At the turn of the millennium, second home buyers seemed to arrive in Cornwall in ever increasing numbers. This was fuelled by a ‘bull’ stock market, and the City bonuses that soon found their way down in to the far south west prime-coastal property market. This second home boom continued largely for a decade, or until the effects of the financial crisis were felt in Cornwall between 2007 and 2010
Over the last 25 years working as an agent, I have learned that the prime property market is a finely balanced thing. There may not be hundreds of buyers around for those unique creekside cottages and country estates, but it must be remembered that neither are there (ever) hundreds of such properties available for sale, or even in existence in a given location. So, when sentiment turns, and there is even the slightest uptick in the numbers of likely buyers, this same limited supply can causes sale prices to jump quite quickly, and in large chunks.
Photography has always been one of the most important elements necessary for a successful sale, but in recent years this fact has become much more widely appreciated across the real estate industry.
Over the last 25 years, I have learned a few of the golden rules of property photography and thought I’d share them here.
It is often recorded that nothing is worse for a market than uncertainty. This applies to stock markets, commodity markets, and equally property markets. There are many other examples of this. The uncertainty surrounding a potential new wind turbine will never be as bad (for values) as the reality once the turbine has been constructed and operational. Indeed there has been much evidence of this in Cornwall in recent years.
There are of course many taxes which many people generally feel are unfair. Inheritance Tax is probably the prime example. After all why should our death be taxed, when we have paid income tax all our lives?Another tax which seems wrong is the Stamp Duty Land Tax, or SDLT. At its most simplest, it’s a tax on moving home.
One of the greatest investors of all time, Warren Buffet famously said, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful”. Another, Sir John Templeton said “Buy value, not market trends or the economic outlook”.
However, the UK housing market does seem to exhibit the ‘herd mentality’. People want to buy when they see other people trying to buy the same house, even if that means it will potentially cost them much more.
Help-to-Buy was introduced in 2013 by then Chancellor George Osborne. It was aimed at helping first and second time buyers get on the 'housing ladder', and also to help the UK construction industry following the financial crisis (which of course was also caused by the collapse in another property market across the pond!).
Every so often in Cornwall, second home owners are portrayed as Dr.Evil. But is it really as simple as this? After all, many second home owners were born and brought up in Cornwall, but forced to leave the county to go to university and/or to find work. Having worked hard and been successful, although their work prevents them from moving back to Cornwall full-time, they find themselves in a position to be able to afford a (second) home in the place of birth, so that their children can also know Cornwall and spend some time growing up here. Is that really criminal?
For at least a decade now, we have heard much from government and house-builders about the shortage of housing. But is there really a shortage of housing? Certainly there is a shortage of housing that is actually affordable to most first time (and second/third/fourth time) buyers, but that is surely a different matter.