An introduction to a biannual magazine has the capacity to date rather quickly, although it seems remiss not to make reference to the Indian summer that has characterised autumn, and which has provided a much welcome boost to the attitudes and well-being of our clients, purchasers and colleagues alike.
Having seen the traditionally seasonal house selling pattern thrown into chaos by the volatile economic conditions of recent years, 2023 has seen a gradual return to a more traditional cycle that those experienced heads within the David Burr Group have become accustomed to over the years.
With inflation and interest rates finding a level of stability not seen since early 2022, we have enjoyed a far more productive period with a greater volume of sales reaching exchange of contracts and subsequent completion.
Volatile interest rates create uncertainty amongst buyers that provides little reassurance within a conveyancing system that offers precious little certainty until the point that contracts have been exchanged. While unquestionably a welcome adjustment in sentiment, there is no doubt that a period of high inflation has negatively impacted the spending habits of our purchasers.
Given the complexities of the market, the value that an experienced estate agent can bring has never been more important, not only during the process of marketing and negotiating the optimum sale price, but also in getting ahead of, and avoiding, the many hurdles and delays that can beset the conveyancing process.
The increase in the available level of supply to the market caused by the higher proportion of chains across our portfolio has been tempered by a gradual fall in mortgage interest rates, keeping those considering a move engaged with the ebbs and flows of the regional housing market.
As we have learned over many years, remaining calm under pressure while rationally appraising the available options for our clients, based on both current and projected market trends, allows us to offer balanced advice.
This is based not only on our personal and collective experience, but also the wealth of data that the increasing relevant property technology allows us to access.
It is always important to assess our local housing market against the wider context of the global financial markets in light of on-going world events and both the national and international political landscape. A significant contributing factor to the rise in inflation has undoubtedly been the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the pressure this has put on both energy and food sectors, amongst others.
With fresh conflict in the middle east, the markets look set to be put under further pressure although the banking systems appear well-placed to introduce appropriate measures to mitigate. With an election year looming, much remains to be seen about the promises yet to be made by the leading political parties but if history is anything to go by, housing has been the recipient of a range of stimulus measures, with incentives for first time buyers or mortgage assistance particularly hot topics and ones to watch as the year unfolds.
Typically, a less robust sales market coincides with a more buoyant lettings market, and 2023 has been no exception. A government white paper relating to minimum standards of energy efficiency ratings has seen the protracted departure of a proportion of landlords, coinciding with a period of higher interest rates calling into question, for many, the merits of continuing to invest in the private rental sector.
The increasingly onerous regulation and legislation within the lettings sector is seeing a greater proportion of our clients than ever before opt for our fully managed service, while we remain on hand to offer a variety of options for those looking to manage their lettings themselves.
Our ethos of promoting from within has continued with Lewis Wingate announced as director of our Bury St Edmunds office. Lewis is the latest of our directors that have progressed from a sales negotiator role all the way through to director level and we urge any ambitious, capable individuals with a desire to work within a dynamic, forward-thinking company within the property sector to get in touch.
The warmer weather continuing through autumn has seen a consistently strong level of occupancy across our holiday let portfolio, with demand ranging from those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life to
those looking to enjoy some precious time with family in the local area and take advantage of the exceptional countryside and breadth of facilities that continue to flourish throughout East Anglia.
Demand and interest across Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire has seen renewed attention from Londoners seeking a more balanced way of life. Colleagues in The London Office have been taking trips out to visit properties in East Anglia and speaking with existing clients to highlight the benefits that our presence in central London offers.
Our charity raising efforts on behalf of St Nicholas Hospice continue with a successful sub-four-hour London Marathon achieved by Steven Ray despite the many protestations that his fastest days are behind him. Nick Mills and Jack Thornley completed the Stour Valley Path 100km Ultra Marathon on a beautiful sunny day in mid-August, supported en route by friends, colleagues and family.
We are grateful for each and every donation that has been kindly offered and for those that would like to support this fantastic charity, please visit tinyurl.com/3hm5xmax to aid our fundraising efforts in celebration of the life of our friend and founder, David Burr.