Is the mini-boom bubble about to burst in St Albans and Harpenden?

PUBLISHED: 07:23 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:43 07 October 2020

The Secret Estate Agent considers what the future may hold for the local property market. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Secret Estate Agent considers what the future may hold for the local property market. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Archant

Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency...

Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency...

What’s going to happen next in the St Albans and Harpenden markets? The number of new listings seems to be drying up, is the mini-boom bubble about to burst?

It would be warmly welcomed to avoid the bubble/burst scenario for ‘steady as she goes’ market conditions and the return of some certainty. Although we have been extremely busy recently the activity levels are not sustainable and the additional lockdown restrictions have tempered things somewhat with a little more caution in the air. However, we have just taken on four properties in the £2m region and have received a high number of enquiries, so the market is still forever blowing bubbles, pretty £2m bubbles in the air.

Is it fair to say that some agents are just plucking figures out of thin air when valuing properties at the moment?

Our valuations are very much here and now figures, as the sold comparables earlier in the year have quickly become obsolete. Some vendors have tried to be a little too ambitious on price to take advantage of favourable conditions and it is sometimes paying off, but adjustments need to made if the market does not support these premiums. Fortunately, we are market leaders so have a useful insight. Knowing your buyers’ limits is also important.

How low is too low when making an offer on a property? Can you ever offer too high?

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You always get a few cheeky offers and sometimes vendors surprise you and accept as their circumstances can change. There is low and derisory and the latter do get short shrift. None of our vendors would agree that any offer is too high.

How much gazumping/gazundering are you seeing at the moment? Do you have any dramatic stories to share?

We recently dealt with a sought-after family home where we received an eye-watering offer well over asking price. The client asked us to explore other potential interest, which we had duty of care to pursue - and two other buyers exceeded the eye-waterer and a bidding war ensued.

Gazumping is rare as this occurs prior to exchange, after the transaction has been agreed and is progressing. Gazundering is mainly an occurrence in a deteriorating buyers’ market.

Why when you’re showing people round houses do you say obvious things like ‘here’s the kitchen’?

Straight from the department of the bleeding obvious. We try to be more subjective on viewings and perhaps point out more opaque points on a property but it is sometimes just an autopilot statement which you just want to reel back in again. Always use ‘German’ as the prefix to ‘kitchen’.

Do you have a question for the Secret Estate Agent? Email jane.howdle@archant.co.uk or contact us via our Facebook or Twitter pages.


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