When it comes to the housing market, all prospective and current homeowners want to keep up to date with recent trends to ensure our biggest assets do not become our biggest liabilities. Especially if we are thinking of buying a property, selling or both.
But how do we find out what is going on in the local and UK wide housing market and keep track of the ups and downs on an on-going basis? Here are our top 5 tips for staying in the know.
Talk to local estate agents.
Particularly if you are looking to buy or sell in the near future. Letting an agent know exactly what type of property you are looking for and when you will be looking to buy can mean buyers after a specific type of property in a popular area can get first dibs for viewings and the opportunity to make an offer before a property goes out to a wider audience since many estate agents keep a confidential list of properties for those vendors who do not wish to enter the open market.
If you are thinking about selling, talk to agents who are currently listing or have recently sold properties similar to yours to find out how long it generally takes a property to sell and the likelihood of asking price offers. For popular locations, they may already have a waiting list of potential buyers who are ready to make an offer.
- Use online property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla to find comprehensive statistics on house prices in your local area and receive updates on new properties coming onto the market.
Now that the vast majority of property searches (over 90%) begin online, there are a number of online property portals out there. However, the big hitters are still Rightmove and Zoopla. Signing up for property alerts that you can tailor to your needs in terms of asking price, location and property type is a great way to keep up to date with new properties coming onto the market whether you are looking to buy or sell.
Rightmove has the UK’s largest source of property data available online to allow you to compare current and historic market trends in your area simply by inputting your postcode.
Their comprehensive data on house prices and price comparison reports can assist in valuing your property against the current market or deciding what offer to make on another property, using information drawn from the Land Registry and the Registers Of Scotland. Rightmove’s where can I live tool also shows specific locations meeting a pre-set budget and property criteria.
Zoopla owns the Hometrack website, which offers key property market analysis and provides features such as their nifty SmartMap, which defines a search area on the map so you can pinpoint the location of your dream home and see the kind of properties (and price points) on the market there already.
Check out the latest offerings from online and hybrid agents.
As well as the standard online valuation tool and property price indexes offered by most online agents, Hybrid estate agent Yopa has gone a step further and created their Agent Guide to provide impartial data on the local housing market and estate agents that isn’t available anywhere else. This includes useful information like how long on average a property will stay on the market with a particular agent, helping you decide which agent may be the best option to list your home. When it comes to working out a fair asking price, the website also provides key data on average house prices by property type, such as the average property price of a 4-bedroom property in a specific area for example. This is particularly useful when it comes time to decide on an accurate asking price for your property.
Set up alerts for key property search terms via your search engine.
For instance, if you use Google, head to Google Alerts and select terms such as “London property market” or “House prices in Bristol” to monitor the internet for new content relevant to your local area.
Follow industry experts and local agents on social media.
Follow industry experts such as buyer’s agent and “The BBC’s favourite property expert” Henry Prior, on Twitter to keep up with trends and predictions for the housing market locally and nationwide. The online property advice offering for popular newspapers such as the Evening Standard (Homes and Property) and The Times is also strong.
For both property and mortgage advice alongside other useful financial and consumer guidance and advice, follow the Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, on TV via the Martin Lewis Money Show or online at www.moneysavingexpert.com
Both local high street and online estate agents, particularly the larger and more tech-savvy of the bunch, also tend to provide regular blogs about local and industry-wide developments to keep their online rankings high. Sign up for blog alerts for those most relevant to you.