Keeping Up with Oakwood | Newsletter November 2021
Winter starts today, although of late the weather has been unseasonably warm with a glorious (if occasionally wet) autumn. However, I am sure we are all keen to get winter out of the way and move on to 2022, leaving behind the difficulties of the past couple of years.
Property wise we have had an unusual time, perhaps out of step with the wider economy. One thing’s for sure, it has been busy! Twelve months have passed since we purchased the Morrison Property Services business in Altrincham, and we have had a successful integration of staff, clients and systems.
Residential Sales and Lettings
Our area has seen a noticeable growth in house prices with demand still outstripping supply. In fact, despite the current level of prices supply has never been lower. It seems to be that people who would like to move are staying put for fear of not finding anything to move to.
There’s been a clear move towards the suburbs and more rural areas as working from home (WFH) has become more widespread and accepted as the norm. I think that people are also worried about being stuck in a city centre flat in the event of further lockdowns.
We have, unfortunately, found may landlords selling up whilst prices are good. Besides the obvious issue of price, many are concerned about the increasing compliance requirements, and, for many, the extra tax payments. Not surprisingly, the number of rental properties is also in short supply and rents have been rising.
At Oakwood we will happily provide a free market appraisal for either sales or rental. No obligation, just good honest expert professional advice. For further advice please contact Ciaran Dwyer, who has recently joined us to develop this work. A lifelong local, Ciaran knows the South Manchester market well.
Commercial Property Market/ Asset Management
The commercial property market is more variable than residential and different parts of the sector have reacted in diverse ways. Retail has perhaps suffered the most, although there remains uncertainty with offices whilst firms evaluate their ongoing requirements in light of WFH. It will no doubt be early 2022 when more certainty returns.
Having said that, demand at an investment level has been good with, again, very little supply on the market. We sold a shop in Hale off market at an approximate 5% yield and have recently brought a multi-let investment property to the market on Kingsway in Altrincham. We have also completed a number of lettings of both offices and retail units in the south Manchester area.
We have been busy dealing with rent reviews on our managed portfolio and have found very few tenants shutting up shop or downsizing, despite the general picture.
Within our commercial department we include property development and have been working on some long-term projects. We have recently brought Delph Farm, Winwick to the market with consent for 19 houses – a case I started on about fifteen years ago.
We are keen to develop our commercial agency, for both sales and rentals, and can offer a full asset management service. Our director Andrew Aspinall brings over thirty years of property experience and oversees this area of work. He will gladly speak without obligation to explain how we can assist.
Agricultural Property – Farms and Land
The same issue with farms and land as discussed above is lack of supply. Demand continues unabated for the usual reasons (mainly tax!) whilst so many farmers are reluctant to retire (due to tax!). The disjoint between farm profit and land price is growing ever wider. Cheshire has always had strong land values, but we are now routinely seeing in excess of £15,000 per acre for bare land. At Oakwood we have sold some parcels of land off-market and vendors are liking the prices obtained, such is demand.
If you are considering selling or letting your farm, land or any rural property then please contact me, Graham Bowcock for a free marketing appraisal. I offer a wealth of experience, having been operating in the area for over thirty years.
As our company name suggests we offer a property valuation service. This area of work has been growing and we are busier than ever. We offer formal RICS reports for bank lending, tax, probate, matrimonial (usually as Expert) and other reasons such as partnership dissolution or family rearrangement. Myself and Andrew are both RICS Registered Valuers and offer a wealth of experience; between us there’s not much property we haven’t seen.
Many smaller firms have moved away from valuations due to increasing costs and restrictions from Professional Indemnity (PI) insurers, but at Oakwood we have determined to remain true to our roots and continue offering a quality service to our clients.
Now that COVID restrictions are being lifted, we shall restart our programme of valuations seminars that were proving popular in spring last year; these are aimed at solicitors and accountants that instruct valuers.
Our associate Lydia Sirovica oversees our valuations in the first instance and can provide a competitive fee quote and set up new jobs. There’s usually a raft of information she will need to obtain, such as leases, planning consents, EPCs’ etc. but she will steer clients through our professional guidance.
In November last year, when Oakwood purchased Morrison Property Services, we were joined by three of their staff. Sally Kendrick is our office/property manager, well known to all of our management clients; she is about to start maternity leave so we wish her well. Susan Thorpe, chartered certified accountant, continues to head our accounts department, ably assisted by Moe Clarke. Again, they are familiar to our management clients. All three of them have been instrumental in setting up our new IT systems for property management and rent accounting.
Ciaran Dwyer joined us in August from another local property agent, whilst chartered surveyor Andrew Aspinall ended nineteen years with Co-operative Group Ltd (Property), dealing with a vast range of asset management and property development nationwide. Finally, Lydia Sirovica, who was Oakwood’s first employee more than two years ago, has been appointed Associate and works across all sectors of the business with a great commercial attitude.
If the Oakwood team can assist you in any way with your property consultancy requirements, please give us a call on 0161 941 4228. Email: email@example.com or visit our website www.oakwoodvaluations.co.uk. We’re always happy to chat property without obligation.
Graham Bowcock MRICS MRAC
Managing Director, Oakwood Valuation Surveyors Ltd
Chartered Surveyor – Registered Valuer