According to Swoffers local market director, Spencer Noyon activity levels were quieter in 2012 but Swoffers continued to maintain a very strong share of the Local Market.
Guernsey’s local property market is still proving to be a worthwhile and safe investment, although it is fair to say that activity levels are quieter than in past years.
If you look at bare statistics, then these suggest that the average price of local market properties sold has risen sharply. However, there is strong evidence to suggest that the total number of sales by the end of this year will be down on last year and we believe this, coupled with a few strong sales at the very top end of the market, is causing the average price to appear higher than our own market experience suggests.
It is fair to say that there remains a shortage of properties in the first time buyers’ sector and beyond, with very little available to buy up to £400,000. Investors are still keen to find a safe haven for their money that also provides a “greater than inflation” return and property still seems to be a good long term option in this regard.
We have said before that owner occupiers who might want to move up the property ladder are finding it tough to borrow more money, particularly when they have insufficient equity or savings to make a major move upwards. Whilst there seems to be a greater number of mortgage products on the market now than in recent times, there is little evidence to suggest that Banks are actually willing to relax their lending criteria, with anecdotal reports indicating that buyers are being forced to jump through ever increasing hoops to satisfy requirements.
At the end of 2011, we reported:
“2012 will, we believe, be a much harder marketplace”…”There is undoubtedly uncertainty and nervousness as to where the year is going to take us with such big issues globally and locally – in the case of Guernsey, we have 0-10 tax decisions to make; Government elections; LCVR challenges; and of course the population review to overcome, all against the backdrop of bigger, economic issues which are beyond our control”
Some of these issues have been resolved, albeit far from satisfactorily in some cases. We still remain at the behest of the global picture and nothing we have seen so far would suggest that 2013 is going to be any different to 2012 – a year when vendors found best success by employing honest and proactive estate agents who refused to deliver false promises but instead worked tirelessly against a backdrop of a realistic understanding of the market to achieve the best possible results for their clients.
In 2012 Swoffers was responsible for one in every four property sales. We continued to dominate the Open Market, maintained our very strong share of the Local Market and led the way in Lettings and Management. There is no substitute for experience.