I have visited three homes this week that have failed to sell over the last few months, it has felt like I have been hosting a mid-morning TV programme with a snappy title like “Estate Agent SOS” or “Call the Estate Agent” . “Why?” Screams the irate and somewhat confused lady as she stands proudly in her immaculate Plain English kitchen. The answer that the sellers expected is political. They want me to say that the government is wobbly and weak, Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit and uncertainty is the evil reason for the slowing property market. My answer is not politics – it’s pictures.
Loan deals are cheap, so the shortage of house-hunters may seem strange. Yet the clientele for such finance is limited to the extra-creditworthy species of borrower. Meanwhile, lethargy has Britain in its grip. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) attributes the mood to the uncertain political climate. The sources of angst include our divorce from the EU and speculation about the future of Theresa May. The slowdown is spreading from London to parts of the southeast. Yet homes are still changing hands in other regions and the RICS discerns that lower-priced properties in all locations are less hard hit. This trend explains why some gurus think the average property value may rise slightly this year.
These forecasts will be scant comfort to those unable to find a buyer for their homes. I emphasise the need for smart pictures, even of a humble flat. Pictures and marketing of properties need to be immaculately tidy and expertly shot. Obvious advice, maybe, but so often ignored. Please don’t ask me why.