How many new homes have been built in the local area?

New housing is a hotly debated subject in the UK. Despite the recent uptick in building rates, demand continues to outstrip supply and more affordable homes need to be built. The situation has improved over the last few years; the number of new homes started and finished in the UK is at a nine-year high. However, forecasts show that England alone needs to build 50 per cent more homes to keep up with demand, so the issue is far from resolved. The pressure is mounting on the government to find a solution.

156,140 new homes were registered for construction in 2015, the highest it has been in eight years. This was half a per cent higher than the previous year and 45 per cent higher than 2009.


From 2014 to 2015, private sector starts increased by seven per cent, while Housing Association starts rose by five per cent. That means that since the credit crunch in 2008, the UK housing stock has grown by around five percent, which is no small feat.

We estimate there have been 62 new build starts in PL6 in 2015–16. Over the same period, there have been an estimated 57 new properties completed. To reach these figures, we’ve applied a proportional amount of the government’s district-level house building figures to PL6 to estimate levels of new stock in the local area.

Despite all this building, the issue facing aspiring home owners is that demand for housing is still far greater than the current supply. When new build properties come on to the market they tend to be for a premium. However, there are several schemes to help buyers purchase new build homes at discounted prices. One of these is Discounted Sales, a scheme available from some councils that allows you to buy a new home at a reduced rate.

The low homes to people ratio is good news for buy-to-let landlords. With 28.6 per cent of residents in PL6 renting property, potential investors can be optimistic at their chances of finding tenants if they decide to purchase a rental property. Rental demand is high, which means void periods should be minimal.

With several new developments already underway in the North of the City and the exciting new Eco Village Development ‘Roborough Park’ in Bickleigh due to launch this Summer, there really isn’t a better time than now to obtain a free valuation from Mansbridge Balment and plan for your future new home purchase.

If you would like to have a chat about new build possibilities, any other property that has taken your fancy, or you would like to sell your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you.

RAMMU0059-02Flat and house prices in PL6

With increasing clarity from the government, the housing market is returning to its usual stride. Looking at quarter-on-quarter price data in PL6, we can see that the average sold prices of flats is up 11.7 per cent since the third quarter of 2016.

Promising sales levels in PL6

The weather may still be warming up outside, but it’s already a hot time of year for the property market. The expected uptick in sales has materialised as you can see from the chart. Particularly notable are sales levels of detached properties, which have increased 36.9 per cent since the last quarter of 2015.

Occupancy levels in PL6

Want to know how in demand properties in a given area are? Occupancy is a useful indicator for demand, as well as illustrating how spacious or cosy properties are in the local area. In PL6, 52.4 per cent of properties have two or more extra rooms and 24.6 per cent have one extra room.

How many second home owners are there in PL6?

The number of second homes registered in a local area can really give you a feel of if the area is right for you. In PL6, the mix is as follows:

No 2nd address 95.2%
2nd address within the UK 3.8%
2nd address outside the UK 1.1%

(Dated May 2017)


Is your estate agent an Advertiser or a Mover?

I had an interesting chat this morning with a seller on with another agent in the City about the changing state of Estate Agency and their own property sale. As well as agreeing that I needed to visit his own home to get his sale on the right track, he ended our conversation with the acceptance that before he started to sell his home he didn’t know that there were companies who just ‘advertise’ and companies who want to work together with the owner to enable them to ‘move’.

It got me thinking. Just yesterday I visited a property where the previous agent called in to value had left some lovely graphs and pie charts based on who had gained the most instructions in that postcode throughout 2016. On first glance it made good reading for that particular company as they had by far and away the market share of listings in the area. They very kindly left on all the instruction numbers from other agents too. Because of our own particularly wide area coverage, Mansbridge Balment Plymouth were about number 5 on the list.

When you delved into the figures a bit deeper however and looked at percentages of properties Sold against properties listed, it was clearly evident that actually we were at the very top in selling 85% of properties that we had taken on – whereas the other agent had listed 3 times as many but only sold 40%.

This begs the question…Who would you choose? An agent who lists the most or an agent who sells more of what it lists?

The industry is changing. I’ve thought for a long time that there is becoming a much clearer difference and split in the industry than simply ‘online’ v ‘traditional’.

For many years there have been companies who have paid a valuer for every property they list (advertise) and for many ‘corporate owned’ businesses they do this because they take a view that the industry is based on numbers and it forms a key part of their business model. Others like ourselves (typically Independent Estate Agents) do not pay our valuers per listing. It is important to get property onto the market but it is more important to get the property at the right price and offer the correct route to market for the seller to enable them to move.

One of the reasons for choosing an Independent Estate Agency is, that our main reason is to get you moved. It’s how we make our money. It’s what pays our staff and running costs. It’s what makes business viable.

I believe that the choice in estate agency is not now ‘online’ versus ‘traditional’ but between choosing a company who will just advertise your property and those who want to move you and your property.

The ‘Advertising’ Estate Agency will make more from the associated ‘add-ons’ of mortgages, solicitors and insurance from new buyers and sellers etc than they ever do from selling property. In my experience, valuers who are paid to List (Advertise) a property are more likely to recommend an over optimistic price and sometimes an incorrect route to market to win the listing. Because of this it could be argued that the Estate agency itself has a focus that isn’t simply on moving people but on advertising the property – selling is often a welcome by-product but not its main focus.

The Estate Agency who is not paid per listing typically thinks about every aspect of the Moving Process, giving the best advice and route to market and also in my experience giving a more accurate price because moving the seller is its number 1 focus.

Will you choose the Retail model or the Moving model? The agent who lists the most properties or the agent who sells more of the properties it lists?

I know who I’d choose.

How best to increase the value of your home

When it comes to selling your home, the goal is to achieve more than the initial price you paid when you bought it. A significant amount of your home’s resale value will be affected by the appreciation of house prices in Plymouth, where average sales values have risen by 13.7% over the last 10 years. However, if you want to achieve the maximum sale price for your property, there are several home improvements you can make that will add to the overall value.

Creating an extra bedroom, especially with a loft conversion, offers the best return for your money. Although initial costs are not inconsiderable, a double bedroom could add 11 per cent to the value of your home, a gain of £18,800 on average Plymouth properties. Budget carefully according to your house size and current market value, and you could be onto a winner.

Space commands a premium, so you should create more of it in your property if the opportunity arises. Extra space can transform the whole look and feel of your home, adding value and making it more desirable to house hunters. By adding extra square footage, you can increase your property’s overall value by as much as nine per cent. That would be an extra £15,400 if we go by the average property price in Plymouth which is £170,900.

Kerb appeal is often overlooked by sellers when they put their house on the market, yet it is one of the most important aspects to not only adding value to your home but making it look appealing to the first-time viewer. The outside of your property is the first thing any potential buyer will see, so you want to give it the ‘wow’ factor. A £300-400 spend on the exterior and front garden/driveway could add up to four times the initial outlay to the overall value of your home and cut down the length of time it takes to sell the property.

Buy-to-let landlords will want to make sure their rental property is in the best condition to achieve maximum yields. Furnished properties can often rent faster than those that are unfurnished (but do check with us as it depends on the type and location). It is also a good idea to update the interior and exterior of your property every three years by painting the walls, cleaning the outside space and replacing furniture to stop it looking dated. A fresher looking property will increase its chances of renting more quickly and nullifying potential long void periods.

Weighing up the potential cost of any home refurbishments is important. But even an increase of around 10% to the overall value of your property can be the difference between buying your dream home or having to compromise on something you’re not so keen on. If you want to find out more about how much value you can add to your home, pop into our office and have a chat with us. We are always happy to help.

Total housing market value in Plymouth

The total housing market value is a combination of the number of transactions and the average property price in a given quarter. It can give a real idea of the buoyancy of the market in Plymouth. The first quarter of 2016 was the largest quarter (27.5%), closely followed by the final quarter of 2015 (27.0%).

Promising sales levels

Increasing clarity in the UK’s economic future has increased confidence in the property market. A look at sales levels in Plymouth over the last 15 months seems to indicate this too. Since May 2016 sales levels for flats are up 27 points and houses are up 11 points since April 2016.

Household size mix in Plymouth

From individuals to large families, the spread of household size can indicate the likely availability of appropriately sized properties. The most common size of household in Plymouth is two occupants, and makes up 34.3% of the total households in the area.


What is the property tenure composition in Plymouth?

One of the real tests to see if an area is suited to your tastes is to look at the composition of the household tenure types. In Plymouth, the mix of different household tenure types is as follows:

Owned outright 24.0%
Owned with a mortgage 30.1%
Shared ownership 0.8%
Social rented 22.7%
Private rented 22.4%
(Dated April 2017)
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