This has been a year when normality has been all but forgotten. Traditionally one would have expected a slow impetus in the earlier months building towards a bustling late Spring and Summer market, falling back for the holiday period and then pushing ahead again in the Autumn.

The housing market in 2012

2012, however, has been turned on it’s head for most of the year. January saw a great deal of activity as those looking to buy in the latter months of the previous year had enough of waiting and took the plunge. We then saw moderate activity over the next few months as motivated sellers went through the process of bringing their properties to the market. All was looking good…until we all downed tools for the pomp and ceremony of the Jubilee, followed apace by weeks on end of dazzling Olympics and Paralympics. There was actually a significant chunk of this period when the phone hardly rocked in its cradle. September then took a good while to get in gear and activity eventually returned in October.

Despite this, the market has remained fairly stable for the most part, if pretty flat. Much of the activity has depended on realistic pricing and location. As always, the houses in the best situations have faired better than those, for instance, on main roads. There has been a steady stream of price adjustments, especially since the end of August and possibly too late in the day due to the distortion caused by our Summer of Sport. These falls in value reflect the recognition that one cannot be too bullish in such a fragile and subdued climate.
Mortgage lending has freed up to a certain extent but interestingly is down on 2011 levels, possibly more a mark of personal confidence and ability. The better news, however, is that we are (for the moment at least) out of recession and although it is far too early to mention those green shoots, there is some positive talk around.

As an illustration of 2012 it is worth mentioning a couple of sales that we were involved in this year. Both very different, but displaying the key ingredients of Price, Location and Marketing.

A: Property X (attractive house in a road affected position), taken over from another agent after four months of little activity, marketing improved and price adjusted we were able to generate scores of viewings over a number of weeks and agree a sale.

B: Property Y (period house in a prime location), priced correctly, marketed well from scratch and a sale agreed within three weeks.

What we expect from the housing market in 2013

And what of 2013? Without the excuses of national celebration it will hopefully pan out a bit more sensibly than this year. A feel better factor of avoiding a triple-dip recession would be great and would surely provide some buoyancy. The market needs the lift that growing confidence can provide. In the meantime, though, people still have to move house and simply need the right recipe to achieve success.

Rural Property with Golf Course

We are currently marketing a substantial property with a golf course in its grounds on the Dorset/Somerset border. Not just any old pitch and put though, this is a challenging eleven hole course with a proper water hazard in the form of a large lake, undulations and 200 yard holes. On the face of it this should be a shoo in for a golf-mad buyer who would pay a premium for the ready enjoyment of his or her passion….oh, and with a great house chucked in to boot.

Marketing property though is not quite that straightforward and for every golfer there are other home owners who would rather graze horses or keep alpacas on the land and this would certainly be a realistic option in this case. So as well as emphasising the golfing aspect to prospective purchasers, we also have to widen the market and suggest alternatives for the use of the 7.6 acres on offer. This is naturally quite vexing for the owner who having spent many years and a great deal of money on his creation but he accepts our advice that not everyone will share his dream and is moving on.

Rural Property with Cricket Pitch

A property near Tisbury in the Nadder Valley with a cricket pitch was sold not so long ago and the same rule applies. Despite careful groundsmanship of the perfectly kept wicket, there is limited added value to having a county standard pitch on your property when a buyer might prefer to put up rugby posts for his budding Jonny Wilkinsons.

Sport and leisure activities are an important aspect of our lives from the personal interest point of view and for our well-being but only a limited few sporting installations are likely to add value to our properties. A case in point being outdoor swimming pools. For some buyers a pool might be high on their wish list but for many the expense of heating and maintaining one, the lack of opportunity to actually make use of it with our fickle climate and safety concerns where there are small children around, can be a detrimental factor. Indoor swimming pools in contrast are much more likely to create positive interest.

Properties with Gym

For some, a gym for some is regarded as not much better than a torture chamber but a well maintained tennis court will often prove popular with families. We are frequently asked whether a property’s garden is large enough for a court.

Equestrian Properties

The most sought after leisure facility is an equestrian one. Suitable acreage, stabling and preferably a ménage are highly desirable amenities. This market is huge and the house itself can often be of secondary importance to the buyer compared to the quality and extent of the facilities to keep and manage horses.

Riverfront Properties for fishing

River frontage or close proximity to a well stocked body of water is a very attractive proposition to a keen fisherman. In a different league all together however is a sporting shoot where hundreds of acres of open countryside and accompanying woodland are needed together with the skills of a good gamekeeper. For those with the means, the addition of this lifestyle to a seriously good house is an essential part of a package, for the rest of us though, a paddling pool and a tree house will suffice!

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