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Reboot - recommended industry standards welcomed


Last month (May 10) saw a question tabled which asked the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: “When will the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group, will be implemented?” The RoPA was published in July 2019.

It is good to hear, according to our industry umbrella, Propertymark, that the report has been re-booted, with the housing Minister, Eddie Hughes, MP, stating that the government remains committed to a fair and just housing system which includes raising professionalism and standards among property agents in all spheres and defending the reputation of good agents from the actions of rogue agents.

At Balfours we welcome RoPA recommendations for an independent property-agent regulator. This would be a single, mandatory and legally enforceable Code of Practice for property agents, including a system of minimum entry requirements, plus continuing professional development for property agents. Specifications which are already practiced by Balfours.


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New CO alarm regulations


New carbon monoxide alarm regulations are likely to be a requirement before the end of the year in England.

It will mean that private landlords must install carbon monoxide alarms where there is any fitted combustion appliance, other than a gas cooker. In effect that means all gas and oil-fired boilers will need an alarm, whereas until now carbon monoxide alarms have only been required where there is a solid fuel appliance, such as a wood-burner or fire.

The draft of the government regulations effectively means that most rented properties will now need a CO alarm. The good news is that the alarms can be battery operated and do not need to be wired in. The draft regulations also now put the onus on landlords to repair or replace a non-working smoke or CO alarm, if a tenant or their representative report it as not working.

Initially the regulations will only apply to new tenancies, with a likely transitional phase thereafter. Jackie Monro head of lettings.


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Supply and demand veto cost of living


We appear to be running in two parallel worlds at present. Namely average asking prices in May have risen by more than £55,000 in the past two years, to a record high of £367,501, Balfours activity and sales ledger confirms that. Meantime the rise in the cost of living is fast becoming a reality, writes Alistair Hilton, head of sales.

The big issue remains a shortage of housing supply which has been a driving factor for the past three years and consequently means those who are in the market and can afford to do so, are often prioritising bricks and mortar over and above cost of living.

With the fourth successive interest rate rise by the Bank of England to rein in inflation, mortgages are on the upward trajectory too, with a typical first-time buyer home mortgage payment increased by 13%, a jump of £100 since December last year. However this should be considered against the fact that this is only 11%, or £87 higher than ten years ago.

It would be unrealistic to think that house prices are not going to slow this year, but when it comes to selling your home, we remain optimistic. Neither interest in property or price of property have slackened yet and if sales stocks remain low demand will continue to outstrip supply.

Alistair 2021

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To rent or to buy?


Average rentals now stand a whisper short of £1,000/month for the first time according to industry data. As house prices show little sign of abating and the cost-of-living crisis bites, Alistair Hilton and Jackie Monro, head of sales and lettings respectively consider what this means for those pondering to buy or to rent.

Alistair considers: “Yes, house prices have risen, but when the average rental hits the £1,000 a month barrier it is surely time to revisit the rent versus mortgage debate. Long term the argument remains strong to buy rather than rent. At least by committing to a house, your hard-earned cash is invested in an asset which is highly likely to increase in value.

“Also there is still government help for first time buyers and many banks are offering mortgage contracts where a sponsor can give short-term secure assistance with a deposit.”

Jackie however reflects: “The beauty of rented property is the flexibility, to work and lifestyle. It is not a big deal when life’s landmarks, whether that is a career move, family or any other reason, you want to up sticks and move on. Rented is virtually a walk-in walk out agreement. And funds that might have gone into a deposit can be utilised in so many other ways.

The average tenant is now staying fifty per cent longer at 75 weeks, according to the last quarter figures. This is up from 51 weeks at the start of 2017, though of course the pandemic is likely to have been an influencing factor.

Jackie adds: “As a landlord, before you dash out to book that holiday, the figures are all relative. Maintenance and refurbishment are caught up in the cost-of-living hikes too, indeed building materials were the first casualty, with labour demands now eyewatering. We are optimistic for those considering letting a property, in the right hands, the current market will yield positive dividends.

Alistair concludes: “As an independent boutique agency, whether you are seeking to sell, ready to buy, rent or are a landlord – we have the experience and professional integrity to channel your objectives and assist in making them a reality.”

Lettings 1

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Bungalow in tranquil location with views of township


Far reaching views across Ludlow, located within walking distance of the market town, are attributes of this three-bedroom detached bungalow launched to the market by Balfours.

Hillend, Hillside, is found just off Gravel Hill, one of Ludlow’s most sought-after residential areas. Situated at the end of a cul-de-sac, in a tranquil neighbourhood. The welcome is into a reception hall with all rooms leading off.

The sitting room is well balanced with glazing to two aspects including doors to outside terrace and garden. A dedicated dining area is to one end of the kitchen with access to an outside terrace. Each of the three double bedrooms is blessed with ample natural light and a large bathroom is fitted with bath and shower. A separate wc completes the layout.

Balfours Ludlow sales manager, Scott Kemsley comments: “This is a very popular location for good reason, not only are shops in walking distance, but also a vast range of services too. There is adjoining garage, plus off-street parking. We are marketing with a guide price of £450,000.” Call Balfours on 01584 707100.

Hillend Main

Hillend Drone shot

Hillend Bedroom

Hillend Living room



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Picture perfect rural hamlet location


Superlative Shropshire, Herefordshire countryside surrounds a three-bedroom cottage with potential annex, launched to the market by Balfours.

Lynch Cottage, is located in the hamlet of Burrington, three miles from Leintwardine and six miles from Ludlow. Boasting the most stunning views and idyllic walks the property is set in nearly half an acre with large gardens, terraces and Summer House.

Well-equipped for rural life the hallway leads to an inner hall with cloak and wetroom and dining room, together with utility and sitting room. The reception rooms benefit from an oil fired stove in the dining room and a woodburning stove in the sitting room. The dining room directly links to the kitchen breakfast room, with French doors and glazing to terraces, gardens and those panoramic views.

There are two double bedrooms and a single bedroom on the first floor, each with glazing to two aspects maximising views. The family bathroom has an abundance of natural light too.

Scott Kemsley, Balfours Ludlow sales manager comments: “This is such a fabulous location and while Lynch Cottage is well presented there is additional potential, not only with the pretty annex building ripe for additional accommodation or a homework space, but also the option to extend the first floor over the adjoining large double garage to provide additional accommodation.”

He continues: “Add to this that there is no upward chain and you have a very appealing package ready to go. We are marketing with a guide price of £635,000.” Call Balfours on 01584 707100.

Lynch Cottage Annexe

Lynch Cottage Ariel shot

Lynch Cottage living room

Lynch Cottage Main

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