Hunters Newsletter December 2013

Welcome to our final edition of Hunters News for 2013. This year has certainly been busy as our network continues to expand across the UK and now also abroad! Read inside about the launch of Hunters International and our exciting partnership in Spain and join us in wishing a warm welcome to the teams at our new branches in Chapeltown, Sheffield, and Stoke on Trent who open this month.

If you are a landlord or tenant, read our article on protecting your money with SAFEagent and take a look at some of the craziest Christmas lights in the world!

Finally, we would like to wish all our readers a merry & bright festive season and all good wishes for 2014.

Hunters Marketing

Is there really a housing bubble on the horizon?

"Perhaps it is in our very nature, but it seems that we are unable to escape one crisis without believing that the next one is just around the corner. Panorama's recent programme entitled The Great British Housing Bubble attempted to stoke the flames at the prospect of a looming housing market collapse. But what of their evidence? In my view, it fell well short of the standards we might expect of a BBC documentary. The data supporting the programme was either inaccurate or anecdotal, principally focusing on an apartment in London that had generated 156 viewings in 3 hours and dodgy stats on the % of first time buyers able to access the market versus the situation in 2005.

The fact is that the property market does not begin and end in London. The Capital aside, prices are lower than their 2007 equivalent in 86% of locations across the UK (source Hometrack) and Real UK House Prices are below trend (source Nationwide).

It is true that many first time buyers are deferring the decision to buy a home partially to see what happens in the market, partially through affordability problems and partially through lifestyle choices (when I was a young estate agent first time buyers entered the market as a couple, and chose to save for a deposit rather than buy cars, holidays and designer phones and clothes).

The new Help to Buy scheme is not, as stated in the programme, to encourage irresponsible lending, but to encourage lenders to open their coffers to new borrowers who have a good credit track record and are very likely to maintain payments, even when interest rates start to rise. No, mortgage rates will not rise nine-fold as implied in the programme; as the 0.5% base rate inevitably increases, mortgage rates will rise more gradually, probably moving towards the trend average of 2% above base rate rather than the current 4%. So, even if the base rate rose to 4%, mortgage rates would only be around 6% which would be affordable for most borrowers.

The programme rightly pointed out that many people are excluded from the market due to low wages. I totally agree that we must build more affordable homes for those struggling to make ends meet. Governments, councils and housebuilders must work together to solve this problem.

The received wisdom amongst some commentators is that property prices are too high and that it would be good for everyone if house prices fell. Would it be good for first-time buyers who bought the previous year? No, the best result for everyone would be a low interest rate, low house price inflation landscape, ideally with prices rising no more than 5% per annum. Current house price growth is around this figure nationally, and likely to remain at this level for a number of years. The Bank of England now has the responsibility of overseeing bank lending and has been clear that it will use a number of different levers at its disposal to ensure that they deliver a stable housing market for the long term. Personally I have a lot more faith in our new Governor, Mark Carney than any of the programme makers at Panorama."

Kevin Hollinrake
Managing Director
Hunters Property Group

Hunters International launches with new partnership in sunny Spain

November saw the launch of Hunters International with our first operational partnership located on the Costa Calida coast in the beautiful Murcia region of south eastern Spain.

In association with Marena Murray, the Property Specialists, we can now offer our customers a range of homes for sale in La Manga Club and surrounding areas. La Manga is situated on the lower slopes of the Murcian hills and offers top leisure and sporting facilities, including three championship golf courses, beautiful countryside and a wide array of restaurants, bars and shops.

La Manga truly is a world apart less than three hours away. If you would like to find out more about buying or selling property in Spain, or would like further information about the beautiful properties available in this stunning part of Spain contact your nearest Hunters branch in the UK or visit our International section on our website.

The Hunters network is growing

As the UK’s fastest growing independent estate agency partnership, we are continually expanding our network to include new branches, and show no signs of stopping as 2013 draws to a close.  In fact, we have two agencies preparing to rebrand to Hunters within the next few weeks.

The first is in Chapeltown, Sheffield. Big Fish Lettings is currently a highly respected and long-established residential lettings and property management business.  The business is family run, having been established since 2003 and both the staff and owners, currently headed up by Branch Manager Jo Upson, are looking forward to offering their customers a full sales as well as lettings service.

Last but not least and our final rebrand for 2013 is Cherry Tree Property Consultants in Stoke on Trent.  Similarly to Chapeltown, this is an existing lettings and property management business which will be expanding to include a sales service.  The business was established in 2006 by Kerry Shufflebotham and Dan Smart who, along with their team of four, pride themselves on excellent customer service and will certainly bring that same dedication to their sales business.

We’re delighted to welcome these two new branches to the Hunters team, watch this space for more new Hunters branches in 2014.

To view our current offices, click here.

Is your house a contender for the best Christmas lights?

It’s nearly time to put the Christmas decorations up (or are yours up already?) and it’s more than just the tree we can cover in twinkling lights.

Introduce coloured pieces inside that match your existing décor and add sparkle with silver, gold and metallic shades to blend the look together. Bring cheer to the outside and impress your guests when they arrive by lining the driveway and entrance with soft fairy lights, chunky church candles and glass lanterns and accent a bright front door with a seasonal wreath and garland.

Or….you could go all out and cover your pad from chimney pot to porch in an array of lights. One family in Australia have claimed a Guinness World Record for the second time for their Christmas light display which included an amazing 502,165 flickering bulbs.

We would love to see your Christmas decorations, send us your pictures!

(Source: BBC) 

Landlords and tenants - is your money safe?

What does SAFEagent mean for you?  Here are the key facts:

-SAFEagent is an easily identifiable logo and campaign signposting letting agents which are subscribed to a CMP Scheme.  This means that if an agent closes or absconds with client funds, landlords’ and tenants’ monies will be safeguarded.

-Only letting agents which are members of professional bodies such as the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Association of Residential Letting Agents can join.

-The Government is a firm supporter of SAFEagent, praising the campaign as a key way of promoting consumer awareness of client money protection schemes.

-SAFEagent also has the support of major consumer groups including Citizens Advice Bureau,  Shelter, Ombudsman Services: The Property Ombudsman, DPS, TDS, My Deposits and Trading Standards Institute have all allied themselves to the campaign.  Key suppliers to the sector are also standing behind the campaign – for example, HomeLet, Imfuna and CFP Software have led the way in pledging their backing to it.

-SAFEagent is a voluntary scheme – so you know that your ‘SAFE agent’ is committed to going that extra mile in terms of professional standards and financial protection.

Glynis Frew, Lettings Director for Hunters says: “We have seen the financial nightmare it causes landlords and the distress to tenants when letting agents close without necessary financial protection having been put in place.  We are proud that we take every measure to protect our clients’ funds and working with SAFEagent underlines our ongoing commitment to professionalism and industry standards. By choosing a SAFEagent you can be certain that the letting agent is part of a CMP scheme underpinned by criteria that will ensure that your finances are safe no matter what.”

Coming soon... new Auctions website

A comprehensive new website for Hunters Auctions is coming soon which will provide both buyers and sellers with all the information they need regarding our auction process. New sections will include advice for sellers along with testimonials from vendors who have sold successfully through auction as well as links to useful news articles.

Auctions is a key part of our overall Hunters service, providing an alternative to the open market when required. It is suitable for properties with structural defects, in need of modernisation and also where a sale has fallen through. Auction also works very well for land, building plots and commercial property.

At Hunters we cover a large northern area, with entries coming from as far west as Bradford and Halifax, up to Middlesbrough and down to Lincoln. Unlike many other auction houses, we utilise the local knowledge of our individual Hunters branches to make our service as tailored to our client as possible. We feel this makes a huge difference in the number of buyers we attract which will reflect the end result achieved.

Our October auction achieved a 91% success rate and we aim to carry on this trend into next year. Click here to see the properties submitted for the next auction on 11th December.

We are now also taking entries for our February auction. For further information with the option of a free auction valuation, please contact our Auction Department by calling 01904 756116 or email