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May 2016

imagesGRWYOIM3 If you read the papers on a regular basis you can’t have failed to notice some strident headlines recently, claiming the UK property market is on the brink of another crash. It’s certainly true that the Halifax’s latest index showed a slight drop in the value of homes sold in April – the first time we’ve seen a fall in house prices for quite some time. However, the almost hysterical reaction by some parts of the media is a little puzzling. First of all, let’s remember many of the same publications have commented frequently enough about high prices making it much harder for first-time buyers to get a foot on the bottom rung of the property ladder. It’s been suggested numerous times that, if prices don’t stabilise soon, then the dream of home ownership will be out of reach to all but the very wealthy. The promise of more “affordable” properties has been one thing all the political parties also seemed willing to offer in the run-up to and the aftermath of the last General Election and was reported widely at the time.

untitled Someone asked the other day, if online estate agents are the future, why don’t they have a bigger slice of the property market? And, to be honest, although it’s a good question, it’s actually quite tricky to answer without sounding peevish or paranoid. First of all, we’d point out Rome wasn’t built in a day. As BBC business “Dragon” Deborah Meaden once said, any company with its sights set on a national reputation is probably going to struggle unless they have £3,000 a month to spend on marketing as a bare minimum - and it takes time to establish that sort of financial clout without a big-name backer. More importantly though, few start-ups in any market other than estate agency would find elements of the media quite so closed to them quite so frequently. Let us explain…