I went for a walk with our family on New Year’s Day as my construction-obsessed children wanted to look at the building site near our home where a vast quantity of new houses are going up at a frightening rate. Flat-pack houses my dad calls them. That’s not the only thing he’s vocal on too. ‘Where are all the children going to go who fill these houses, eh?’ he asks, ‘the schools in Cheltenham are already fit to burst…’ And when my father launches into one of these mini political broadcasts my eyes tend to take on that glistening appearance, my ears begin to fill with the sound of birdsong and whizzing cars, anything to drown out the impending conversation of doom. But sadly, this time, he has a point. There are several new developments going up in Cheltenham at the moment and the influx of population will have an inevitable impact on local amenities and facilities. But before I wander too far down that path, what I can’t help wondering is who exactly are the people buying all these homes? Because more worryingly than whether the borough council has enough manpower to empty all the extra resident’s dustbins was the huge red sign on the side of the show home screaming 5% DEPOSIT PAID.
Which made my little property-heart sink to the bottom of its wellies.
I really thought we’d gone past all of this. There was a time – in the not-so-distant past – when first time buyers were being offered 100% mortgage on their new home plus the option of borrowing an extra 5% to cover all ‘incidentals’, like solicitors fees etc. I suspect quite a few of the people who took up such offers are still in negative equity as I type. And although this offer isn’t such a scam and more like a January sale (merely a way of luring people in by knocking £12,500 off a £250,000 house) it still makes me feel uncomfortable. It feels like we’re being encouraged to buy what we perhaps can’t really afford… yet again.
There is an argument, of course, that new homes wouldn’t be being built if there wasn’t a demand for them and seeing January is traditionally a time where some of us take to re-evaluating our lives and circumstances a home-move can be on the cards in the year ahead. Which is a good place to start-up this section of my blog…
I’ve been in the property industry for nearly a decade now. A part-time job which I only took because I was desperate not to put my eldest son Hamish (9 today!) into childcare has become a fully-fledged obsession with property. So much so that property was the inspiration for my fictional writing. But it seems to me pretty pointless to be in and out of people’s homes, assisting others in finding a suitable home and not passing any knowledge and tips I’ve learnt along the way. So in this tucked away little corner of the world-wide-web, feel free to throw your habitational queries at me in the next few months. I’ve no conveyancing qualifications I’m afraid so nothing technical about common-law ground please! But if you’ve had your house on the market for months and aren’t sure why it’s not selling, I might just be your girl.
And hence the title of this blog really. Are you thinking of moving on this year? Are you keen to get on and sort that mortgage while interest rates are still low? Or are you scared by contradictory media reports on whether house prices are going down? Do your circumstances mean you must move but no matter how much your estate agents promises, you still haven’t sold your home?
I would really love it if you had time to reply and tell me of any of these issues are affecting you, it will really help in discussions for future property blogs. If, in the meantime, you’re desperate to know more about those houses around the corner from me and their ‘bargain’ deals, all is revealed here: http://bloorhomes.com/developments/cheltenham-green/