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Despite the various challenges faced by the property industry in 2016 – Brexit, stamp duty changes and tighter lending criteria chief among them – the number of transactions that took place was the highest figure recorded since 2007 (just before the global financial crisis took hold).
According to the latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), there were 1.23 million property transactions last year, higher than the 1.22 million witnessed in 2015 and considerably higher than the 2009 low of 847,540, when the country was in the midst of an economic downturn.
The performance of the market in 2016 once again showed how resilient and robust it can be, batting away any economic and political uncertainty and the pre and post-referendum jitters to prove the more doom-laden naysayers wrong. Predictions were made about house prices falling off a cliff or a property market crash, but this never came to pass as ‘a business as usual’ approach was taken by the industry.
That said, the increase in transactions in 2016 is partly owing to the introduction of the additional 3% stamp duty surcharge on second homes in April, which led to a surge of landlords and investors seeking to buy up property before the deadline hit. In March, the month before the extra tax was implemented, HMRC said that transactions motored to nearly 175,000 as landlords, estate agents and solicitors carried out a last-minute rush on property deals.
In December, 97,250 residential transactions took place, up by 0.2% on November, as the year ended in a steady, solid fashion.
The fact that the levels of properties sold in 2016 was higher than both 2015 and 2014 shows that consumer faith in bricks and mortar has stayed consistent, despite external pressures and uncertainty. People still see homes and property as a safe bet, a solid investment choice.
High volumes of transactions are, of course, good news for estate agents up and down the country. The more homes being sold, the busier agents become. The busier you are, the more important it becomes to manage your workload effectively. That’s what Gnomen offers, the tools with which to run every part of your business seamlessly, no matter where you are in the world.
We operate a cloud-based system that allows you to manage your staff, office, customers and multi-channel marketing all in one place, using the latest software to elevate you above the competition.
In a busy and crowded marketplace, where sellers are selling more homes and more transactions are taking place, your website also becomes more important than ever. You need a strong and accessible online presence to compete in today’s world, with a website that draws sellers in and a user journey that offers them plenty of benefits.
Clients need to be kept happy, engaged and informed as much as possible, to regularly reassure them that the sales process is going as planned. A tailored log-in area, allowing vendors to track viewings, view offers and track the progress of a sale, is one possible way of doing this. What’s more, social media is an excellent way of providing instant, direct communications, providing updates and responding to queries where appropriate.
To make all this possible, you need a website that looks beautiful and works beautifully – equally so on mobile, tablet and desktop. It needs to be fast, interactive and user-friendly, giving visitors no reason to head elsewhere.
While 2017 is expected to bring with it fresh challenges – for example the triggering of Article 50 (and the political and economic uncertainty this is likely to cause) and the phasing out of mortgage interest tax relief from April - there is no suggestion that the property industry will wilt or suffer as a result. Property transactions are expected to be at a similar level, or higher, in the year ahead, so agents should once again be kept very busy.
To ensure that you keep on top of your hectic diary and provide services that work in perfect harmony, contact Gnomen for more information on 0208 123 9019.
You can also book a free demo to get a better idea of what we offer.
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