong annual growth at four percent. It is true to say that the Midlands are leading a rise in house sale asking prices.”

He reflects: “I was working down in London in 2008 when the peak turned to slump; the figures issued this week are further proof that in the West Midlands we are back where we should be – achieving sustainable and steady growth.”

The UK Finance data mirrors the positive vibes right through to the number of first time buyers which was up seven per cent ahead of the same month, January, last year. A particularly pleasing result in a traditionally quieter month, which, says Alistair, was quite probably aided by the Chancellor’s abolition of first time buyer stamp duty last November.

“Without doubt the new developments seen throughout Shropshire are helping to buffer housing stock and especially offering a foothold to first time buyers. The Orchid Meadow development we are marketing at Minsterley has enjoyed strong demand from the onset.”

He concludes: “I’m pleased to report that vendor market appraisals have been exceptionally busy in recent weeks. Therefore we are now looking forward to delivering more stock to market in the run up to Easter and the spring market beyond.”

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To Let – Stunning Views With Amenities Close By


An idyllic four bedroom rural retreat, River View House is available to let. Living up to its name it boasts far reaching, stunning views over the River Severn towards the Wrekin.

River View House is approached through the rolling countryside of Buildwas Park nestled between Cressage and Much Wenlock.

Charlotte George, MARLA, Head of Lettings for Balfours says: “The property offers a fabulous setting, yet is within easy reach of Cressage and Much Wenlock, while  Shrewsbury and Telford are each 11 miles.”

The spacious accommodation comprises of a large entrance hall, sitting room with open fire, glazing to three aspects and French doors to the garden. There is a recently fitted kitchen breakfast room, separate dining room; a study/snug, utility and guest cloakroom, which completes the ground floor.

On the first floor the master bedroom benefits from en-suite facilities, while three additional bedrooms share the family bathroom. Charlotte adds: “This is a fabulous ‘ready to go’ property with double glazing and oil central heating; large garden and ample parking.” River View House is available at £1,400pcm. For more information call Charlotte George on 01743 277069.

Please click here for further details.

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River View sitting

River View kitchen

River View bedroom

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Four Bed Home In Stunning Parkland Setting To Let


Garden House by name and nature, this four bedroom detached house, not only has its own enclosed garden, but is set within the grounds of the magnificent, Weston Park Country Estate, giving access to beautiful parkland walks.

Available to let with Balfours,  Charlotte George, MARLA, Head of Lettings, says: “The property provides adaptable accommodation with four ground floor reception rooms, including the lounge and sitting room each with woodburners to compliment the central heating. Garden House is a charming property which is available on a long term tenancy.”

Briefly the accommodation comprises of entrance hall, sitting room and lounge each with woodburner, a dining room and snug, fitted breakfast kitchen, pantry, utility and guest WC. On the first floor the master bedroom comes with en-suite facilities, there are three further bedrooms which share the family bathroom.

Garden House comes with log storage and parking. It is located just off the A5 and within a short drive of the A41 and M54, thereby enabling excellent access to the main towns and cities of the Midlands from its tranquil setting. Garden House is available to let at £1,500pcm, for more information call Charlotte George on 01743 277069. 

Please click here for further details.

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garden hse

garden hse  reception room

garden hse  garden

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Exemplary Barn With Paddocks


Oak Barn combines an exemplary finish with location, convenience and land. Found at Stanwardine Park Farm, two miles from Baschurch and with Shrewsbury and Oswestry equidistance, each some ten miles.

On the market with Balfours, agent Duncan Scobie comments, “It is the former Jinney ring which provides the ultimate wow factor, in this wonderfully proportioned home with four en-suite bedrooms.” Now forming part of the living room and incorporating a raised woodburner, the Jinney Ring area was where once a horse powered mill worked, hence an octagonal footprint with today’s floor to ceiling glazed elevations.

Returning through double doors into the main house is the spacious eight metre, by nearly five metre kitchen breakfast room, incorporating substantial granite topped island, bespoke oak cabinets plus an array of top range integrated electronics. The library is fitted with floor to ceiling classic shelving; while similar to the dining room dual aspect floor to ceiling glazing ensure ample natural light.

A utility and cloakroom complete ground floor accommodation, while stairs ascend to a long landing, providing access to the master and guest bedroom with generous ensuites, together with two additional bedrooms with ensuite shower rooms.

Baschurch provides excellent facilities, from primary and secondary schools to supermarket, farmshop and much more. Several private schools are within a short commute too.

Outdoor features include private driveway, walled, well stocked gardens and a courtyard which runs the length of the property. There are two paddocks extending to 3.2 acres and a number of outdoor storage sheds. Duncan adds: “For anyone seeking something rather special, viewing is a must.” Oak Barn is marketed with a guide price of £625,000. For more information call Duncan Scobie on 01743 353511.

Please click here for further details.

Oak Barn Main

Oak Barn Paddock

Oak Barn Kitchen

Oak Barn Conservatory

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Keep House Warm To Avoid Costly Repairs


Landlords and tenants should be aware of their responsibilities in the recent snap of cold weather.

Head of Lettings at Balfours, Charlotte George, MARLA, is urging landlords to remind their tenants that it is likely to be their responsibility to ensure pipes inside the house are kept frost free. Insurers may be unsympathetic where properties have been left empty and simply unheated. 

Charlotte observes, “It is a long time since we have had such challenging winter conditions, but with the coming together of the Beast from the East and Storm Emma this week, the sub-zero temperatures means that pipes in unheated or badly heated properties will be prone to freezing and ultimate bursts, for various reasons.

“Central heating systems are more likely to fail during times of extreme cold, oil can sometimes fail to get to tanks, or boilers are worked harder than usual.  Heating engineers will be busy and with snow drifts and black ice may be unable to get around rural properties at all. 

She also highlights oil companies who are likely to be working on overtime, probably with a waiting list for deliveries; again with lorries finding it more difficult to deliver in rural areas and if the oil runs out it can also be expensive to get the system restarted.  “Often this will mean not just no heating but also no hot water, Charlotte warns.

“Our advice to householders is to make sure you have alternative sources of heat that can cope with this old fashioned winter.”

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Traditional Agents Drive Property Sales


The pitfalls of “online” money-up front-sales agents have been flagged up by a legal firm.

The views of Rix & Kay Solicitors have been endorsed by Shropshire agents Balfours, who say traditional estate agents are having to step in to support clients who have chosen online agents. Head of sales at Balfours, Alistair Hilton, says: “This is to ensure that chains do not collapse and that sales complete.”

The report which came from six months research in the South East, suggests that the business model adopted by alternative online estate agents, where an upfront fee is charged and they are not relying on a sale completing, means they do not have the same motivation or incentive to support clients during the sales progression phase.

Alistair explains: “The most critical part of the sales process is the support that an agent provides once an offer has been accepted; this is the most skilled part and without it a sale is more likely to collapse. We consider it critical that communications are free flowing throughout the process up and down the chain. As soon as one of the links in the chain is not informed or keeping us informed, the chain is vulnerable.

According to the report, the home buying process becomes more time consuming, protracted, more expensive and more stressful for individuals when using an online agent, despite the original intention to be cheaper. Alistair acknowledges that those who turn to online agents are doing so as a cheaper option, but reflects. “If it is too good to be true it usually is. The time stress and heartache of progressing a sale, or not, should never be underestimated.

“We are continually monitoring our business model to ensure we are maximising mobile technology and innovation online, to remain at the cutting edge of estate agency service, while remaining competitive. You cannot underestimate the power of the traditional, professional agent who is in a position to drive a successful completion, that is what our reputation depends on.”

Alistair concludes: “The challenge for us as traditional agents is, to ensure prospective vendors realise the choices, leaving no doubt about the differences between services and how important it is to have a skilled agent that will not only support them from day one right through to completion, but also maximise local and regional knowledge to the advantage of clients.”

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