Monday, 13 January 2014


In January 2008, just after the financial meltdown took hold and plunged the country into the start of the recession, Darren Head opened Besley Hill’s 17th and newest franchise to date on the busy and vibrant Gloucester Road in the heart of Bishopston. Despite Bristol’s then Lord Mayor, Councillor Royston Griffey, performing the official opening during the harshest of economic times, the office has exceeded its targets in residential sales, full letting services and benefits from its own independent financial advisor, auction and survey departments. Still going strong and prospering in the ever-changing market trends, Darren has recently employed Laura Savage as the new office manager, who brings years of experience in the estate agency business to the existing strong and dedicated team. The office is celebrating its sixth birthday by inviting visitors to this website to join them at 66 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, on Saturday 25 January between 11.00am and 2.00pm when they will be able to meet the team. “We will be offering a yummy slice of birthday cake and champagne, along with balloons and goody bags for our younger visitors, and hope it will be a memorable occasion for all,” said Darren. And, to mark the occasion, Besley Hill’s Bishopston office is offering a special exclusive selling fee, whereby, for six weeks only, until 8 March, they will sell your property for 0.6% plus vat including a free EPC! For those unable to make the birthday celebrations, call the team (Darren, Laura, Tom, Matt, Dawn and Sally) on 0117 9244008 for further information on the exclusive selling fee or even just for a more informal chat about the housing market. They would be pleased to hear from you - and look forward to welcoming you as one of their guests on 25 January. Caption: Preparing to celebrate the sixth birthday of Besley Hill’s Bishopston office (left to right) are Thomas Dowdeswell (senior negotiator), Darren Head (director) and Matthew Winch (negotiator)

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


The UK housing market appears to have finally turned a corner as buyers returned to the market in their biggest numbers for years, says the latest RICS Residential Market Survey (13 August 2013). During July, the amount of potential buyers looking to enter the market grew at the fastest rate since July 2009, as a net balance of 53% more chartered surveyors reported increases in demand. Since the start of the year, buyers have gradually been returning to test the market – thanks in no small part to government finance initiatives – yet the amount of would-be buyers seen in July saw a sizeable peak. Significantly, this growth was seen in each and every part of the UK as the recovery, initially focused in the South East, spread to regions across the country. The West Midlands and the North East – areas which have suffered more than most since the market crash – experienced the biggest increases in buyer activity in July. Consequentially, prices rose in the country for the fourth consecutive month and grew at their fastest rate since the market peak of November 2006. Notably, this was not only confined to more affluent parts of the country such as London, but every region saw growth as we enter the end of the summer period. In tandem with rising buyer confidence, more potential sellers looked to test the market and place their homes up for sale. Last month, 15% more respondents reported rises rather than falls in new instructions. This reading has now been in positive territory for the last six months. However, in each of these months it has been outstripped by the change in new buyer enquiries. Looking ahead, it seems that prices across the country are going to continue to rise further, with a net balance of 35% more surveyors predicting increases. Meanwhile, transaction levels are also expected to grow, as 53% more respondents forecast sales will rise rather than fall over the coming three months. Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, said: “These results are great news for the property market as it looks like at long last a recovery could be around the corner. Growth in buyer numbers and prices have been happening in some parts of the country since the beginning of the year but this is the first time that everywhere has experienced some improvement. It is clearly good news that those parts of the property market that were struggling are at last showing some signs of life.” Endorsing this view, Adam Offer, managing director of leading south west estate agents, Besley Hill, said: “Feedback from our offices throughout Bristol and Gloucestershire shows that house prices are rising in our area and I am confident that this trend will continue in the coming months.”

Friday, 14 June 2013


Nigel Bull, one of a team of Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB) financial advisers serving Besley Hill Estate Agents offices throughout Bristol and Gloucestershire, comments on the success of the Help to Buy Scheme and the outcome of the recent MPC meeting: “The June meeting of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) marks the last time that the current Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, will preside over the interest rate setting and monetary stimulus monthly meeting. The Governor is stepping down from the role at a time when the economic news finally looks to be moving more consistently in a positive direction. Several economic surveys in the last week or so have reported business expansion in the service sector, which accounts for some three quarters of the UK’s total trade, and importantly, due to the need for us to diversify our economy, expansion is also occurring in both the construction and manufacturing sectors. We understand that at the previous meeting of the MPC in May, King voted in favour of an injection of 25bn to stimulate the economy, however, the group vote was to take no action. This notion was upheld once again at this month’s meeting as the committee voted to maintain the base rate of interest at 0.5% and to refrain from further asset purchase. With the global economy now appearing to finally be heading in the right direction, we could see this attitude becoming a world-wide trend, with many central banks looking to refrain from further market intervention. The Government’s interventions to stimulate the housing and mortgage markets announced in the recent budget included the Help to Buy scheme, which has been operating for a little over two months. During that time 4,000 new homes have been reserved. This initial take-up is very positive and there are further measures due to come into operation in 2014 with the introduction of a mortgage guarantee scheme to enable lenders to offer mortgages at higher Loan to values on re-sale property. This is likely to give a further boost to housing transaction numbers and greater access to mortgage finance for those borrowers who have not been able to save substantial deposits or those whose equity has been eroded. Mortgage rates have continued to fall at the beginning of June from May with the average 2, 3 and 5 year fixed rates now at 3.74%, 4.06% and 3.88% respectively. Borrowers across the country remain firmly in favour of fixed rates with more than nine out of every ten borrowers during May and cumulatively opting for a fixed mortgage product. May has also seen a positive increase in the number of mortgage products offered to the market with more than 7,000 mortgage products currently available to the typical intermediary, almost a 6% increase over April and the highest number in more than 12 months.” To find out how you could take advantage of the Help to Buy scheme, call Nigel Bull on 0117 9325686, email him at or contact the MAB local mortgage specialist at your nearest Besley Hill office. Note: Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. There will be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances. The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Nigel Bull, one of a team of Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB) financial advisers serving Besley Hill Estate Agents offices throughout Bristol and Gloucestershire, comments on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to retain the base rate of interest at 0.5% for the 50th month. “Last month we were waiting the first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) results for the UK economy and the outcome was positive with, as expected, the UK posting a 0.3% rise in GDP following the fourth quarter 2012 decline. This meant that the UK had officially avoided what was potentially a “triple dip recession”. Following the publication of the positive GDP data, we are not surprised that at this month’s meeting of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), the vote was once again to refrain from further monetary stimulus keeping it unchanged at £375bn. It also decided to maintain the base rate of interest at 0.5% this month and this marks the 50th month that the Bank Rate has remained at this all time low level. The Bank of England has recently announced the appointment of a new Bank Governor, Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of Canada, an economy that fared far better than many other Western economies following the global financial meltdown. Mr Carney is said to favour other forms of central bank intervention, so it will be interesting to see if Quantitative Easing (QE), the current Governor’s preferred method of direct intervention, will stay, or if we will see a new policy direction. Following the recent budget announcements in relation to the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme (FLS), it has now been confirmed that the scheme will be extended at least until 2015. One of the objectives of this policy was to reduce the cost of borrowing for Banks and Building Societies, and, thereby offer mortgage borrowers and small and medium sized enterprises access to cheaper mortgages and loans for businesses. The policy appears to be having the desired effect as at the beginning of May 2013, average 2, 3 and 5 year fixed rates had once again all fallen further to 3.82%, 4.13% and 3.96% respectively. Not surprisingly with rates at these historic low levels, borrowers continue to be firmly committed to fixed rate mortgage products with 9 in every 10 transactions during April being conducted on a fixed rate basis.In addition to reducing the cost of mortgage products, lenders have continued to steadily increase overall product numbers, with the number of mortgage products typically available to intermediaries rising once again in April to 6,742, a further increase of 1% over March.” To see if you could take advantage of these low rates whether you are remortgaging or buying for the first time, or to discuss your circumstances in more detail, call Nigel Bull on 0117 9325686, email him at or contact the MAB local mortgage specialist at your nearest Besley Hill office. Note: Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. There will be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances. The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.

Monday, 15 April 2013


House-sellers have hiked their asking prices to the highest amounts ever recorded in the month of April amid further signs of a recovering market, a property search website has revealed. MailOnline reports that Rightmove found that the gap between the sums that sellers are asking and actual selling prices has also narrowed, indicating that sellers are having to negotiate less and buyers are in a position to pay more. Asking prices rose by 2.1% month on month to reach £244,706 on average, which is the highest figure recorded by the research for the month of April and stands just £1,500 below an all-time high set in June 2012. Rightmove, whose records go back for more than a decade, tipped next month for a new asking price high, as a combination of confidence returning to the market this spring and a shortage of properties for sale continue their upward pressure on prices. Across England and Wales, London was the only region where asking prices took a dip in April, falling by 0.5%, although at £493,635 on average they are still 6.2% higher than a year ago. East Anglia saw the biggest month-on-month asking price jump, with a 4.4% rise taking typical prices to £224,538. Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: “With London prices pausing for breath this month but likely to bounce back next, May looks like an odds-on bet to deliver a new asking price record. 'More estate agents are reporting more activity in more segments of the market.' The year has got off to a promising start for house sellers, with asking prices now £15,717 or 6.9% higher than they were at the start of 2013, following monthly price increases for every month of the year so far. On a year-on-year basis, prices are up by 0.4% and the latest rise follows a new high for asking prices recorded for the month of March which was set last month. Lenders, estate agents and surveyors have been reporting signs of a pick-up in the housing market since the Government launched a scheme called Funding for Lending last August, which has prompted an increase in mortgage availability. Lenders have also been offering some of their lowest ever mortgage rates. Rightmove said that while some of the uplift in asking prices has come from a more positive view of the market generally, a shortage of homes coming up for sale is also pushing prices upwards, as buyers compete for fewer fresh properties. The website said that the run of houses coming to market in April was 4% down on a year ago. Homes are spending around 73 days on the market before they are sold, which is 10 days less than in April 2012. Rightmove said that comparing its asking price figures with the price houses are actually selling for, which is recorded by the Land Registry, the gap has narrowed from 3.39% in December to 2.95%. Mr Shipside said: “This indicates that sellers are negotiating less and buyers are willing or able to pay more. While the discount from the asking price on an individual property is very much a product of how realistic that price was, it is a sign of a recovering market if they are paying closer to what sellers ask.' A further indication of the improving situation comes with a Daily Mail story about an authoritative report which states that property sales will bounce back and a rejuvenated housing market will boost economic recovery this year. The Ernst & Young Item Club, an independent forecaster whose full quarterly analysis comes out tomorrow, admits official figures due in 11 days might show Britain has technically fallen into a triple-dip recession, but says the trend is towards recovery. The report will say an expected million property sales, helped by Government measures to boost mortgage lending, will lift the economy. Growth will also be raised by increased consumer spending as a result of tax cuts announced in last month’s Budget. “Clearly, the indications are that the property market has turned the corner and is now well on the road to recovery,” said Adam Offer, managing director of leading independent south west estate agents, Besley Hill, whose 16 offices confirm a strong resurgence of interest from home-buyers in Bristol and Gloucestershire.

Thursday, 11 April 2013


The amount of homes sold in the UK reached a three-year high during March as increased confidence in the market continued to translate into sales, says the latest RICS housing market survey. In March, chartered surveyors reported selling an average of 17.4 homes over the previous three months, the highest number since March 2010. Confidence has been slowly returning to the UK housing market since the end of 2012 and transactions have also risen for three consecutive months. This increasing stability was mirrored by prices as respondents across the country reported practically no movement during March. A net balance of just one per cent more surveyors reported price falls (from -7%), meaning house prices across the UK have now been relatively stable for six months. Moving on to demand, an increasing number of prospective buyers got out and viewed property during March. A net balance of 11% more surveyors reported rises in new buyer enquiries, the highest reading since October. It seems that government’s recent efforts to encourage banks to offer more affordable mortgages may now be starting to bear fruit and assist purchasers. Meanwhile, the amount of homes coming onto the market was little changed last month. Two per cent more surveyors reported rises rather than falls in new instructions, meaning that the shortfall of fresh stock coming to the market remains a key issue for buyers. At a regional level, the survey suggests that, on average, surveyors in the West Midlands have seen the biggest increase in homes sold since the start of the year, followed by those working in the London area. During March, chartered surveyors in the South West reported selling an average of 17 homes, increasing slightly on February’s figure of 16. Looking ahead, respondents are optimistic that the recent increase in transactions is set to continue. A net balance of 19% more surveyors expect sales to rise further over the coming three months. Moreover, price expectations indicators for both the next three and twelve months have been in positive territory for the last four months. Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director, said: “A buoyant, healthy property market is central to economic recovery and, while these are still very much early signs, it is encouraging that sales are beginning to pick-up. The increase in potential buyers getting out there and viewing property is particularly encouraging.” Adam Offer, managing director of leading South West estate agents, Besley Hill, said that feedback from the group’s 16 offices throughout Bristol and Gloucestershire confirmed that, thanks to initiatives such as Funding for Lending, mortgages are becoming more accessible to buyers, which is gently easing the pressure on the market and freeing up stagnant chains.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


House prices are rising in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, according to figures from the Land Registry, the Government Agency which monitors the sale of houses. The average house in Bristol now costs £169,425 - an increase of 2.4 per cent over the last 12 months - while homes in South Gloucestershire are even more expensive at £176,839 - an increase of 1.4 per cent over the last year. The nationwide average currently stands at £162,606 - which is an increase of one per cent over the last 12 months. "These figures show that house prices in Bristol and South Gloucestershire are performing better than most other parts of the country," said Adam Offer, managing director of estate agents Besley Hill, who have 16 offices throughout the area. "Limited supply and increased demand will result in property values in this part of the country continuing to rise during the coming year, indicating that now is a good time to buy."