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House values hit record high

05/04/2022

Demand is still outweighing supply in the residential housing market. National analysis reveals that the average UK home has increased by more than £33,000 to a new record high of £265,312.

As the spring market brings additional properties onto the market, Alistair Hilton, head of sales at Balfours, which covers Shropshire and bordering counties, including Mid-Wales, says the market is unrelenting. “In the past year nationally property values grew by 14.3% - the strongest pace of increase since 2004. In the first quarter of 2022 the increase in Wales was 15.3%, while the Midlands rose by 11.7%.”

He continues: “Of course the devil is in the detail, a positive factor which is rippling through is that the labour market conditions are strong. It’s interesting that lockdown has meant as a nation households’ have accrued an extra £190 billion of savings equating to £6,500 per household; though of course this is by no means evenly spread. As a result some are seeking to upsize, due to changes in work and lifestyle.”

While the squeeze on household finances is going to tighten, family homes remain particularly strong because there is limited supply coming to the market. According to Nationwide the value of a detached home has increased by £68,000 since 2020. “That certainly rings true with our experience at Balfours,” Alistair observes.

He concludes: “Cost of living and uncertainty in Ukraine are likely to slow the market in coming months, however average property values are unlikely to fall materially as mortgage rates are still exceptionally competitive and housing supply remains low.”

Alistair Hilton

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Country residence - once in a lifetime opportunity

30/03/2022

Kinsham Court, a Grade II listed quintessential English Country House, with all the trappings of a classic estate has been launched to the market by Balfours.

The principal property, together with a Lodge, Church and several cottages, sits within 90 acres of gardens, woodland and pasture. Kinsham is nearby to its namesake village and benefits from river frontage double bank fishing rights and the idyllic aesthetics of the blue ribbon through pasture and woodland.

The porch leads to an impressive entrance hall with four main reception rooms and staircase off. The inner hall gives access to a generous kitchen breakfast room with scullery; together with utility and larder and adjoining garage. Below stairs are the cellar and boiler room.

There are six bedrooms and three bathrooms on the first floor, with another six on the second and third floors, with an additional bathroom. Balfours Ludlow sales manager, Scott Kemsley comments: “Kinsham Court is an utterly charming property, it does require some modernisation – which will enable the new owner to refurbish to their own requirements and precise taste.

“However the elegant proportions, high ceilings, plasterwork, and archways are the most wonderful canvas to start from. With predecessors understood to include the family of Florence Nightingale and Lord Byron there will be abundant inspiration to draw on,” he adds.

Within the grounds is a walled kitchen garden with Victorian greenhouses, several cottages and traditional stable yard buildings. Leominster and Ludlow are equi-distance of some 13 miles, while Hereford is 21. The village of Shobdon with airfield is six miles. There are a number of well-respected private schools within commuting distance.

Scott adds: “The land comprises of approximately 21 acres of pasture, together with approximately60 acres of woodland, with shooting rights in-hand. This would make the most wonderful family home, but also has immense commercial potential, not least as a private hotel and wedding venue, subject to permissions. Balfours are marketing Kinsham Court with a guide price of £3.5 million. For more information call 01584 707100.

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Practical support for the people of Ukraine

29/03/2022

A Shropshire sales and lettings agent has united with other members of Propertymark to provide its support to the people of Ukraine. Balfours two prong approach is to provide clarity to any landlords seeking to provide accommodation and to support property sector fund raising.

Sales office manager, Abigail Barker, says their team want to assist in all practical ways they can. She explains: “Propertymark has been working with officials at the Department for Levelling up, Homes and Communities (DLUHC) to understand compliance requirements and provide us with clarity on a range of scenarios including referencing checks and ending the sponsorship period, insurance and mortgage conditions.”

 Head of lettings at Balfours, Jackie Monro adds: “This is a fast-moving situation, for those owning and managing property that may be offered as accommodation. Registration is fundamental to the scheme and potentially unlocks additional support from local authorities."

“Questions around the exact status of occupiers remain, but it is likely that those fulfilling criteria will be subject to a bespoke arrangement of non-paying guests, sitting outside the usual tenancy regimes,” Jackie says.

Balfours are also supporting the Property United for Ukraine initiative through its “Just Giving” fundraising page for property sector donations for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and the British Red Cross.

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Rural thirst anticipated from London and International markets

29/03/2022

London and international buyers will be in our target audience when we exhibit at The London and Country Property Show in May.

After a two-year absence of the exclusive high-profile event, promoting regional property to London and International buyers, Balfours look forward to exhibiting at The Chelsea Old Town Hall, on Tuesday May 10th.

Alistair Hilton, head of sales at Balfours comments: “We anticipate some pent-up demand, because of both no show for two years; and the unimaginable sea-change to people’s lifestyles and aspirations as a result of the Pandemic. We have already experienced a significant surge in buyers seeking to live in more rural locations, also those who simply want to be nearer family and friends, that simply wasn’t an option pre-Covid.

“Of course such unprecedented appetite for Shropshire, a county which ticks so many boxes as a rural and largely un-discovered county yet offering easy access to anywhere in the United Kingdom, has presented our buyers with challengingly low levels of stock. It currently remains a vendors’ market. Anyone who is considering selling, without doubt the optimum time is now,” he concludes.

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Springing into summertime

29/03/2022

Now is a great time to spruce up your property ready for the lettings market, writes Jackie Monro, head of lettings at Balfours. The market is still very buoyant and at this time of year prospective tenants are particularly keen to know what outside space is available.

We are frequently being asked if part of the garden can be used as a vegetable patch. Whilst this seems a great idea it is important to have a clear understanding that it is returned in a neat and tidy condition at the end of the tenancy and not a weedy neglected part of the garden when the initial enthusiasm has worn off.

Spring is also a good time to visit your property if it is currently rented. Not only to check the internal fabric of the property, but to make sure that your tenant is aware of the gardening they are required to do. You need to be clear about who is responsible for various jobs, including hedge trimming, for example.

Here at Balfours we do regular property visits to check both inside and outside properties. Please call for more information or for us to carry out a property visit for you. Call 01743 277069

 

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Fortuitous regulations

29/03/2022

It's not always that landlords can see the real benefit of new legislation, but it is without doubt fortuitous that Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) were introduced exactly four years ago, on April 1 with regulation applied to all existing tenancies two years ago.

As the cost of energy, gas, electric and oil all soar tenants will be much more conscious of outgoings on rented accommodation. It is also a good prompt for landlords who are seeking to achieve the maximum from their property that while the current minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is E to have the competitive edge aspiring to A or B will give you the competitive edge.

Energy efficiency should be high on landlord’s agenda when considering refurbishment work. Without doubt getting the right advice about insulation, glazing and energy efficiency is now a hot-topic. We are encouraging landlords to take the opportunity as soon as a property comes available to let, or re-let, to ensure they can achieve the very best from their property. Jackie Monro, Head of lettings at Balfours.

 

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