3 in 10 Northampton Homeowners Unable to Sell
Updated: Aug 4, 2022
The average time to find a buyer for a Northampton property reduced from 55 days in 2020 to 40 days in 2021.
Yet still, just under 3 in 10 Northampton homeowners are on the market after 12 weeks.
Why are so many Northampton homes still on the market after all that time, and what does it mean for the Northampton property market?
You would have needed to have been living in a cave since the end of Lockdown No.1, not to realise the property market has been on fire in Northampton (and the UK as a whole) for the last 18/20 months.
It has been very much a seller’s market, especially in 2021. Yet as we enter the second quarter of 2022, I have noticed a slight rebalancing of the Northampton property market, more towards buyers, something that is good news for everyone (sellers and buyers) locally.
In 2020, it took on average 55 days from the average Northampton property appearing on the property portals (i.e. Rightmove, Zoopla etc) to the property going sold (STC).
Interesting when compared to the national average of 72 days in 2020. Yet, last year, this was reduced to 40 days in Northampton (51 days nationally).
So, what's the issue with the Northampton property market being on fire?
Well, that was last year, and things have changed slightly since.
Of the properties for sale in Northampton, 29.3% of houses have been on the market for more than 12 weeks.
That doesn't sound a lot, yet that is an eternity in this market!
So, why are there so many properties on the market in Northampton still for sale after all this time … it usually comes down to one thing … the practice of 'overvaluing'.
So before I explain what overvaluing is, let me give you some background.
Many agents (not just ourselves), in 2021, were achieving top prices for Northampton property with multiple offers becoming the standard. The property they were selling was only available to buy for days before the owner obtained multiple offers that were not only at a satisfactory level, yet more than they ever dreamed likely.
Although this was great news for Northampton homeowners, this caused fewer homes to come onto the market in the last six months in Northampton, as people were afraid to put their home on the market without having a property to buy.
With fewer properties coming onto the market, some estate agents have become more and more desperate to get a larger slice of this smaller property market. It has seen an unwelcome side of the estate agency profession, the estate agency practice of ‘overvaluing’.
While ‘overvaluing’ is nothing new, the custom has been generally limited to a small number of estate agents. Yet now, it's become more prevalent and creates uncountable distress and pressure for some Northampton homeowners.
Many Northampton homeowners want to sell quickly to get the property of their dreams. Yet, in many cases, when they do put their property on to the market, they don’t sell quickly enough because of this ‘overvaluing’ (even with the fantastic current property market conditions).
To give you an idea of the issue…
56% of Northampton homes put on the market
in the last 30 days have not sold.
There are hundreds of Northampton families having their dreams dashed by 'overvaluing.'
Therefore, let me look at exactly what overvaluing is, why it’s on the rise and most importantly, the harm overvaluing causes to homeowners like yourself.
You would think the most important thing in estate agency is all about finding the best buyer for your home, at the best price, who can make the move with the least amount of hassle.
To us it is, and to many other Northampton estate agents, it is as well. Yet, to some agents, sales aren’t the essential objective. Instead, it is having a vigorous catalogue of properties to sell to generate more future leads.
Deprived of an endless number of new properties for sale, the enquiries estate agents receive will significantly drop, leaving them high and dry without any buyer (or seller) leads, the lifeblood of estate agents.
Therefore, some (not all), but some estate agents will feed on a homeowner’s appetite to get the highest possible price for their Northampton home by giving them an over-inflated suggested asking price to market their property at (i.e. ‘overvaluing’).
If one estate agent can get you an extra £30,000 for your Northampton home, you will take it, won’t you?
The suggestion of pushing the asking price of your Northampton home for 10%, 15% even 20% could be seen by many as a temptation too good to miss. Yet once you are on the market, the agent is trained to slowly get you to reduce your asking price over a lengthy sole agency agreement.
The problem is that the home of your dreams might have sold by the time you reduced your price in 3 months. Also, Which reports in 2017 and 2019 proved you ended up getting less for your home when it did eventually sell (which means you lose money) and finally, the agents know homeowners perceive it’s a hassle to swap agents (which it isn’t).
But estate agents only get paid when they sell the house; why do they overvalue?
Would it surprise you that some Estate Agency chains pay their staff a commission when they put the property on to the market, not when it sells? So, their team overinflate their suggested asking prices to get that commission.
Over the last 18 months, with the rising property market, there has undoubtedly been a valid reason for pushing the envelope on the asking price. Yet, if every house like yours is on the market or sold subject to contract at £300,000 to £320,000, yours isn’t going to achieve £355,000, let alone £375,000 – even in this market.
With 56% of Northampton homes still for sale after a month, the market is starting to level out and if you are keen to sell, then let me give you some advice.
Research has shown that if the asking price is initially set too high, it will be ignored by people surfing Rightmove and Zoopla.
(Come on, be honest – you have done that yourself haven’t you?)
When the property is eventually reduced because it has the stigma of being on the property market too long (begging the question of potential buyers that there may be a problem with the property itself hence no interest?), often when it does eventually sell, it will sell for less than what it would have done if it were priced correctly from day one (as per the two reports from Which in 2017 and 2019).
Of course, on the other hand, setting the asking price below its market value means potentially leaving money on the table needlessly – hence the need for a good agent.
Putting your Northampton home or buy-to-let investment up for sale at the right price from the beginning is the key to selling within the best time frame and for the best price to a serious and motivated buyer.
Ask a handful of estate agents to value your home, ask them to back up any valuation of your Northampton home with cold hard comparables of similar properties to yours.
Find your comparables by searching ALL the property portals (i.e. Rightmove, Zoopla, Boomin, OnTheMarket).
If you only take away one thing from this article, when you search the portals for comparables, make sure you include under offer/sold STC properties, as that will triple the comparable evidence.
Thus, by doing your homework and then working with a dependable, trustworthy and experienced Northampton estate agent, who will help to ensure that your Northampton property is put on the market to get you, the homeowner, the best price from day one without over cooking it (so you don’t lose out), you will be just fine.
These are my thoughts, let me know if you have any yourself.