Which is posher, St Albans or Harpenden? The Secret Estate Agent makes his case
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Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency...
Harpenden is posher than St Albans. True or false?
True. My mother-in-law lives in Harpenden; she is really posh and has a Waitrose loyalty card even though she shops in Sainsbury’s.
Harpenden has more ‘larger’ homes on big plots than St Albans, driving up the average price, although the average house price in St Albans is higher for the standard apartment/cottage/semi-detached home.
Harpenden is more traditional and ‘old’ money, whereas St Albans is more IT new money and London influx.
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Are all the local estate agents friends? Are there favoured estate agents’ pubs where you all go to talk about sealed bids and stamp duty?
A few are, but I still trust them as far as I could throw them which is our badge of honour! Readers may want to send in their ideas for the collective noun for a gathering of estate agents. Should be fun to read.
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I know most of the agents and am aware of a few cliques, which I avoid. Before lockdown you could see some out socially in a pub on a Friday after work and we are generally affable but a little guarded. We swap a few anecdotes and I make my exit stage left before the tongue gets too loose!
Many years ago, there was more of a business community, where agents, solicitors and financial advisers used to meet up religiously every Friday at Harry’s wine bar. I would wake up the next day in the office, ready for work.
What’s the biggest misconception incomers have about what life is like in St Albans?
That it has some weather microclimate as it is always the designated name on the weather forecast after the News at Ten.
What’s the shadiest behaviour you’ve ever seen from a buyer?
Back in the day, I have had buyers using pseudonyms to protect their true identity from me. I only found out a few years later, but they didn’t buy the house, even with a false name.
Buyers can promise the earth but tend to underdeliver, which can also be a criticism of agents!
Regarding stamp duty, has a potential saving of £15,000 really made any difference to the market in St Albans and Harpenden, where everything is already so expensive?
Understatement. It has really lit the blue touch paper the last two weeks. The market is incredibly fast moving at the moment with very high activity levels. We just launched a new homes development of 12 units on the weekend and most have now been reserved without a show unit.