Having worked in the estate agency industry since 1985 I have seen markets come and go. Lived and worked through recessions and been criticised for actually putting in writing some doubts in 2007, that this inflated market could not continue.
I gained my mortgage exams and oversaw a team of financial consultants as they battled through ‘self-cert’ mortgages, moved onto fast track mortgage vehicles, sold and then condemned endowment policies and the terminal bonuses they didn’t bring.
I started when Scotland as a country was miles behind neighbouring England in terms of home prices. We would sell 4 bed detached homes at a little over £40,000 where it seemed almost everything in England was over £100k! My, how that has changed.
I have dealt with and sold for a number of new build companies as they introduced part exchange and various selling options, such as ‘move maker’. A system where you put on your own home on the market with costs paid for by the builder, as opposed to being given a guaranteed figure by the builder.
I have wrestled with how a new build home across the road from a twice the size ex council property is still considerably more expensive. Same amenities, schools etc. Can it be the public want a brand new unused kitchen and bathrooms?
I still marvel at buyers who unaware of the present value of their own property, chose to move to a bungalow in a new area and still pay additional money to purchase! Such is the price of land.
I’ve watched as lenders once fell over themselves to assist with stage payments on a self-build. Lenders promoting not a loan to buy, one buy to let property, but suggesting the amount given is used as a deposit for several!
I’ve watched 100% mortgages rise to 125%, then fall to 80% loan to value. Been amazed at the bank of mum and dad and wondered how first time buyers are supposed to find their deposit, the whole amount offered over the home report and still find cash to improve and decorate their new home.
All this before I even mention lettings, the legislation changes and the power shift from landlords to tenants.
It seems now that nothing will surprise me. Not the amount offered over asking; not houses that seemed impossible to sell, now selling; not even that we could end up where we were before. A market that overheats and collapses. I’m not saying that will happen, nor do I think it will, but history very often does repeat itself and I am not sure how good we all are at learning from history – in the housing market and indeed in life!
But after a commercial lifetime spent in this industry I can have one certain conclusion.
Despite massive new build in Duloch, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy or Cumbernauld and numerous other locations, there simply is not, nor has there ever been, enough property available at any time on our open market.