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Mortgage War Will Save Crediton Homeowners £2,766 a Year

In a recent financial turn, Crediton residents are experiencing a wave of relief as mortgage rates across the UK take a surprising dip. This reduction, led by major lenders, signals a potential opportunity for the Crediton housing market, directly affecting homeowners, landlords and first-time buyers in the town.

Let’s delve into what this means for the local market, weighing up both the opportunities and the need for realistic expectations.

The Welcome Decline in Mortgage Rates

Leading the charge, Halifax announced on the 2nd of January a significant 0.83% cut in its re-mortgage deals, a move promptly followed by other financial institutions.

These cuts are not just numbers; they translate to substantial monthly savings for homeowners. For instance, on a £200,000 mortgage, this reduction could mean savings of £138 per month. As these lower rates become the new norm, they herald a brighter outlook for those looking to re-mortgage or enter the housing market.

For Crediton homeowners eyeing the market, this is a particularly opportune moment. The lowered rates could make transitioning to a new home more feasible, easing the financial burden often accompanying such a move.

Additionally, previously daunted by high entry costs, first-time buyers might find the market more welcoming, spurring a rejuvenation of property transactions in the area.

For example,

  • The average terraced house in Crediton in the last 12 months sold for £224,292.
  • The mortgage on a typical 85% loan-to-value mortgage would be £190,648 (meaning a 15% deposit of £33,644).
  • If a Crediton first-time buyer bought their house last summer, when the average five-year fixed rate was 6.3%, the mortgage payments would be £1,125.73 per month (for the next five years).
  • At the time of writing this article, Halifax were offering an 85% loan-to-value, five-year fixed rate at 4.57%, yet HSBC were offering something even better, a 4.44%, 85% loan-to-value mortgage on a five-year fixed rate.
  • That means their mortgage payments would only be £895.18 per month.
  • The average Crediton first-time buyer purchasing a terraced house is, therefore, saving £230.55 per month or £2,766.59 over the year because of the fall in mortgage rates over the last six months.

As you can see, the drop in mortgage interest rates makes quite a difference and will be a welcome saving to most Crediton household budgets.

Economic Indications and Market Predictions

The trend of falling rates is expected to continue, fuelled by competitive market dynamics and a general anticipation of further interest rate cuts by the Bank of England. Financial experts are betting on a substantial drop in Bank of England base interest rates throughout 2024, with the money markets believing base rates will slowly reduce in small steps from the current 15-year peak of 5.25% down to 3.75% by the year’s end, making mortgages more affordable and possibly boosting the property market’s health.

However, amidst the optimism, Crediton homeowners must adopt a tempered view. While the cuts are substantial, the rates are still relatively high compared to the historically low rates in previous years. Homeowners looking to sell should be particularly mindful of this. Setting realistic pricing, reflective of the current economic conditions and buyer capabilities, will be crucial to successful transactions.

Advice for Crediton Homeowners and Buyers

For those considering a move or entering the Crediton property market, it’s an opportune time to reassess your options. Seeking financial advice and comparing the market can ensure that you benefit from the best available rates. The market is fluid, and staying informed will be vital to making financially sound and beneficial decisions in the long term.

Advice for Crediton Landlords

In Crediton, falling interest rates herald a prosperous time for landlords. As financing costs decline, the burden of mortgages and loans diminishes, enhancing profitability. Concurrently, rents are escalating at a rate outpacing inflation, often in double digits, amplifying income streams significantly. This dual boon means landlords can enjoy reduced operational costs while benefiting from increasing rental revenues, bolstering their investment returns in the vibrant Crediton property market. This positive shift in financial dynamics offers a promising outlook for existing and prospective landlords in the area.

Final Words on this Mortgage War

The recent drop in mortgage rates brings a fresh wave of optimism to Crediton’s property market. It opens doors for homeowners looking to move and incentivises first-time buyers. However, a balanced, well-informed approach will be essential, with economic indicators suggesting varied outcomes. Whether you’re planning to buy, sell or re-mortgage, understanding the market and setting realistic expectations will be crucial to making the most of this financial shift.

Crediton’s property landscape is evolving, and with careful consideration and strategic planning, residents can navigate this change effectively and advantageously. If you are a Crediton homeowner, landlord or first-time buyer and you have any questions about buying or selling in Crediton in 2024, please call us on 01363 777999.

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100% Mortgages: A Golden Ticket or a Roll of the Dice?

100 percent mortgages helmores blog

Hold onto your hats, people! A seismic shift has occurred in the UK property market, and it’s causing quite the kerfuffle. Skipton Building Society, the UK’s fourth-largest building society, has launched 100% mortgages aimed squarely at renters. You heard it right, no more scraping together every penny for a deposit. But does this financial fairy godmother wave a wand of hope for renters or could it be a risky trapdoor towards financial uncertainty?

“No Deposit” – The Magic Words

A “100% mortgage” – sounds impressive, doesn’t it? It’s a loan that covers the entire cost of your dream home, meaning you can wave goodbye to the daunting task of saving for a deposit. Traditionally, these mortgages have been as rare as hen’s teeth due to the high risk they pose to lenders. But Skipton Building Society is boldly going where few have gone before.

Instead of requiring a helping hand from the Bank of Mum and Dad like other no-deposit deals, this offer asks for 12 months of on-time rental payments and a good credit history. The only catch? The interest rate is a slightly spicy 5.49%, a smidge higher than the average five-year fix of 5%.

A Golden Ticket for First-Time Buyers?

For those who’ve been tirelessly wrestling with rising rents and seemingly unattainable property prices, this 100% mortgage could be their golden ticket to homeownership. Skipton Building Society’s CEO, Stuart Haire, recognised this gap in the market and hopes this new offer can be the key to unlock homeownership for renters lacking the traditional prerequisites – savings or family wealth.

Imagine swapping your rental payments, which often match or even surpass mortgage costs, for a chance to build equity in your own little piece of heaven. In theory, we could see more people clambering onto the property ladder, increasing homeownership rates and potentially making the housing market a bit more friendly.

Rolling the Dice – The Risks of 100% Mortgages

Of course, like any fairy tale, there’s always a potential twist in the tale. Those of us with a good memory or a penchant for finance history will remember the infamous 2008 financial crisis. A time when mortgage lending practices became a bit too “footloose and fancy-free,” leading to a housing market collapse and a global economic downturn.

The peppery interest rate of 5.49% for these 100% mortgages might also be a bit hard to swallow for some borrowers. If interest rates decide to shoot up, or if life throws a curveball (like job loss or unexpected bills), those monthly mortgage payments could become a bit of a challenge.

Additionally, our friends at Generation Rent remind us that a lack of affordable properties is still a major dragon to slay for first-time buyers. So, despite the shiny new 100% mortgages, if there’s a shortage of castles to buy, we may still be stuck in a bit of a pickle.

The Crystal Ball of 100% Mortgages

As we stand on the brink of this new chapter in the property market, it’s hard to predict whether the tale of the 100% mortgage will end in a happily-ever-after or a cautionary tale. On the one hand, it might be a game-changer, opening the door to homeownership for a wider audience and injecting a little more fairness into the property market. On the flip side, if not managed with care, it could lead us down the path to risky lending practices, with echoes of financial crises past.

Even mortgage experts are saying that as long as these 100% loan value mortgages are underwritten sensibly, they could actually be a viable option. It’s almost like they’re saying, “We’ve learned our lessons, and we can do it better this time.”

And so, perhaps the approach with this new era of 100% mortgages should be met with cautious optimism. After all, there’s something rather exciting about a shake-up in the property market, especially one that could make the dream of homeownership a reality for so many.

But, like any thrilling adventure, it’s important to remember that not all that glitters is gold. As prospective homeowners, we must do our due diligence and consider whether a 100% mortgage is the right fit for our financial circumstances.

Conclusion

In the meantime, let’s grab the popcorn and watch how this property market drama unfolds. Will the 100% mortgage be the hero of our story, helping hardworking renters finally claim their own piece of the property pie? Or will it be a villain in disguise, luring us back into the risky lending practices of the past?

Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure: the UK property market just got a whole lot more interesting. Here’s to the future – may it be filled with responsible lending, affordable homes, and happy homeowners!

So, whether you’re a hopeful first-time buyer, a seasoned homeowner, or just a fascinated bystander, strap in and enjoy the ride. If you have any questions or comments we’d love to hear them in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this article check this one out Stamp Duty 101: Navigating the Tax on Your Dream Home

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A History Lesson: How the UK Property Market Went Boom & Bust in 2008

Property Market Crash

Today, we’re going to take a fun and casual trip down memory lane to the year 2008. You remember 2008, right? The year when financial markets around the world had a bit of a meltdown, and the UK property market was no exception. So grab a cuppa, sit back, and let’s take a look at why the UK property market crashed in 2008. Fear not, we’re going to keep things light and easy to understand, just like we do here at Helmores!

The Bubble

Before we dive into the details, let’s quickly discuss what a “bubble” is. A bubble is a situation where the price of an asset (like houses) increases rapidly, far beyond its true value. Eventually, this bubble bursts, leading to a rapid decrease in prices. Think of it as inflating a balloon until it pops – that’s a bubble!

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s explore the factors that led to the UK property market crash in 2008.

10 Key Factors That Popped the UK Property Bubble:

  1. Loose lending practices: Banks and other lenders were practically giving money away, with little regard for borrowers’ ability to repay their loans.
  2. Low-interest rates: The Bank of England maintained low-interest rates, making it cheaper for people to borrow money and buy houses.
  3. Excess liquidity: There was too much money floating around, chasing too few assets (like houses), which drove up prices.
  4. Relaxed regulation: Financial institutions were not closely monitored, which allowed them to engage in risky lending practices.
  5. Speculation: Investors were buying houses not as homes but as investment opportunities, hoping to flip them quickly for a profit.
  6. Buy-to-let frenzy: People were buying properties to rent them out, further fuelling the housing bubble.
  7. Media hype: The media played a significant role in convincing people that property prices would never go down.
  8. Fear of missing out (FOMO): Everyone wanted to get in on the property market before prices skyrocketed even further.
  9. High levels of personal debt: The UK population was accumulating huge amounts of debt, which made them more vulnerable to economic shocks.
  10. Global financial crisis: The US subprime mortgage crisis in 2007-2008 spread globally, leading to a domino effect that eventually hit the UK property market.

The Crash:

As we now know, this bubble couldn’t last forever. In 2008, the UK property market finally crashed. The global financial crisis, triggered by the US subprime mortgage crisis, led to a sudden and severe tightening of credit conditions. Banks stopped lending as freely, and people found it harder to get mortgages. This, in turn, led to a sharp decline in property prices, as buyers dried up and sellers struggled to offload their properties. At its worst, the UK property market fell by around 20%.

The Aftermath:

The UK property market crash of 2008 had severe consequences for homeowners, investors, and the broader economy. Many people found themselves in negative equity, meaning their homes were worth less than the mortgages they had taken out. Some were even forced into foreclosure, losing their homes entirely. The knock-on effects were felt throughout the economy, with rising unemployment and a deep recession that took years to recover from.

But fear not! As we’ve seen over time (and as our experience at Helmores can attest), house prices soon bounced back. Negative equity isn’t necessarily a problem unless you have to sell your home. As long as you can afford your mortgage payments and don’t need to move, you can ride out the storm until the market recovers. And that’s precisely what many homeowners did.

By the early 2010s, the UK property market began to recover, and prices started to rise again. Homeowners who were patient and held onto their properties eventually saw the value of their homes increase, allowing them to move on from the negative equity situation.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Was the UK property market crash of 2008 unique?
A: While the circumstances leading to the crash were specific to the UK, similar property market crashes occurred in other countries, such as the US and Spain.
Q: How long did it take for the UK property market to recover?
A: It took a few years for the market to fully recover. By the early 2010s, house prices began to rise again, and the market regained its strength.
Q: What lessons can we learn from the 2008 property market crash?
A: The crash taught us the importance of responsible lending, tighter regulations, and the need for a more cautious approach to property investment.
Q: Can another property market crash like 2008 happen again?
A: It’s difficult to predict, but the financial industry has learned many lessons from the 2008 crash. Stricter regulations and more responsible lending practices have been put in place to help prevent a similar situation from happening in the future.
Q: How can Helmores Estate Agency help me navigate the property market?
A: At Helmores, we pride ourselves on our expert knowledge, transparency, and personalised service. We can guide you through the process of buying or selling a property, helping you make well-informed decisions based on your individual needs and the current market conditions.

Conclusion

The UK property market crash of 2008 was undoubtedly a wild ride. But as the years have passed and the market has recovered, we’ve learned valuable lessons about responsible lending, financial regulations, and the importance of a measured approach to property investment. Here at Helmores we’ve seen the market change many times over the years and we’ve got the experience to help you navigate the ever-changing property market with confidence and ease. So whether you’re a first-time buyer, a seasoned investor, or simply curious about the market, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and our friendly team at Helmores 🙂

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The Property Market: A Spring Analysis

Spring Property Market Update Helmores

With evenings getting lighter and daffodils starting to bloom, we thought we’d dive into the Spring property market to explore the latest trends and insights. So join us for a market analysis that’s sure to capture your interest!

Essential Points

  • 0.8% (£2,906) increase in average property price this month
  • Annual asking price growth at +3.0%
  • First-time buyer properties spearhead recovery
  • Larger home sales fall behind
  • Mortgage rates retreat from last year’s peak
  • Devon property prices witness 6.5% year on year growth

The Evolving Market Situation

As spring arrives, Devon’s property market reflects an air of caution among new sellers, with the average property price rising by 0.8% (£2,906) to £365,357. The annual price growth rate slows to +3.0%, with asking prices now £5,800 below the peak observed in October. Despite economic challenges, the market is gradually approaching pre-pandemic activity levels.

Devon Property Prices: A Yearly Overview

Over the past year, asking prices in Devon have risen significantly by 6.5%. With a 1.4% increase in the monthly change, the average price now stands at £352,301.

The Recovery: First-Time Buyers at the Forefront

First-time buyer properties (say 2 bedrooms or fewer) are driving a cautious market recovery. Sales agreed in this sector are only 4% behind the same period in 2019 and 18% behind 2022’s exceptional performance. Consequently, average asking prices for these properties are a mere £500 below their peak last year.

Larger Homes: A Slower Pace

In contrast, sales agreed in the top-of-the-ladder sector are 10% behind the same period in 2019, respectively. The 1.2% increase in the most expensive property sector may be overly optimistic given the slower recovery in sales agreed numbers.

The Mortgage Rate Landscape

It’s good news for borrowers. Average mortgage rates have declined since last year, with rates for a 15% deposit five-year fixed mortgage now at 4.65%. Though down from last month’s 4.75% and October’s 5.89%, this rate is still higher than the 2.48% observed in March 2022.

Expert Perspective: The Hyper-Local Market

It’s pretty interesting to see how smaller and larger homes are performing so differently in this fast-paced, hyper-local market. If you’re thinking of selling during the bustling spring season, our best advice is to have a chat with your local estate agent who will be able help you navigate the scene. And obviously, if you’re around Mid Devon and Crediton, we’d be thrilled to hear from you at Helmores!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How is the spring season affecting Devon’s property market?

A: Spring brings increased buyer activity and traditionally strong interest, making it a great time to sell.

Q: What’s driving the recovery for first-time buyers?

A: Cautious pricing by sellers and buyer assistance programs are helping first-time buyer properties recover faster.

Q: Are larger homes experiencing the same recovery as smaller properties?

A: No, larger homes are lagging behind, with sales agreed numbers for top-of-the-ladder and second-stepper sectors lower than in 2019.

Q: How have mortgage rates changed recently?

A: Mortgage rates have declined since last year, making borrowing more affordable for buyers in the current market.

Q: What should sellers do to capitalise on the spring market?

A: Sellers should consult with a local estate agent to get informed advice on the hyper-local market and make the most of the spring selling season.

Stats source: Rightmove

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Crediton: The Perfect Place To Call Home?

Crediton the perfect place to call home

Today, I want to tell you all about the hidden gem in Devon that we live and work in: Crediton.
This charming market town is a true example of the beauty and tradition of the Devon lifestyle, and I can’t wait to show you why it’s the perfect place to call home!

A Rich and Fascinating History

Let’s start with the town’s history. Crediton has a rich and fascinating history that spans back to the Saxon period. It is said to be the birthplace of Saint Boniface, a missionary credited with converting much of continental Europe to Christianity in the 8th century. The town also has a significant connection to the wool trade, which was an important industry in the region during the Middle Ages. Crediton has a wealth of heritage sites and architecture that are a testament to its rich history. For instance, the town is home to Church of the Holy Cross, a beautiful sandstone building with a history of at least 1100 years, and one of the largest parish churches in Devon.

Surrounded by Rolling Hills and Scenic Countryside

The town’s location is also a major draw. Crediton is nestled on the banks of the River Creedy and is surrounded by rolling hills, countryside and farmland, yet is only 7 miles from the Cathedral City of Exeter. This picturesque location provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life while still being close to all the amenities you need. For those who love fishing, the River Creedy is a popular spot for anglers, so you won’t be short of opportunities to cast a line. For golfers there’s a fantastic 18 hole course at Downes Crediton Golf Club which offers a challenging 18-hole course set in beautiful hills. The course provides a unique and enjoyable golfing experience with its natural beauty, undulating fairways and well-manicured greens.

Outdoor Activities and Adventure Around Crediton

For those who love the outdoors, Crediton and it’s surrounding areas is a paradise. With its close proximity to Dartmoor National Park, there are countless opportunities for hiking, cycling, and exploring the beautiful Devon countryside. The town’s parks and gardens are also perfect for picnics and taking in the sun and the beautiful lakes at Shobrooke Park make for a perfect afternoon stroll. Crediton is a peaceful and friendly community, where you’ll always have plenty to see and do.

A Journey On The Tarka Line

A unique experience in Crediton is taking a ride on the Tarka Line Railway. It’ll take you on a journey through picturesque Devon countryside as far as Barnstaple, taking in beautiful views of rivers and farmland as it goes, stopping at various old stations enroute. It’s a very popular attraction for tourists and locals alike, and it’s a great way to spend a day with the family.

A Town that Values Education: A Range of Facilities to Choose From

Crediton is a town that values education, and provides families with school-aged children a range of facilities to choose from and there are 3 main schools:

Landscore Primary School offers a warm and welcoming environment where students can thrive. With a focus on developing literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking skills, Landscore provides students with a strong foundation for future learning.

Haywards Primary School offers a unique Montessori-based education, with an emphasis on hands-on learning and individualized instruction. The school provides students with a personalised education experience that allows them to learn at their own pace and reach their full potential.

Queen Elizabeth’s School is an academy school with a sixth form with a focus on academic excellence. The school offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities, allowing students to explore their interests and develop new skills.

So, if you’re searching for a town that takes education seriously, Crediton is definitely worth considering.

The Heart of Crediton: Independent Shops, Cafes and Markets

Crediton is a town that truly cherishes its local businesses and community. The heart of the town, its High Street, is a thriving hub of independent shops, cafes, and pubs, making it the perfect place for a relaxed and enjoyable day out. Whether you’re in the mood for browsing unique gifts, grabbing a bite to eat at one of the charming cafes, or simply people watching while sipping a coffee, Crediton has got you covered.

But the community spirit doesn’t stop just in the High Street. The Crediton Town Square is a lively hub of community activity and cultural events. Recently revitalized through the “Share in the Square” project, the town square has come back to life with a range of events, activities, and markets. From farmers’ markets, where you can buy fresh, locally grown produce and handmade crafts, to outdoor concerts, there is always something happening in the square that brings the community together.

A Hub for Active Fun and Fitness

Lords Meadow Leisure Centre offers a range of facilities for those looking to stay active and have fun. With a 25-metre swimming pool, a well-equipped gym, and a variety of fitness classes, there’s something for everyone. The centre also offers sports hall activities such as badminton, basketball, and table tennis, making it a great place for families and groups to enjoy together.

Helmores Estate Agents: A Passion for the Community

Finally, I’d like to give Helmores a quick plug and why not, because for over 320 years we’ve been a cornerstone of the Crediton community. As a family-owned business, we take pride in offering a wide range of properties to buy and rent in and around Crediton. Our team is passionate about the area and dedicated to helping those looking to buy or rent a property in the town. With a wealth of experience and a unique approach to showcasing our properties, including video tours and aerial drone footage, Helmores is the go-to choice for anyone looking to make Crediton their new home.

Crediton Really Is The Perfect Place to Call Home!

So in my opinion, Crediton is the perfect place for those who want to experience the traditional Devon lifestyle. With its rich history, stunning scenery, and friendly community, Crediton has something for everyone. Whether you’re a family looking for a peaceful place to raise your children, or a retiree looking for a place to relax and enjoy your golden years, Crediton really is the perfect place to call home.

I invite your thoughts on Crediton – have you lived here before or considering moving here? Share what you love or draws you to the town, and any unique features that set it apart from other Devon towns. I’d love you to leave your comments below.

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What’s the Difference Between a Flat and an Apartment?

“An apartment is over £100 grand and a flat under £100k!”, said my friend.

Joking aside, there is no difference, call it what you will, the humble apartment/flat has served Crediton well over the years. The average sale price of an apartment in the town in 2021 was £154,020, making it an excellent first-time buyer purchase and buy-to-let investment.

In this article, I want to look at the apartment/flat in Crediton and how it could solve the county’s housing crisis.

The word ‘Apartment’ derives from the French word ‘Appartement’, which comes from the Italian form of the word, ‘Appartamento’. The core of that Italian word ‘appartare’ means ‘to separate’, as in ‘separate a building’.

The word comes from Roman times when housing costs were so expensive within the city walls in Rome. Savvy property owners split (or separated) their houses into what we know as apartments or flats today.

The word flat is derived from the Old Scottish/Old English word ‘flet’. The flet is the interior of the home. Some also think the phrase stuck as most flats are on one floor, and so by definition, the accommodation is on the flat (i.e. no stairs inside).

The country has an enduring housing shortage. Not enough homes are being built, and even though the Government is aspiring to build 300,000 new homes annually to match demand and keep costs of housing affordable, less than 250,000 were built in 2019, the best rate in the last decade.

And that is why some say the simple solution to Britain’s housing problem is building more apartments/flats.

The British population has been growing by more than half a million every year, for the last twenty years. Yet just over 175,000 homes have been built annually.
One solution is building more apartments – and on the face of it, the facts stack up as they are cheaper to heat, the views are often unique and they use less land.
To look at what we do as a country with our apartments, it’s important to look at Europe to see how they live so that we can compare the percentages of flats/apartments lived in:

  • Spain 66.1%
  • Switzerland 63.1%
  • Greece 59.2%
  • Germany 56.3%
  • Italy 53.1%
  • EU average 46.2%
  • Sweden 46.7%
  • France 34.0%
  • The United Kingdom 14.8%

Quite a stark difference, isn’t it! Now let’s look at Crediton itself.

Of the 3,589 households in Crediton, 20.3% of them (729) are apartments/flats

Even though only 1.2% of the country has residential property built on it (and an additional 3.5% are gardens), building houses is low-density land use. Is it sustainable in the long term to continue to build that way in Britain, a country with a similar population to France yet having less than half its landmass?
If we continue to build just over 5 in 6 new households as houses, surely sooner or later, the precious green belt around our towns and cities will have to go. And I know many of you will say use brownfield sites. Of course, there are brownfield sites, yet…

In the whole of the Mid Devon area, there are only 15 brownfield sites, totalling only 18.9 acres, which would only provide 267 houses – so not many!

The country needs a decent supply of homes for its growing and ageing population. Many of you will frown when it has been suggested, even if it’s for environmental reasons alone, most of these should be apartments/flats.

Don’t get me wrong, the love/hate relationship with the apartment/flat and the British is well-founded. Many apartments/flats in Britain are not suitable for happy family living. The high-rise ghetto council blocks built in the 1960s didn’t help with their poor communal areas, lack of maintenance and lifts that didn’t work.

Why do so many more Europeans live in apartments?

In mainland Europe, the apartments are larger. For example, in Germany, they are 974 sq ft; in Denmark, they are 1,452 sq. ft; in the UK, they are only 793 sq ft. Also, European apartment/flat owners have more storage areas, higher ceilings and better communal areas.

It is a vicious cycle. Poorly made small apartments make families side-step them, which makes new home builders construct apartments unsuitable for families, which means the situation worsens. This results in the British property market trying to expand our towns and cities outwards into the countryside with houses, rather than upwards into the sky.

I am not suggesting 20-storey high-rise tower blocks in Crediton for one second. Looking deeper into the information from Europe, most people live in low-rise three and four-storey purpose-built apartment blocks.

To begin with, these new apartments/flats need to be justly desirable for Crediton families and be seen as such by the local population. The building materials used, communal spaces, the building’s functionality, and design specifications must not only meet but exceed current building specs on houses, or planning permission should withhold.

Maybe the Government could incentivise builders to build apartments/flats instead of houses to improve the supply of quality apartments/flats with tax breaks?

Things will take decades to change, yet I thought it was appropriate to discuss the matter in such an environment as this.

These are my thoughts, what are yours?

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How to Attract Birds to your Garden

One of the beautiful things about Devon is the abundance of wildlife, including the songbirds that we have in our gardens. Schemes like #NoMowMay have helped in recent years to give our native birds a chance to thrive on the insects that untouched grass and meadowland supplies.

But it’s not just the birds, as part of Plantlife’s annual No Mow May campaign, research found that simple changes in mowing can result in enough nectar for ten times more bees and other pollinators. In fact, their study discovered over 200 species were found flowering on lawns in 2021 including rarities such as meadow saxifrage, knotted clover and eyebright. Don’t forget to log your own findings on their website.

Attracting birds to your garden is a delightful experience. You learn a lot and experience many new things about birds’ habitats and your environment.

In February this year more than 1,900 farmers and land managers took part in the 2022 GWCT (Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust) Big Farmland Bird Count. Over 420,000 individual birds were counted in the survey. An impressive 26 red-listed species were recorded, with seven among the 25 most frequently seen species. Of these, starlings, lapwings, fieldfares, and linnets were the four most abundant red-listed species to be spotted, with over 125,000 counted, which equates to 29% of all species recorded.

More than 63% saw robins, carrion crows and pheasants. The five most abundant birds seen were woodpigeons, starlings, lapwings, fieldfares and rooks, with a total of 204,398 spotted in total, which equates to 48% of all the birds counted.

So if you want to be someone that makes a difference, you need to attract the birds into your garden in the first place. Here are few tips to help get you started.

Grow native plants

A bird-friendly landscape offers different layers of plants for different birds to use. From tall trees to ground cover – you need a little of everything. You also need to grow different types of plants for different birds. When choosing plants, consider the season during which each plant is most valuable. Early flowering shrubs provide nectar during the spring, while trees and bushes give fruits in the late summer and fall. Therefore, think broad and grow that engage different birds round the year in your garden.

Make a little pond 

If you have the space then this will attract water-loving birds. Birds drink clean and fresh water from the pond especially on hot days. At the same time, they have a safe and accessible place to take a bath. If you have a small space, then they also love a bird bath – just ensure you keep it clean and refreshed.

Provide food

Supplementary feeding can ensure that your garden supports many different birds.

According to the RSPB during the summer months, birds require high protein foods, especially while they are moulting. These food include black sunflower seeds, pinhead oatmeal, soaked sultanas, raisins and currants, mild grated cheese, mealworms, waxworms, mixes for insectivorous birds, good seed mixtures without loose peanuts. Avoid using peanuts, fat and bread at this time, since these can be harmful if adult birds feed them to their nestlings.       

Temporary food shortage can occur at almost any time of the year, and if this happens during the breeding season, extra food on your bird table can make a big difference to the survival of young. Birds time their breeding period to exploit the availability of natural foods: earthworms in the case of blackbirds and song thrushes, and caterpillars in the case of tits and chaffinches. It is now known that if the weather turns cold or wet during spring or summer, severe shortage of insect food can occur, and if the weather is exceptionally dry, earthworms will be unavailable to ground feeding birds because of the hard soil. In order to help with this, buggy nibbles and mealworms can be provided during these times to prevent starvation.

You can find more information on feeding the birds in this great guide from the RSPB.

Avoid Pesticides

Attracting birds to your garden also gives a huge responsibility to safeguard them. Many bird populations are endangered due to harmful pesticides. Avoid using anything that can prove dangerous for birds as they can mistakenly consume it – this includes slug pellets and leaving salted slugs where birds might pick them up and feed them to their young.

Stop your cat (and dog) from catching birds!

55 million birds are killed by cats each year! Cats are natural hunters and sadly they will hunt and kill wildlife for fun. Responsible cat owners can try to curb their natural instinct using a few simple tactics.

The RSPB have a number of suggestions and these include putting a bell on your cat’s collar. Feeders should be placed about 2m from dense vegetation, preventing surprise attacks from cats but giving birds easy access to cover. Place nest boxes where cats cannot get close, as they might prevent parent birds from getting to the box.

Help track birds

At this time of year you can assist the experts by logging the birds you see in your garden. For example, Swifts pair for life and meet up at the same nest site in the UK each spring – usually in gaps under roof tiles and in the eaves of buildings. But as more and more old buildings are demolished or renovated, many swifts are returning to discover their nest site is gone.

By telling the RSPB where you see nesting swifts you’ll help to build a picture of where swift nest sites need to be protected and where it would be best to provide new nest sites.

With fun accessible schemes such as Give Nature a Home and the Big Garden Birdwatch, the RSPB will continue to transform gardens across the country into mini nature reserves. Building a movement and weaving the UK’s landscape into a tapestry of connected wild spaces. You can be a part of it too – and don’t forget to share your sightings with us, we’d love to know if this blog has helped you transform the birdlife in your garden.

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8 Devon Gardens to Inspire this Spring

Devon is home to countless beautiful gardens and as estate agents we are very lucky to be able to visit new ones all the time.

As gardening season is upon us, we thought it would be good to list just a few local gardens open to visitors to enjoy. After all, it is the perfect time to start planning how you’ll make the most of the great outdoors.

From wildflower meadows to manicured lawns and everything in-between, these gardens  invite you to witness their displays and get inspiration for your own outdoor space.

Shobrooke Park Garden, Crediton

The 200 acre Shobrooke Park was laid out in the 1850s. The house was lost in a fire in 1946, but the grand garden remains with its Portland stone terracing and flowering shrubs under ancient oaks. All especially magnificent in the Spring.

Wandering through the oak woodland, on to the formal terracing and past the walled kitchen gardens to the American Grounds there are ever changing colours. See the way that clipped yew and laurel compliment the stonework. Enjoy the views out over Shobrooke Park with its cascade of ponds.

In May the spring flowers fade but the diversity of the shrubs continues in whites, blues, yellows and pinks. The scented azaleas in the American grounds are worth the walk.

In 2022 the gardens are open on Friday afternoons from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm on 6th & 20th May and on Saturdays mornings from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm on 7th & 21st May.

The garden is rough and steep in places so unfortunately not suitable for people with mobility problems or wheelchairs. Stout boots and walking sticks are sensible for your visit.

Downes Estate, Crediton

Downes is the family home of the Buller and Parker Family.  It is still lived in by the current generation of the family – Henry and Susan Parker and their children.

The attraction of Downes is the way it brings together aspects of the history of our country (particularly as the home of the famous General Buller) and the history of a family home, still privately occupied and loved by its owners, some 300 years after it was first built.  It is hoped that visitors will appreciate the opportunity to share this special place.

The house is open to the public for guided tours at 2.15pm daily during the following weeks and if you are joining a tour the gardens are open between 1.30pm – 4.30pm:

2nd May – 8th May, 30th May – 5th June, 29th August – 4th September

Sherwood House, Newton St Cyres

Sherwood Garden is a hidden treasure; traditional gardens surround a beautiful, turn of the century Arts and Crafts home set in a landscape of 23 acres. Explore two deep ancient oak wooded valleys, surrounded by pastureland and further forest. Acers, magnolias, rhododendrons, azaleas and other woody plants are beautifully supported by banks of naturalised bulbs and wild flowers which thrive under careful low input management. Yew topiary surrounds the house and frames the more natural garden beyond.

If the weather is kind , there are plenty of benches and areas all over the garden for a picnic too – which means you can make a real day of it! Head to their Open Gardens with Tea and Cake in aid of Parkinsons UK on Saturday 28th May, near Crediton. There will be two sessions to view the gardens 11am to 1pm and from 2pm to 4pm. There are limited ticket sales for each to allow for parking restrictions.

Knighthayes Court National Trust

If you discovered ‘growing your own’ over lockdown (like millions of others) then look no further for inspiration than the nationally significant formal garden and working kitchen garden at Knightshayes.

This two-and-a-half-acre walled kitchen garden with fairytale turrets is home to a vast collection of crops which are now almost extinct – including 102 varieties of heritage tomatoes. The kitchen garden was finished in 1876, and was designed by Burges, at the same time as the house. The influence of Burges can be spotted from the turrets and the style of the walls, like a castle.

Sadly, the garden declined following the First World War, as most young men went off to fight, leaving a skeleton staff. By the Second World War, numbers had declined yet further, though the garden was still used to help produce supplies when the main house was used as a hospital during both world wars. Wider commercial availability of fruit and vegetables also meant the garden ceased to be cost effective, as more and more produce was brought into the estate. In the 1970’s, the garden had grown over and been abandoned due it becoming too expensive to run. The garden was put to bed for over 40 years and used as grazing and even an overflow carpark.

In 1999, a project was undertaken to restore the kitchen garden to its former glory and by 2003 it was fully productive again.

The lesson for us all is that it is never too late! So don’t be afraid to start growing fruit and veg no matter how tiny your plot. Plus, don’t forget that there are allotments around Crediton as well as the community allotment where you can get involved in growing without needing to own any land yourself.

Backswood Farm, Bickleigh, Tiverton

If you’re keen on finding out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, then this is one for you. This newly created two acre nature garden provides many uniquely designed homes for wildlife.

Wander through the flower meadow visiting individually designed areas, structures, water features and ponds. Seating areas afford stunning views towards Exmoor and Dartmoor. Both native and herbaceous plants have been chosen to benefit insect and bird life.

This garden opens by arrangement for groups of between 1 and 99. This means the garden welcomes visitors on pre-agreed dates. So don’t be afraid to get in contact with them and arrange a visit. You can gather knowledge, tips and ideas through chatting to them about their hard work and then come back inspired to do the same!

Lewis Cottage, Spreyton

This well-known garden and plant nursery on the way to Spreyton, near Crediton, has four acres of garden that really demonstrate how to make the most of the natural landscape. It has evolved primarily over last 30 years using informal planting and natural formal structures to create a garden that reflects the souls of those who garden there. There are often special open days and there are a couple coming up on the 28/29 May and 25/26 June. Lewis Cottage Plants is an online nursery selling plants that grow in the garden at Lewis Cottage. You can also visit the nursery in person when you book a visit and pick up some of your favourite plants that you’ve spotted in the garden.

Andrew’s Corner Belstone

A little further afield, this garden really helps inspire when you want to garden on the wild side! In 2022 they celebrate 51 years of opening through the National Gardening Scheme.

In early May the maples, rhododendrons and unusual shrubs provide interest, late May brings the flowering davidia, cornus, embothrium and the spectacular blue poppies. A perfect day out and you are certain to get some good ideas!

Fursdon, near Exeter

Venture into East Devon a little and you will find Fursdon, where rural hillside gardens blend seamlessly into rolling parkland and on into the countryside with views over the Exe valley and beyond to Dartmoor.

Take a leisurely stroll through approximately 4 acres of garden and grounds including terraces of roses, herbs and perennials in mixed traditional and contemporary planting. The Vine Pavilion and thatched Round House are great places to sit and admire the view and listen to the birds – and there are many strategically placed benches for resting and taking time to be peaceful. Throughout the gardens, there are some steep slopes with grass or gravel paths.

The Meadow Garden, originally planted nearly 200 years ago, in memory of Harriet Fursdon, is now a woodland walk leading to a pond.

This is by no means a finished garden and this is why it’s a great inspiration. Restoring and regenerating this area is an ongoing project. They are establishing wild flowers and have planted hundreds of bulbs to grow under the canopy of trees. It is a short walk from the main garden and visitors can wander and enjoy this peaceful natural space, while building up an appetite for tea in the Coach Hall.

They have created a pond in The Meadow Garden which attracts all sorts of wildlife and planted the banks and beds which lie next to the grassed walkways.

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We hope you enjoy visiting these gardens. If you want to recommend others, then head to our Facebook and Instagram pages and please add them into the comments!

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Why do Half of Crediton Homeowners Move Again Within 5 Years and 43 Weeks?

In Britain, there are 27,071,500 households, of which 17,044,450 are owned, and are worth a total of £3,925,865,212,950 (£3.92 trillion). Over the last 5 years, an average of 86,096 properties sell each month, meaning just over a million UK households move home per year. Therefore, the average British homeowner moves every 16 years 5 months.

These statistics refute a common hypothesis that British neighbourhoods are becoming more fleeting and transitory. On the face of it, they appear to show that, once you have succeeded to buy a property you can call home, there isn’t much motivation to move again.

So, aren’t people moving home so much?

Could it be put down to a certain sense of complacency or apathy to moving home? Whereas we might love our home in Crediton, most of you (including myself) still want to ‘better our lives’ with a bigger house, better area etc, which typically requires us to climb up the Crediton property ladder.

Yet with Crediton house prices having risen by 166.2% in the last 20 years, the cost of going up the next rung on the Crediton property ladder is prohibitive.

Everyone harks back to the 1980’s, when we had an upbeat booming property market as a backcloth, Brits moved home every eight years; so now with the average at just over 16 years this equates to each British homeowner moving around three to four times in their adult lifetime. Maybe we should all call our homes ‘Dunroamin’ and be done with it!

Or does it? 

We have all heard the phrase ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’ … well the stats mentioned above hide some amazing features of the British property market. When homeowners get into their 50’s and 60’s, their tendency to move home drops like a stone. The average length of time a homeowner without a mortgage moves home is 24 years and 7 months (and just under 7 out of ten outright homeowners i.e. without a mortgage are 65 years old or older). 

Yet, homeowners with a mortgage move on average every 10 years and 11 weeks.

So, whilst I cannot determine who has a mortgage and who doesn’t, I can look at how quickly people move home in Crediton.  I have looked at the last 50 property sales in Crediton, and I have found some interesting findings.

On average Crediton homeowners only move every 12 years and 37 weeks.

Nothing interesting about that you might say, when compared to the national average … yet the devil is in the detail.

There appears to be a two speed Crediton property market … look at the top 25% of Crediton home movers, and then the next slice … these Crediton people are moving home really quickly, yet the gap for the next two slices widens tremendously.

  • Top 25% quickest Crediton home movers move every 3 years and 43 weeks
  • The next 25% quickest Crediton home movers move every 7 years and 36 weeks
  • The next 25% quickest Crediton home movers move every 15 years and 21 weeks
  • Whilst top 25% slowest Crediton home movers only move every 23 years and 23 weeks

When looking at the properties that fall into the later bands (i.e. the ones that don’t move/sell so often), they tend to be the larger properties where the homeowners have lived for 25/30 years plus.

The lesson we all should learn is that once people get into their 50’s and 60’s, their propensity to move home drops considerably. This means the properties on the lower rungs of the Crediton property ladder do appear to sell quickly (as they are occupied by younger homeowners) yet once Crediton people get older, their tendency to move diminishes. This puts a roadblock on the younger generation wanting to buy the larger Crediton properties these mature homeowners live in.

What is holding the older generation back from selling and downsizing to free up homes for families that desperately need them? Some of it will be apathy, some of it will be holding on to the home that they brought their family up in, yet the bottom line is …

46.5% of the homes owned in Britain have two or more spare bedrooms.

As a nation, we need to rethink how we can encourage older homeowners to sell their large homes to release them to the younger families that desperately need them. Some suggest tax breaks, yet the Government won’t be in the mood to give huge tax breaks as the measures to protect the economy over the last 12 months will ultimately need to be paid back.

One thing I do know, we as a Country have seen (and will continue to see) a lot of demographic change together with an increasing elderly population, so it’s not just about how many homes we build, but whether we are building the right kind of homes the older generation will want to move into.

Interesting times ahead for the Crediton property market!

If you have a Crediton property to sell or let in the coming weeks, months or years and would like to know how this and other factors will affect you and your property … without obligation, don’t hesitate to give me a call or drop me line.

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Fewer Crediton Homes ‘For Sale’ in Last 4 Months

With most Crediton families home schooling their children in lockdown and the forthcoming Stamp Duty Holiday deadline on the 31st March 2021, less Crediton properties have been coming onto the property market since the new year. This has prompted about a 10% drop in the supply of Crediton homes for sale compared to October 2020.

For the past couple of decades, like clockwork, Crediton estate agents’ busiest times for putting property onto the market is the new year to Easter rush, with a smaller flurry of new properties coming onto the market in the mid/late summer. Yet, since the ending of lockdown 1.0 in the late spring 2020, nothing has been normal about the Crediton property market.

Throughout the summer, the number of properties coming onto the market in Crediton steadily rose to its peak in October and the number of properties then becoming sold subject to contract (stc) rose even higher (and whilst statistics don’t exist for the properties sold stc, anecdotal evidence suggests there were just under 50% more Crediton properties sold stc in the last six months of 2020 compared to the same 6 months in 2019).

However, back to the number of properties for sale.

The peak of the number of Crediton properties on the market in autumn was 88 – that now stands at 79.

The first lockdown caused many Crediton homeowners to want to move with the need for extra space to work from home and in some cases larger gardens. This was further exacerbated by Crediton home movers also trying to take advantage of the Stamp Duty Holiday to save themselves money on this tax.

This meant many more Crediton properties came onto the market (more than a “normal” year) in the last 6 months of 2020. However, those Crediton home movers motivated to move for the extra space/save money on the tax, did so in the summer/autumn and have already placed their Crediton home on the market (and are probably by now sold stc rushing to get their house purchases through before the deadline on the tax savings).

So, how does Crediton compare to other property markets, and what does this reduction in Crediton properties on the market mean to Crediton homeowners and landlords?

There are 80% more properties on the market today in Crediton, compared to 12 months ago.

When I compared that to the national picture, according to Zoopla, there are 12% less properties on the market today (compared to a year ago).

There are currently 47,900 apartments for sale in London compared to January 2020, when there were only 32,600 – a massive rise of 46.9% … all the more interesting when there are only 15.1% more London semi-detached houses for sale and 1.8% more London detached homes over the same 12 month period.

The jump in London apartments for sale is being pushed by an upsurge of London up-sizers eager to trade their city living apartment up to suburban houses, and a small handful of panicky London buy-to-let investors who are wanting to exit the London property market following falling rents for apartments. Looking closer to home, there are …

240% more terraced homes for sale in Crediton than a year ago, whilst there are only 40% more detached homes.

So, whilst there are some differences between the supply of individual types of property in Crediton (e.g. terraced vs detached houses), the overall reduction in the number (i.e. supply) of properties for sale can only mean one thing, when there is a reduction in the supply of anything and demand remains stable, this will mean continued upward pressure on Crediton house prices in the short term (although I suspect there will be some downward pressure on Crediton terraced houses with that level of increase in supply – maybe some interesting ‘opportunities’ for all you Crediton landlords?).

Will overall demand for Crediton property continue to be stable?

Lockdown 3.0 will probably cause another wave of Crediton people who want to move home (thus increasing demand). The last property crash (the Credit Crunch in 2009) was caused by a huge increase in the supply of properties for sale when people lost their jobs and interest rates were much higher. People couldn’t afford their mortgages and so dumped their homes onto the market all at the same time – causing an oversupply of property for sale and hence house prices dropped.

Compared to the 79 properties for sale in Crediton today, at the height of the Credit Crunch in January 2009, there were an eye watering 156 properties for sale in Crediton.

It was this increase in the level of property for sale in Crediton (mirrored across the whole of the UK) that caused property prices to drop between 16% and 19% (depending on the type of property) in Crediton over the 12 to 14 months of the Credit Crunch. So, as long there is no sudden change in the demand or supply of properties and interest rates remain at their current ultra-low level – the medium-term prospects for the Crediton property market look good.

If you are a Crediton homeowner or a Crediton buy to let landlord and want to chat about the future of the Crediton property market – do drop me a line, I’d love yo hear from you!