Jon Plant, of Andrews Estate Agents: Strong return of the first-time buyer
Jon Plant was appointed Gloucestershire area manager of Andrews Estate Agents earlier this year. Here, he talks about rising house prices and the months ahead for the county's property market, including the strong return of the first-time buyer.
What area do you cover and how many branches does Andrews have in the county?
I cover the Gloucestershire area where Andrews has eight branches. They are Bishop's Cleeve, Cheltenham, Charlton Kings, Gloucester, Leckhampton, Stroud, Prestbury and Tewkesbury. We also have five letting teams operating in the area. We have been operating in Gloucestershire for more than 40 years.
What are your initial aims as area manager?
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As area manager my role is to ensure that we deliver the highest standards of service to our customers and maximise performance across all areas of the business. We want to offer a dynamic, efficient service that delivers the highest results for our clients.
How has the agency performed so far this year?
This year appears to be one of recovery. Following the budget this year, we quickly identified more confidence in the marketplace and started to see more buyers. This in turn resulted in an increase in demand. We are seeing a much healthier property market compared to this time last year with property, buyers and viewings all up on 2012. We have over eight per cent more buyers than this time last year and with that kind of demand it is inevitable that house prices will rise.
How do you expect the market to behave over the rest of the summer?
Although, traditionally, there is a seasonal dip in activity over the summer months, we are expecting this year to remain buoyant. September and October are always very busy leading up to the pre-Christmas move. It is a great time to sell and we are looking forward to a busy finish to the year.
Are you seeing any buyer or seller patterns at the moment?
The biggest trends we have seen are the resurgence of the investor landlord as they recognise that with an increase in house prices they need to buy quickly before they become uninvestable. We are also seeing a strong return of the first-time buyer as mortgages are becoming more accessible.
Have you seen an increase in house prices in recent months and do you expect this to continue?
House prices have increased by around 3.7 per cent compared to this time last year. If we continue to see the trend in buyer demand that we have experienced so far this year, it is highly likely that house prices will continue to rise.
What is your general impression of the property market locally and nationally?
The evidence so far suggests that we are seeing a recovery. The year has got stronger and with demand currently outstripping supply and more lending by the mortgage providers, I see no reason why this will not continue.