27 August 2014
Get help to secure your dream house in Bucks
Moving home is always a stressful time and when you’ve spent weeks (if not months) scouring the internet and viewing prospective properties, it’s a huge relief when you finally settle on “the one”.
The problem is, while it might be your dream home, the chances are there will be other potential buyers who are also keen.
With the ever-increasing high price of property in South Buckinghamshire, the spectre of gazumping has crept back onto the agenda.
As a result, says Chris Hardy, senior partner and property law specialist at Gerrards Cross-based law firm B P Collins LLP, many purchasers are now seeking legal advice to ensure that when they put down an offer on a new home, no-one else can come in and trump it.
Recently released from the National Housing Federation (NHF), revealed that under its affordability measure, the average price of a home in towns like Amersham and Beaconsfield is worth 20 times as much as an annual local salary, making it even more important not to miss out on a good deal.
That puts property prices in the area well ahead of London – where the average house price is 10 times greater than wages – and even outstrips the chocolate box appeal of the Cotswolds, where houses cost 19 times wages.
Despite the eye watering prices, Chris says the housing market is still very busy, something he puts down to a combination of a strong buy-to-let trend and a shortage of properties.
“We’ve seen a lot of buyers chasing a relatively small number of properties and, when they do find one, they’ve been asking us to put in place lock-out agreements and exclusivity clauses to try and secure their position and make sure the seller doesn’t accept a better offer,” he said.
“At the same time, although there has been a slowdown in successful mortgage applications, investors in the buy-to-let market have money to spend and are continuing to purchase properties, which I think will continue, irrespective of the issue of affordability.
“Of course, in turn, that makes it even more difficult for key workers such as teachers and nurses to be able to afford property locally and that has the potential to create social problems for the longer term.”
Chris believes that changes to the pension rules in April 2015, which will allow anyone over 55 to take the whole of their pension pot as a cash lump sum, is also likely to increase the number of those keen to invest in bricks and mortar and rent property out to attract a longer term income.
“In Gerrards Cross and the surrounding area, we have certainly seen and also acted for, a number of individuals who have purchased properties as an investment. The town is ideally situated for those commuting to London and buying property here makes it an extremely attractive prospect for the rental market,” he added.
Looking ahead however, he questions whether or not the high prices are sustainable and says purchasers are only too aware of the warning signs that interest rates are likely to rise by next Spring, leading to an element of caution.
“Price increases have been driven by a shortage of supply, sellers have been keen to take advantage of the gains but buyers are now beginning to ask if this is the top of the market,” he concluded.
“Some of them are moving into rented accommodation to sit it out for a while and see if the market quietens down, while the fact that the mortgage application process has become more strenuous and protracted will also have an effect on the market.”