Property news roundup: Homeowners believe they can do a better job of selling than agents

Plus, 'Scarface' house, prime country homes, long term tenants, dealbreakers and house price confidence

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The Independent Online

A new study shows 40 per cent of homeowners say they could do a better job of selling their house than estate agents, while more than half don’t believe agents always put the buyer’s or seller’s interests first.

Figures from The iProperty Company show that the average vendor across England and Wales would save just over £3,000 on agency fees if they decided to sell their own home, rising to £7,000 in London.

However, almost a third of homeowners admit they wouldn’t know where to start when it comes to selling their own property, with four in ten concerned about  legal issues, and nearly a quarter unsure what price to ask/sell for.

Meanwhile, Waterfords estate agent, which operates across Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire, says that since the start of 2014, the level of enquiries from customers wishing to have their property valued has increased by 20 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Sales of 'prime country' homes up by 35 per cent

The number of 'prime' property sales outside London increased by 35 per cent in the year to March 2014, according to figures from Knight Frank, with particularly strong rises in Cobham, Henley, Berkhamsted, Beaconsfield and Oxford.

"The faster recovery in sales volumes for homes in urban locations across the UK is reflective of the growing trend for prime market purchasers to target town and city properties outside of London," explained Oliver Knight, Knight Frank Research.

"Prior to 2010, sales of urban and rural homes followed a similar pattern. Since then, while both markets have enjoyed a pick-up in demand, there has been a divergence in performance. Town and city markets have seen a much faster rise in activity than neighbouring village and rural locations. At the end of March, annual sales of prime urban homes were just 3.3 per cent below their previous market peak in 2007. In comparison, sales of prime rural properties were 18 per cent below peak levels."

Scarface house for sale

El Fureidis in Montecito, California - the house used in the 1983 film Scarface and the wedding scene of Michele Pfeiffer and Al Pacino (pictured above) - is on the market with Christie’s International Real Estate  . It has four bedrooms and nine bathrooms, a Byzantine-style 'conversation room', an alcove with an 18 foot-high domed ceiling, and the dining room has a barrelled ceiling painted in 24-carat gold leaf that depicts Alexander the Great conquering Persepolis. It's,er, $35million.

Rise of the long-term tenant

Transient tenancies are being replaced by longer term choices, according to Belvoir. "Long-term tenancies are definitely increasing and we are getting more people staying longer and longer,” said Jeremy Clarke, owner of Belvoir Christchurch in Dorset. "At our office, tenancy lengths have almost doubled. When we first opened in 2004 people tended to stay in a property for about 18 to 19 months, but my average tenancy now is 33 months."

What are the property dealbreakers?

The most likely features that put potential home-buyers off purchasing a property in the UK are a lack of garden, an outdated bathroom and a small kitchen.

The study by showed only three per cent of people would be put off by an outdated living room.  Those aged over 34 were most likely to be looking for a home with a substantial garden area, while people aged 18-24 were most likely to be put off by an outdated bathroom.

Is confidence in the housing market cooling?

The number of people who think that now is a good time to buy a home is at its lowest level since June 2008, according to figures from the Building Societies Association.

Its latest report shows 29 per cent believe that now is a good time to buy, down from 40 per cent three months ago. 

Earlier in the week research from Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank suggested confidence in the property market has doubled across the UK, with more than half of homeowners believing that their home will go up in value over the next year compared to only 25 per cent this time last year.