It is time to re-balance the price-anomalies in housing

It is time to re-balance the price-anomalies in housing by letting the buyer become more fully aware.

Housing markets, certainly in all areas across the U.K., have been akin to living a nightmare from any buyers perspective for decades now. As a property valuer, having worked from the seventies in property, I am free to comment with no axe to grind, in particular concerning the ever increasing gap between buying power and asking prices.

Most of those whom I chat with are of the same opinion which is that the general lack of affordability is unacceptable. The notion of trying to bridge the gap by increasing borrowing ability is a non-solution. Instead house prices, especially for those starting off with their first homes, are required to become lower so that transactions may be concluded by more people requiring housing. The question of course is how may this be achieved in practice?

In brief, it may seem a clever idea to build more houses to try and satisfy more of the present demand but doing so will only have an affect on buy-prices once very many houses and flats have been constructed. Essentially therefore, using this method simply isn’t going to have much impact on house prices for a good while. House builders themselves would, of course, have been well aware of this when first suggesting it but it does not have to be this way.

The best way to lower house prices sufficiently would be to make the actual process of finding and purchasing a new home to live in, much easier. Doing that is absolutely critical. I say that because that is the elephant in the room when it comes to finding the way to make housing markets more price-efficient at long last. The present arrangements are old and frankly Dickensian in terms of their methodologies and it is that issue which needs to be fully addressed.

The modern way to cure the present house price anomalies would be to have a completely new breed of agent fully and exclusively representing the buyer instead of representing sellers. Prices struck in the market under such a new scheme would be entirely dependent on buyers’ purchasing ability rather than buyers + lenders ability as at present.

For more details of this exciting departure from the old regimes and a way of bringing new life to a moribund marketplace, go to our article entitled:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution How house price stability may be achieved.

It is a full explanation of how to correct the present economic imbalances within the housing market and it provides reasoned explanations.

Copyright © Peter W Hendry in Cornwall. All rights reserved.

 

For arguments in support of these proposals please refer to:

Recent article in The Economist.

Recent article in The Economist.

Will house prices ever stop rising faster than inflation?

I have worked as Chartered Surveyor in the property sector from the 70s to the 90’s. During this time I have seen the relentless upwards direction of travel of house prices as related to true affordability, based on general earnings at first hand.

The golden dream of becoming a home owner by purchasing using mortgage borrowing repayable over the next 25 years, was something that was every young family’s ultimate ambition. This has morphed into a nightmare more recently. Why?

First of all, landowners have increasingly scooped-up increasing gains on the value of the land involved – by relying on the increased amounts to be borrowed by both first-time buyers and others further up the property chains.

Secondly, the banking and finance sectors have hijacked most of the profit remaining to be found and taken the biggest slice of it for themselves. In other words those institutions lending capital on mortgages have annexed a greater and greater share of the profits by advancing increasingly large amounts of finance. More recently, they are even prepared to increase the mortgage term length beyond the original 25 year repayment period, moving towards 30 years or more which is questionable.

Simultaneously, interest rates, which have dropped to extremely low levels at the moment are enabling buyers to over extend themselves using loans they should not actually be taking out.

The super-rich, on the other hand, are able to utilise the same unrestricted availability of mortgage finance to outbid the rest using the collateral they already possess.

Shared ownership schemes (part rent part buy) have begun to appear which further decrease the actual dream of owning a whole building and the plot it is built on, in one’s lifetime.

House prices are being talked-up increasingly by estate agents whose primary interest above all else is to make the sale at the best price possible.

Employment is becoming more uncertain with flexible working hours making earnings unpredictable.

The actual cost of living is going up whilst basic wages are not keeping pace.

The housing market’s core buy-prices are further adjusting to match the above changing parameters. This has tended to happen in the past but the graph is exponential and it is set to continue in the relatively near future because house prices themselves are set in a practically unregulated market. In such a heady market those who will have over extended themselves will, as a result, suddenly find they have a big financial problem.

The more wary amongst all the potential first-time buyers, are understandably holding back.
Apart from being wary, the main reason for this is that asking price levels of ‘so-called’ affordable housing today, are no longer truly affordable.

The only solution to this pernicious problem:- is to lower the buy-in prices of housing for all owner occupation.

How? That is the question?

The answer, as provided by those in the financial sector, is to offer to build more houses to increase the supply so that prices will finally and in theory reduce!

The main flaw in this argument is that it will take many years worth of building new housing (certainly if traditionally constructed), before sufficient numbers of them could push the prices down a little. In the meantime, builders, landowners and mortgage lenders would expect be able to carry on making their profits unhindered!
By the time the massive building boom will have begun to have had an effect, they will have made all the profits they were hoping to make for themselves.

The other, more appropriate answer would be to make the necessary changes to the way houses are bought, sold and let. Doing this now, alongside building more housing units, is the ultimate and best way to restore the housing economy into good health once again.

To find out how such a significant market improvement could be achieved, please go to:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution: Full details of our proposals for properly reforming all housing markets in England and Wales.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution
Copyright © 2020.

A new and dynamic Buyer-Orientated marketplace in housing

What this country requires for solving its housing crisis is, most of all, a new and dynamic Buyer-Orientated marketplace, where buyers can straightforwardly find and secure the most suitable houses for themselves, whenever this is necessary.

The objective is to create a housing market where prices also find their market levels depending upon the information supporting those prices. This should primarily come from within the housing location involved and would require this information to be genuine and accurate. If a true balance between buyer wealth and seller aspiration could be accomplished in this way, all local housing markets could start trading more smoothly and more effectively than has happened since the end of the war, i.e. since 1945. The rationale for this is more extensively laid out on this web site under The House Price Virtuoso Solution.

This is the broad picture, which I am painting in outline here. The proposed new service would transform the existing experience of those trying to move house from that of experiencing the difficulties of a moribund housing market (the situation at present), into a certainty-orientated market, with plenty of buying opportunity and more choice.

Bringing such opportunities forward would transform home ownership and allow it to become more popular than ever before and be a way to enjoy added financial security as well as providing houses for individuals and families to live in.

To provide an example of why this change is so vital I would single out one scheme that was certainly intended to bring more buyers into the housing marketplace: Help To Buy. Whilst the name of the scheme ‘Help To Buy’ attempted to describe what it intended to do, it wasn’t long before it was rather more poignantly re-labelled by many users ‘Help To Sell’ because that is actually what it was doing. It was really functioning to do precisely that, at prices which were being set primarily by the big house builders.

We now hear that ‘Help To Buy’, which is already restricted to use by first-time buyers only, will soon be further restricted to be for loans only for new houses from 2021.
It will also have regional price caps, designed to try and reduce the maximum value of homes that can be bought through the HTB Equity Loan Scheme! This is clear proof that the scheme never fulfilled the purpose for which it was initially designed and therefore, has massively underperformed.
Help To Buy is due to be withdrawn completely by the government by 2023 but the question remains, what should be its replacement?

The path to be taken for adequately dealing with the present housing crisis is not clearly evident. At present there is no known or obvious path to be taken. Nevertheless logical deduction from an economic viewpoint unquestionably does now point towards one.

It is a path able to show the how and the why. How, exactly, it could be achieved is at:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution How house price stability may be achieved.

It is a full explanation of how to correct the present economic imbalances within the housing market and it provides reasoned explanations.

Now for the why:
Various changes to the operation of the markets are certainly required and what these changes are, becomes self-evident when the effects of the present distortions are better understood, using the analysis presented.

The most significant change involves the role of those within estate agency and as a significant number of players involved in this sector are qualified surveyors, I am drawing this to the attention of RICS. My web site gives the detail necessary to provide a clear overview of the problems needing to be dealt with together with their solutions.

Changes of this nature will always need to go hand-in-hand with the courage to actually put them into effect and, if both of these attributes are combined, amazing results can be derived.

At present new housing supply, even with a favourable wind behind it and with maximum impetus from the government, is only growing by a few thousand new houses per year.

Relying on this rate of growth in supply alone, would only bring a tiny net gain as a percentage of the overall number of houses built.
The effect on market prices of such a tiny net gain can, therefore, only be minuscule. Confirmation of this truism is plain for all to see – especially for valuers noting the continuing increase in house prices despite everything done to try and slow this. There has to be another way forward.

In essence, the way of progression which I am pointing out here, is to deal with the current oversupply of ‘borrowings’ which result, directly, in house prices becoming UNaffordable for those unable to access such mortgage finance themselves.
The effect of denying specifically new buyers from gaining reasonably affordable access to the the housing market in this way must, ultimately, cause market stagnation – something that no-one would happily encourage. Unfortunately though, many of us are already seeing this is beginning to happen.

In other words, without first time buyers buying at sustainable prices to them, the whole market for houses will eventually start becoming tentative, sluggish and may even stagnate – something which buyers are, worryingly, now seeing of course.

For years we have heard the finance industry telling us that we need to borrow more and/or that more finance is available to do this, especially for all house purchases.
What they haven’t been so keen to explain, is that more borrowing results in higher house prices. This is the dilemma which is causing new houses to become UNaffordable and that will, of course, proportionately affect first-time buyers much more than anyone else.

To resolve this dilemma would involve convincing ‘the main financial institution’, as the Big Muscle in the economy, to change tack and go along with the proposed new trajectory of travel which I am placing before you here. The arguments in favour of doing so now far outweigh those in favour of maintaining the status quo.

Please read as many of my supporting explanations as you would like to on this web site. They give viewpoints from various different positions, culminating in the thought-out new proposals set out in ‘The House Price Virtuoso Solution’.

Anyone can raise questions or make comments on the site itself if they should wish. I intend to try and respond to all such questions and comments with suitable replies to the best of my ability.

My aim in presenting these ideas now is to ignite interest in changing, for the better, housing markets in all locations, i.e. the individual ones which function locally across England and Wales. By providing a way for them to operate more efficiently, the improvements achieved would then filter across the whole country and all housing markets would start to function more dynamically and as a single entity.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution
Copyright © 2019.

Intro to: The House Price Virtuoso Solution – the key to fairer house prices

The Independent newspaper recently published in its online version the headline:
More than 8 million people in England are living in unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable homes, the report says.
If accurate, this predicament is unacceptable and in urgent need of remedying.

There have been many claims of similar housing crises over the past decade in the media. These claims suggest that all is very far from well in the housing sector. The adage goes, there’s no smoke without fire!

This is why over the decades past and as I’m a now retired valuation surveyor, I have views on the reasons for these failings, particularly as they adversely affect poorer communities.

Because of this I’ve devised a new and better way to deal with the currently unaffordable level of house prices and other housing issues because purchase prices currently being claimed as being ‘affordable’ are clearly not really affordable at all.

Once you take a look into this, it should become crystal clear that it is the poorer buyers whom are propping up house prices for the rest of the home owners.

Why is this so? Because it is they who must borrow the humongous sums of money, by mortgaging the very properties which they need to live in (at extreme levels of borrowing), so that the present very high prices prevailing in a so-called open marketplace may be maintained. Who effectively gains the most from this?

It is primarily those fortunate enough to already have substantial property assets who enjoy a healthy and almost guaranteed rise in the capital values of their relatively extensive holdings. Secondly it is the banks and financial organisations which gain from earning interest on the substantial loans they arrange. The profits all depend on the ability for both sides of this equation to be able to recoup large financial rewards each time these assets sell, without having to do much to earn such profitable gains.

Borrowers today by comparison, have increasing job insecurity issues, especially borrowers on the lower rungs of the property ladder who have to commit to high mortgages by taking on burdensome, risky and long-term borrowings. These families and individuals are the ones who need relief, by way of a lessening of their large and onerous borrowing commitments.

It is time the whole screwed-up house-selling regime being played out by the historic role of estate agency is re-balanced, such that those wishing to make money from owning property are seen as causing the excessive un-affordability issues experienced by an increasing number of aspiring but poorer home owners in this country.
Is there a political party in the land that might contemplate such a re-think? It seems the jury is still out on that one!

Those needing housing require an efficient and fully functional housing marketplace for people wishing to move house so as to reasonably afford to buy, or alternatively rent, their next housing accommodation.

Judging by the slowdown of sales transactions shown in the recent sales completion statistics earlier in the year, efficient services such as these are simply not available at present.

For anyone interested in the best and only way to correct this unacceptable shortcoming, please read / study the proposals I am tabling within: The House Price Virtuoso Solution.
The specific page covering The House Price Virtuoso Solution is at:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution

The background leading to this logically deduced conclusion is available on the whole web site:

Home Page – improvethehousingmarket.co.uk

I would be happy to engage in online discussions about the technicalities and/or the necessary strategies needed in order to reach the conclusions set out. How, precisely, local housing markets within the whole of England and Wales may be improved for the benefit of owner-occupiers, private tenants, and everyone using all forms of housing right across our Country is fully set out there.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution
Copyright © 2019.

How best to provide rented social housing accommodation for those currently needing it

Instead of building more rented social housing in high concentrations on housing estates we should build these as integral parts of all the new-build communities that we construct.

Those renting socially-provided housing would then be seen as a part of society and could be taken into the bosom of that society.

If the Country actually does need as much as 100,000 extra houses per year for the social rental sector, as has recently been claimed, it would be essential, both from a planning viewpoint and a society one, that those whom are dwelling in them should be located within our communities and not sectioned off as if to be marginalised on separate and distinct estates as occurred in post-war Britain. Otherwise, doing that would tend to attract what is bad about those requiring such help instead of helping them to be fully fledged members of a truly modern society.

The cost of integrating this social rental sector in the next new housing estates to be constructed would, most likely, be less in financial terms than if building complete estates of social housing, as used to happen.

However, the key thing should be to manage the social housing part separately from the present arrangements for private landlords, who let property to those wishing to rent privately.
Unlike privately rented housing, rent-levels for social housing should be set and collected by councils and/or housing associations and not by private landlords.
It ought to be expected that rent-levels set by social housing associations should, over time, influence the rent-levels being set in the private sector and this would be another advantage to having such properties spread out within the whole of the housing provision, across Britain.

More private investment in supplying housing accommodation to rent must be encouraged and so ‘Right to Buy’ options for all these tenants would be unsuitable because the housing market now depends upon the supply of this form of housing if sufficient accommodation is to be provided for residential tenants requiring accommodation for themselves and their families.

It is likely that if the ‘Right to Buy’ strategy was applied to these, large swaths of privately rented housing (if not sold to tenants), would simply be withdrawn by the owners and disappear overnight. This would leave a serious supply shortage for those currently unable to buy houses outright or to qualify for social housing.

I would argue that anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t fully understand the complexities of the housing marketplace operating in Britain today. Whilst I can see why an argument in favour of this could be made, I would be happy to debate this to see which proposal is best. What is required instead is a way to re-evaluate house prices such that actual affordability is properly taken into account. There is only one way in which that could be achieved.

For full information about what it is that I am advocating ought to be done instead, please see:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution
Copyright © 2019.

The best way to improve the Housing Markets in England and Wales.

Resolving rental and buy price problems right across England and Wales

As far as building an estimated 100,000 or more new houses each year for social housing to rent is concerned, there are perceivable downsides to throwing money into this. This is a laudable policy of The Labour Party currently but for the reasons I am about to argue, it would be a difficult one to put into practical effect quickly. I would naturally welcome their spokesperson’s thoughts on this counterargument for further discussion however.

In the Thatcher era, it was generally understood that the existing council estates around Britain were tending to degenerate towards becoming urban ghettos or concentrations with poorer class-distinctions and lesser prospects and opportunities being available to those from within them.

In the 70’s the then Conservative government, as well as simply selling off individual council houses to newly aspiring home-owner residents (by using ‘Right To Buy’ as it became known), knew that the twin effect would be to slowly start to break up the localised concentration of social housing for rent.

It may now clearly be seen that to have allowed the capital raised from these sales to be used to build more council estates would simply have recreated the original societal problem once again.
A more creative solution would be needed and whilst no such solution was forthcoming at the time, it was understandably more prudent simply to sit on the cash raised instead.

The question was (and still is) if upwards of 100,000 new houses were to be needed for social rent all around Britain each year and for a decade or more to come, how could that be achieved without creating places tending towards becoming urban ghettos once again?

The only answer surfacing right now is to turn the problem of housing these families over to more private landlords.

In the process of bringing private investors into the business of managing both single and multiple tenancies in locations across the whole country, it soon became clear that this could only be achieved if the tenants under this model were given practically no security of tenure. Without that, the private landlords simply would not invest. The Assured Shorthold Tenancy was conceived.

The result has been quite a success from the point of view of actually housing lots of people and families in large numbers of locations across the whole country.
It is also clear that the reduction in concentrations of people living in social housing estates has had a number of advantages and the mix of council and privately owned houses brings a worthwhile added variation.

The question still remains however – what is the best forward?

Attempts have been made to force the developers of new housing estates to incorporate a proportion of low cost housing within all new developments but this has not turned out to be a great success but the provision rate of such affordable houses has dwindled recently.

If we look at the available evidence critically, some exciting new options start becoming clear.
First though, we need to rule out the options that won’t work. For example:

  1. As explained above, building more large scale social housing estates would not solve the societal problems resulting from doing that.
  2. Giving tenants of the private landlords more security of tenure, would alienate the private investors whom are risking their capital by providing housing for those people in their need.
  3. Rents over the past decade or so have increased beyond expected levels, partly owing to the degree of scarcity of available houses to rent.

So, what we are left with is there’s one thing and only one thing to be done.

It is restricting the degree of profit which may be made by private landlords and when seriously considered, this must be the best way forward. To do this effectively however would require a big, bold and extensive new set of policies and agency regulations to be set up by a truly responsible government.

To a smaller extent this may be partly achieved by forcing landlords to properly maintain the structure of their let properties in fully satisfactory condition. This is already now happening but that is not the final answer..

The main way of restricting the degree of profit which may be made, both by private landlords and by owner occupiers too, would be to bring in such new regulatory methods for the marketing, purchasing and renting of residential property using the procedures proposed under The House Price Virtuoso Solution already set out elsewhere in these pages.

For all the details about what this is and how it could inexpensively be fully and quickly implemented throughout England and Wales, please go to the main page covering this:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution
Copyright © 2019.

House-price affordability is absent in UK, except for the wealthy minority

House-price affordability is absent nowadays except for the wealthy minority, unless huge mortgage loans are taken out by everyone else needing to borrow to buy.
This cannot be right or proper.

This problem is running out of control in all regions of Britain. It’s called the un-affordability problem. It affects probably more than half of the house-buying population!

Why is it that those in regular employment on average earnings simply cannot afford adequate housing, whether to rent whilst saving or to buy?

The newspapers have been covering this serious dilemma for many moons now yet the plight of the lack of affordability remains with us.

Is it because those whom have ascended several rungs of the property ladder themselves are the ones making the policy for affordable housing? It does seem that there is a certain credibility to this accusation.

It seems that those in the position of making the big decisions on what to do about this problem have seen that they themselves are benefiting from long term capital value appreciation and low interest rates and so it’s all too easy to let things stay as they are. This is like pulling up the drawbridge and leaving those left outside the castle to be forced to fend for themselves. It leaves those without the ability to save enough to buy even a basic house for themselves, out in the cold.

Not doing much to address this problem is demonstrably not good enough. It is clear from all the statistics which loudly speak for themselves.
Not dealing with the house affordability issue is leaving those without enough capital practically defenceless.

Unless somebody ‘up the ladder’ so to speak, flags this problem in a stark and prominent way, the drawbridge mongers are going to get a way with their shoddy tactics.

Having spent my whole career in housing and property related matters I have crafted, using my valuable experience, the primary solution to this dilemma and published it online.

Policymakers have been writing in the press. They have had innumerable meetings.
Policymakers have been on television but the house-price problem continues.

The answers are not in reducing interest rates, nor in mass producing hundreds and thousands of more un-affordable houses. it’s not by providing 50% shared-ownership schemes, it’s not indeed by advancing near 100% mortgages, extending the repayment period beyond 25 years, reducing stamp duty or, indeed, offering extra help to first-time buyers to be able to borrow enough to bridge the gap in their finances.

The one common denominator to all these clearly failed policies is that they do not resolve un-affordability vis-à-vis the house-price crisis. House prices themselves have stayed un-affordable to most middle incomers and especially to first time buyers.
Let’s hope soon there is a meeting of minds on how this vital issue may at last be resolved. It must be resolved for the sake of the post-brexit evolution of our economy across the whole country.

There is a positive and pragmatic way to deal with this crisis.

For more information about what it is that I am advocating must be done, please see:

The House Price Virtuoso Solution.

Recent Links:
The bank of mum and dad is one of UK’s biggest mortgage lenders
L&G’s research, based on a poll of 1,600 parents
The BBC

A million more youngsters to live with parents, says Aviva
By Brian Milligan
Personal Finance reporter
The BBC

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution
Copyright © 2019.

Latest government funded research into the crisis within the housing markets across England and Wales

Here’s news (published in February 2018) on the then recent government funded research into the crisis existing within the housing markets across England and Wales.

An awful lot remains to be done to assist those wanting (and needing) to start buying their first houses or flats and thus later to be able to move to better accommodation as and when, and wherever they may require.

The Economic and Social Research Council have funded the recent research on the decline of homeownership among young adults through the Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (grant number ES/N011872/1) and the Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at the IFS (grant number ES/M010147/1).

The online link to the IFS research is:
https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/bns/BN224.pdf
The decline of homeownership among young adults.

The IFS are so right about the decline in home ownership. It’s a societal loss.

Alongside this I have worked on producing a policy designed to resolve the current problems within all housing markets across England and Wales.

My conclusion is that there is only one certain way to resolve this dilemma. My explanation covering this may be found at the following link.

The House Price Virtuoso Solution.
How to Improve all Housing Markets in England and Wales.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution
Copyright © 2019.

The House Price Virtuoso Solution: devised to resolve the current housing crisis completely

Here is the answer to the ongoing housing crisis. It deals with severe buyers’ problems, directly resulting from the present methods of marketing residential property.

House price rises are being driven by excessively lax bank lending restrictions following QE and are the primary cause of the UK housing markets to overheat price-wise.

Secondly but just as importantly, the way in which properties are traded on the market currently ought to be the subject of urgent improvement and reform by adding a new regulatory framework.

Originally published: 5 December, 2013.
(Last updated by PH: 20th February, 2020).

True market prices can only be determined by supply and demand in a perfect marketplace. The present UK housing market, as a whole, is very far from perfect. The House Price Virtuoso Solution is the best way to finally resolve this failure.

The House Price Virtuoso Solution – otherwise known as The Hendry Solution

In brief it is essentially about engaging one single estate agent to ‘find’ your next house, negotiate the best terms AND sell your present house too! This is a relatively simple but a profoundly important proposal, though nobody else has proposed anything like it before.

By doing that, a much closer degree of relational parity between what you pay and what you get for your existing house could be maintained and also, gazumping should be practically eliminated.

We must change the way we decide house prices from depending on how much each buyer might be able to borrow, to how much they each prefer to afford.
It would be a simple change with profound consequences.

Fact. The definition of affordable homes is currently decided on ‘the market’ but the prices arrived at are not truly affordable to those who require housing in very many specific localities around Britain.

Instead, prices, especially at the entry level, ought to be based on what people on low incomes can afford locally.
So, in each local area we must have housing that is genuinely affordable to those living and working in that area.

It is simply not feasible to try and correct this lack of affordability by constructing huge numbers of new houses in a short timescale. In any case, the price problem itself is a market economics problem first and foremost. The shortage of housing supply is, in fact, a secondary problem and not the primary one needing to be dealt with. In any case, there aren’t the skilled craftsmen currently available to build upwards of 100,000 good quality houses each year for the next 10 years.

Also, the idea that ‘the market’ might correct for the shortage of housing by facilitating the building of more houses as and when prices rose, is not what has actually happened. The market failed to achieve that.

Improved market economics are now required. They are needed to improve the efficiency of the housing market itself.
This could be done quickly and without large government expenditure so, what is not to like about that?

We should now re-organise how house prices themselves are arrived at. This would lower them in areas where local affordability would require this. This can only be done by changing the way agents work, selling and letting housing currently on the market, yet referencing these to affordable prices in each local housing market.

Now is the time to recalibrate local housing markets and put in hand the fix of paramount importance described below.

New construction should only be a secondary remedy, to help to ensure that house prices never again spiral up to the unaffordable levels we are seeing today everywhere in England and Wales. The primary fix is to improve the way houses are bought & sold and rented & let.

The various local housing markets require this improvement and the best way to accomplish this is to legislate for a complete new breed of estate agent (instead of trying to build thousands of new houses in a vain attempt to satisfy a supposed national demand.

For the purposes of this paper let’s call them, “RHAs or Registered Housing Agent(s)”.

The main job of these new agents would be not only to sell (or indeed let out) clients houses but also to ‘find and secure’, for their client, the house which they are seeking for themselves and their families – whether to rent or buy.

How could this be achieved?
RHA or Registered Housing Agent’s Moving Contracts (or MC agreements) should replace the traditional vendors’ selling contracts with buyer contracts.

Similarly, ‘Letting Contracts’ (or LC agreements) would be the instructing instruments for agents advising tenants wishing to move from one rental property to another.
All this would be a relatively simple but a game-changing improvement to the way residential property transactions occur at present.

The proposal is that we should do away with old estate agents’ sole selling contracts altogether and bring in Registered Housing Agents’ ‘MC agreements’, where each RHA or Registered Housing Agent engaged would be contracted to try and facilitate a vendor’s complete move from one property to another.  The aim of this is to bring greater satisfaction to all those in the throes of moving house and to get the whole UK housing market operating far more smoothly – in all possible economic conditions and, it should be said, without the need for government-backed mortgage guarantees for those requiring to get onto the first rung of the housing ladder either.

As a professional valuer (although now retired), I am claiming that this new method would help to stabilise house-prices broadly across all regions, instead of tending to make them rise a lot in some areas but not anything like as much in others. That alone would be a very significant market improvement.

In addition, estate agents would be more empowered by becoming more responsible for ‘the progress’ of sales and lettings of properties across the whole UK and would gain more control of the volume (or throughput) of house sales and lettings completions.

By contrast the earlier government’s plan to increase the availability of mortgage finance, including to people becoming first house owners was clearly not the right approach. As has been seen subsequently, that resulted in higher prices; the very thing that buyers simply do not need or want, then or now.
‘Help To Buy’ government mortgage guarantee schemes have more recently been taken up in substantial numbers. This is resulting in upwards pressure on house prices as more money in the form of long-term loans must have this affect on asking prices.

In some locations, the excessive price levels which we have recently seen, have been generated, in part, by significant corporate purchases of larger residential properties as investments, some financed by business loans. These loans were mainly advanced to private landlords for buying and renting out multiple units and not for owner-occupation. This has been one of the catalysts for the general increase in house prices as well as increases in rent levels.

This issue is in addition to (though caused by) the unregulated way in which current day estate agents negotiate and agree terms of sales with unsuspecting house buyers, whom are generally unaware of the scope of other offers (if indeed there actually are any) claimed to be being made on the object-property around that time.

A certain amount of regulation in the marketplace would go a long way to helping resolve these drawbacks.
With appropriate regulation, Registered Housing Agents could improve themselves in competition with other agents by becoming more efficient and more factual.
They could, for example, correlate from the current data they would have available from all the applicants, the maximum sustainable rents or buy price levels currently feasible and deduce using their training and expertise, exactly what the mean, median, and mode price should be on any specific property to be acquired.

Having selected the best applicant for the property in question, they could then advance the most suitable offer to be made on behalf of each buyer.

If the seller (or landlord) agrees, the offer would then be formally accepted and the whole transaction process (exactly as described here) would commence.
There would be no question of agents ‘tweaking’ buyers’ (or tenants’) offers upwards any more as to do this would contravene their business ethics as well as putting in jeopardy their licensed (or regulated) business registrations.

Here are the three main benefits of using this new marketing solution.
Included below are the most significant advantages which the various different local housing markets around the country could derive benefit from. They could be used to increase sales and lettings throughput right across the whole of the country.

  1. First-time buyers (or renters) of both new and second hand houses, would not have to budget for agency fees when making their house purchases because these buyers/renters would not need to engage a buying agent or sign a Moving Contract (or MC agreement) with any agent. The arrangements would not therefore penalise first-time buyers financially. These applicants should simply approach the agent marketing the property in question. (The agent involved would already have a fee arrangement with the person moving from that property to their next one.)
  2. Registered Housing Agents would benefit since it would become more difficult for owners or landlords wishing to transact their own sales, purchases or lettings without using them. Indeed with this system, it would even be possible for government to declare that such a practice would be banned if they should decide there is a need to do so. The extra sales/lettings throughput generated by making all of the local housing markets around the country more efficient would further enhance RHAs’ profitability.
  3. It would also be possible to identify, specifically, all those transactions that involve house purchasers who are moving a long distance, when in the process of buying the house in question. Additional taxation could thus be applied to second home purchasers if it was deemed appropriate. For example the government could start to levy a tax on all second home buyers. This would tend to help reduce prices in those areas where second home buyers have been pricing local residents out, thus helping first time buyers as well as raising taxes for the government.


Below is a brief description of the new ‘RHA’ or Registered Housing Agent’s strategy:

Brief explanation of the House Price Virtuoso Solution:
We need something considerably more effective than the current Neighbourhood Plan’s H1 Affordable homes provisions and H2 Full-time Principal Residence restrictions, to help bring local house prices down further towards levels affordable to the local workforce, especially to assist local key workers. I reason that prices of full freehold registered titles of ‘affordable homes’ are still well beyond the reach of most key workers within their sectors.

The Hendry Solution is based on the fact that price levels in basic housing stock everywhere are driven by and ultimately depend upon how much individual local buyers can afford, including borrowings in order for local housing markets to be able to function more perfectly.

The new buyer-agents advocated here are called Registered Housing Agents (RHAs) and they could operate from either retail-based premises or online, or both and would replace present-day estate agents.

Facet 1 of explanation:
All agents (RHAs) would work by operating on behalf of buyers rather than being paid by sellers as happens at present. Their fee income would be solely from finding buyers the next houses they seek.

In other words all RHAs would have to forgo signing, to act as a selling agent completely and this would include not acting to sell a house that the client they’ve just found their next house for, is still needing to sell. This is probably the most fundamental change being advocated here.

Facet 2 of explanation:
Nevertheless, there would be no restrictions on buying agents advertising or displaying for sale, houses on behalf of non-clients in order to introduce more enquiries by the buying public or from other buying agents. This would be a quasi-selling and non-fee producing activity only.

All quasi-selling advertising would have to wait for another RHA (with a signed Moving Contract arrangement with the buyer) to bring that buyer forward.

However, each agent or RHA could introduce any of their other signed-up buyers to purchase those properties – and thereby earn a second fee from a different successful purchaser in that way. A valuable second income stream would result.

If the house was one that the RHA had been quasi-selling for an earlier client, that RHA would then be negotiating the BUY price on that house, but acting for the other buyer – not the seller. Whilst different RHAs may often be working simultaneously on various chains of purchases, they would always be working for their respective buying clients of course.
In other words because the buying agent would be working for different clients in each case, (albeit on a chain of purchases) there would be no conflict of interest.

To emphasise the main change, all agents would always be negotiating for buyers rather than sellers.

Facet 3 of explanation:
Another aspect of this is that all agents would be looking carefully over all properties being marketed, in search of its good qualities, both structurally and from locational point of view. They would always be representing their buyer-clients’ best interests in the process.

Prices paid would therefore better reflect the condition of each property currently on the market as well as better reflecting the prices which buyers might be prepared to pay.

Facet 4 of explanation:
The new Registered Housing Agents (RHAs) would need to modify their existing agency skills and abilities, to be able to best represent buyers and negotiate (generally to lower the purchase prices) on behalf of their clients instead of trying to maximise them. This would clearly involve new training schemes for any existing estate agency staff to include both the different emphasis and the extra skills required.

Facet 5 of explanation:
An important point is the actual prices being obtained would be decided primarily by different buyers’ offers, with buyers operating in competition with one another for any one individual property, using the services of multiple buyer agents (the RHAs), simultaneously having to consider the various written offers involved and get their clients instructions on which ones to accept in writing.

Facet 6 of explanation:
Borrowing levels by individual buyers ought to be a significant factor and excessive borrowing requirements should naturally weigh against some higher offers being considered. That is another reason why there should be new government initiated restrictions on such lending, including rules for lending institutions wishing to make loans specifically for housing occupancy purposes. This would help to create a more level playing field for all buyers. That ought to particularly help local buyers, because the prices they could afford would tend to become the benchmark price levels for each separate locality. This is a very important aspect of the implementation of the House Price Virtuoso Solution and should not become a secondary or separate matter at all.

Facet 7 of explanation:
Fixed-fee terms of commission must be mandatory for all licensed or RHA agencies and must be a requirement of all agency contracts made to facilitate a buyer moving from one location to another i.e. complete Moving Contracts or MC agreement would be required – please see the main explanation below for further details.

In other words, no percentage fee commissions should be allowed, as otherwise these would provide an incentive for agents to try and edge prices up which is the practice requiring to be curtailed. Also reverse percentage fees must similarly be disallowed.

Facet 8 of explanation:
The anticipated effect of this new house marketing solution would be to increase house sales turnover across the nation, reduce the amount of abortive work experienced by present-day selling agents and in so doing, increase the actual fee income potential for all licensed agents acting for buyers. This method would breathe new life into what are currently, moribund housing markets in most localities around the country.


Below is a medium-sized description of the new ‘RHA’ or Registered Housing Agent’s strategy:

In order to become more even-handed in their dealings, and so be of better service to all of their clients, estate agents must start acting primarily for buyers rather than sellers, instead of only for sellers or vendors.

This means traditional estate agents would need to become involved primarily in searching for and introducing the present seller to their next property (as buyer), as well as assisting in the sale of their existing house (if any).

To do this the forward purchaser’s agent would become the agent that negotiates both the terms of purchase of the next property and the terms of sale of the house to be sold as part of the move. We’re calling these ‘RHAs or Registered Housing Agents’. They would, in fact, be advising the buyer as their client on both finding and selling houses in this explanation.

In order for this to happen, estate agents must stop using sole selling contracts and begin offering agency ‘Moving Contracts’ or ‘MC agreements’ for their clients instead.

This would mean that the primary work of the estate agent (as RHA) would become to locate and then introduce acceptable houses for each buying client, whilst at the same time, retain responsibility for negotiating the sale of the client’s existing property – the one to be disposed of as part of the proposed move but only by acting for a new buyer. One thing this solution can do is to massively reduce the rate of sales chain failures.

To explain how this would work in practice, let’s use the term ‘the subject property’ to mean the house being sold, and the term ‘the object property’ to mean the house to be purchased.

Two new documents would be involved with this new process :
An ‘MC agreement’ entered into by buyers initially just with one agent, or a series of ‘MC agreements’ with different Registered Housing Agents (instead of just having a ‘sole agency selling contract’ with one specific estate agent as generally happens now).

A pre-contract ‘lock-out or reservation agreement’ with a set time duration, during which the vendor of the property concerned could not accept other offers until the specified lapse-time occurs without incurring defined penalties. These would primarily be aimed at the vendor if they should default without just cause, but some form of recompense, payable to the vendor, ought also to be reserved in the event that the buyer was the party that decided to withdraw prior to actual exchange of contracts.

Clearly, all buyers would be advised to ensure that property surveys will first have been carried out and are satisfactory, regarding the object properties being bought, before signing their lock-out or reservation agreements. Having a professional survey is normally advised for most types of residential property being purchased anyway.

Once the whole scenario is fully understood and implemented, these new methods would prove to be self explanatory and perfectly straightforward to follow.

The following is an explanation of the logistics of the process, whilst looking forwards, by going up the sales or lettings chain.

  • Vendor 1 sells to Buyer 1 (that’s property 1 of course); with buyer 1’s solicitor doing the conveyancing.
  • Then, when Vendor 1 goes to buy forward they become Buyer 2 (of property 2 ); buying from Vendor 2 (with Vendor 2 and Buyer 2’s solicitors doing the conveyancing, as is usual).
  • The new bit is that Buyer 2’s solicitor pays the RHA out of funds provided by Buyer 2. (The seller pays no separate fee.)
  • Then to progress further up the chain, Vendor 2 becomes Buyer 3 (of property 3); and buys from Vendor 3 (with Vendor 3 and Buyer 3’s solicitors doing the conveyancing, again as usual).
  • Once again the new bit is that Buyer 3’s solicitor pays the RHA out of funds provided by Buyer 3: – and so it continues all the way up the chain.

As explained, each separate vendor signs two lock-out or reservation agreements, each one involving buyers of different properties.
The primary lock-out or reservation agreement is with the vendor of the property they have agreed terms to purchase.
The second lock-out or reservation agreement is with the purchaser of the property they currently own and wish to sell.

NB. Under the revised arrangements, no selling agent fees are involved anymore in either case of course. The buyer’s solicitor will arrange payment of the buyer’s RHA fees, on satisfactory completion of the actual sale and purchase – where previously the vendor’s solicitor paid the vendor’s estate agent.

To reiterate, it should be noted, the ‘RHA or Registered Housing Agent’ is always paid on completion by the buyer (instead of by the seller as happens now).

Each agent that was working on the ‘sale’ of each property, would simply be informed, generally by the specific vendor or through their solicitors, when to stop marketing at the appropriate time. That is, after a lock-out or reservation agreement has been signed by them. This is broadly what happens currently, after terms are provisionally agreed by each vendor.

(If deemed important in the particular situation at hand, relevant ‘RHAs or Registered Housing Agents’ could, of course, be asked to endorse the specific lock-out or reservation agreement concerned, for added clarification.)

To explain again, this would mean there will be a need for two lock-out or reservation agreements to be signed by each vendor.

The first with the purchaser of the property that they are in the process of buying.
The second, between themselves and purchaser of the property which they are simultaneously selling.

It should be emphasised however, that each buyer should always sign the lock-out or reservation agreement relating to the house they wish to buy first.
They should sign the lock-out or reservation agreement for the house they are selling second. Both would, of course, generally be signed at the solicitors office, one immediately after the other.

Doing this should not be any more complicated than owners signing the various legally binding pre-contract papers which they currently need to sign.

This process must involve each vendor hearing from and responding to the two different solicitor’s firms involved. It would of course be feasible for their own solicitors to deal with this much as at present.


For those who wish this, here is a more detailed description of the new ‘Registered Housing Agent’ strategy:

Firstly from the vendor’s viewpoint:
A. Under the Moving Contract or ‘MC agreement’, the agent would still act for vendors (as now), but instead of merely being a selling agent, would act primarily as their buying agent.  In other words, the same agent would find them their next house, ‘the object-property’, negotiate the best terms with that property vendor’s agent (whether that agent has an ‘MC agreement’ or not), and also sell their existing house.

As a follow-up but unlike the existing arrangements, the RHA or Registered Housing Agent with an ‘MC agreement’, acting for the buyer, would request ‘the object-property’ vendor to instruct their solicitors to sell their property to buyer 1.

At the same time a two party pre-contract agreement called a ‘lock-out or reservation agreement’ would be signed, the parties being as mentioned above but with the option of including, as a third party, the relevant RHA(s) if deemed necessary in specific circumstances.

The basis of each agreement which would be legally enforceable would provide for a set lock-out time, during which the forward vendor (i.e. the seller of the property in question ‘the object-property’) would not continue marketing the property or show any more viewers around it and agree not to canvas for or take any other offers prior to an ‘exchange of contracts’ with the named buyers, providing that this occurs within the agreed time limit.

If the terms of the agreement were broken, the party disadvantaged may seek to claim the sum set down in the agreement by way of damages or compensation.

In addition to bringing more certainty in concluding negotiations between the parties, the effect of this would be to stop (or substantially reduce) gazumping happening in the intervening time. As stated earlier one thing this solution will also do is to massively reduce the rate of sales chain failures.

[N.B. If the agent which happened to secure the best deal for the vendor, both for the sale of their existing property and the purchase of their preferred next property did not already have an ‘MC agreement’ with that particular client at the time, one could be signed retrospectively, or in other words at the same time as the lock-out or reservation agreement was to be signed by ‘the object-property’ owners; and this would effectively over-ride all other ‘MC agreements’ in the same way that a last Will and Testament over-rides all prior wills.]

B. If an existing, or alternatively a new agent were to obtain an offer involving a higher price on ‘the object-property’ – acceptance of this would become subject to the expiration of the pre-contract lock-out or reservation agreement and would merely give the existing buyer of the house in question, added impetus to make sure that a legal contract for the sale of land and buildings was concluded as swiftly as they could do so and within the lock-out timescale. There should be penalties specified in the agreement aimed primarily at the vendor of ‘the object-property’, if they should default without just cause but also in respect of the purchasers. However the opportunity to default if either party wished to would remain, as no contract for the sale of land would yet be in place.

All legal conveyancing would be carried out primarily in the way that it is done at present.

C. In the event that the lock-out time period was unavoidably exceeded or formal contracts for sale were not exchanged within the prescribed time, the pre-contract lock-out or reservation agreement would expire, or lapse.

The owner of ‘the object-property’ could, of course, then carry on using their existing RHA or Registered Housing Agent, and/or instruct more RHAs, by using ‘MC agreements’, both to find them their next house and sell their existing one – the one that was the subject of a recent abortive sale.

The vendor of ‘the subject property’ however, (i.e. the buyer whose lock-out or reservation agreement has just lapsed), may simply carry on with their search for another suitable property, again using their existing RHA via an ‘MC agreement’, or signing up with additional agents using more ‘MC agreements’ if this should be deemed necessary.

It should perhaps be explained here that existing estate agents with traditional selling contracts would, in the interim period and while these new procedures became fully accepted, slightly confuse the picture until sufficient numbers of estate agents began offering this new and improved service. For this reason a consensus in favour of the necessary change, including Government legislation confirming this would undoubtedly be required.

Secondly looking at this from the buyer’s viewpoint:
1. An estate agent with an ‘MC agreement’ would initially be commissioned by a vendor as above, both to find that particular buyer their next house, ‘the object-property’ and negotiate the best terms they can on that purchase, as well as assist, using a different MC agreement, acting on behalf of a different buyer to conclude the sale of their existing house (if any). Once ready, the relevant agent (or the agent offering the buyer the best overall terms), would request the forward vendor to instruct their solicitors on the terms agreed for sale, as in ‘A’ above.

The successful ‘RHA or Registered Housing Agent’ would be paid on completion of the combined sale of the purchaser’s existing house and the legal completion of the house being bought, ‘the object-property’, using similar machinery as currently exists with conveyancers.

A pre-contract lock-out or reservation agreement, as explained in the vendor’s example above, would be signed again by ‘the object-property’ vendors, the buyer, and their ‘RHA or Registered Housing Agent’, if deemed necessary.

As already explained above, this would simply provide for a set lock-out time during which the forward vendor (i.e. the seller of ‘the object-property’) would agree not to continue marketing the property or show any more viewers around it and would agree not to accept any other offers prior to exchange of contracts with the named buyers, provided that this occurs within an agreed time limit. However, as previously explained, there would remain the opportunity to default if either party wished to, as no contract for the sale of land would yet be in place.

As explained above, the primary effect of this would be to stop (or substantially reduce) gazumping happening in the intervening time, by formalising the terms provisionally agreed between the parties which would be an extremely valuable addition.

In other words, unlike existing ‘selling agents’, the RHA or Registered Housing Agent with an ‘MC agreement’ would be primarily helping the buyer to find their ‘object-property’, and would assume responsibility for both transactions, but importantly, they may also sub-contract out the sale of the existing house to other RHA or Registered Housing Agents if this should prove to be necessary, e.g. where the RHA concerned is not active in the area in which the existing property is located.

This would mean that the active RHA or Registered Housing Agent with an ‘MC agreement’ would have had to have found a buyer for the house being sold (‘the subject property’) before they could conclude a deal for the forward purchase ‘the object-property’. This, of course, should happen in the normal course of events, in most cases, anyway but currently it does not always.

2. Again, if any other agent should attempt to contact the owner, or the owner’s ‘RHA or Registered Housing Agent’ handling the purchase of ‘the object-property’ with a different offer worth considering, they would be told the house is currently sold, (subject to contract), of course. An agreed pre-contract lock-out or reservation agreement with a set time duration would be running, such that the vendor of ‘the object-property’ could not accept other offers prior to exchange of contracts. As already explained this is designed to stop, or substantially reduce, the occurrence of gazumping within the agreed time-scale but would not be an actual contract for the sale of land so would be straightforward to have executed.

As a result, any new estate agent (even one with an ‘MC agreement’), may still offer a higher price – making the offer subject to the expiration of the existing lock-out or reservation agreement. Again, this would merely give the existing buyer more impetus to make sure a legal contract for the sale of land and buildings to them was concluded as swiftly as they could do that.

3. In the event that the time was exceeded and the lock-out period expired or lapsed, ANY estate agent, as long as they are a licensed RHA with a buyers MC agreement, may then legitimatelytry and finalise acceptance of a new offer and if they did so, new terms with new people would then be substituted. Under these circumstances it is easy to see why having an effective lock-out or reservation agreement would help the performance of the housing market as a whole, primarily by setting down agreed time-scales for the progression of conveyancing under the terms of the offer.

Assuming the new introducing agent was working for a different or prospective buyer but still via an ‘MC agreement’, then again a new pre-contract lock-out or reservation agreement having a new lock-out time provision would be executed with the new purchasers (to replace the expired one).

Obviously in these circumstances the earlier purchaser would, by that time, have lost their rights to conclude a purchase of that particular property.

The following is a repeat of the explanation of the logistics of the process, whilst looking forwards, by going up the sales or lettings chain.

  • Vendor 1 sells to Buyer 1 (that’s property 1 of course); with buyer 1’s solicitor doing the conveyancing.
  • Then, when Vendor 1 goes to buy forward they become Buyer 2 (of property 2 ); buying from Vendor 2 (with Vendor 2 and Buyer 2’s solicitors doing the conveyancing, as is usual).
  • The new bit is that Buyer 2’s solicitor pays the RHA out of funds provided by Buyer 2. (The seller pays no separate fee.)
  • Then to progress further up the chain, Vendor 2 becomes Buyer 3 (of property 3); and buys from Vendor 3 (with Vendor 3 and Buyer 3’s solicitors doing the conveyancing, again as usual).
  • Once again the new bit is that Buyer 3’s solicitor pays the RHA out of funds provided by Buyer 3: – and so it continues all the way up the chain.

NB. No selling agent fees are involved anymore in either case.

In each case, it should be noted, the ‘finding’ or Registered Housing Agent is paid on completion by the buyer (instead of by the seller as has happens up until now).
The agent which had been working on the ‘sale’ of each property would be told when to stop marketing by the vendor at the appropriate time (as happens currently).

In essence this means that the agent doing the selling, only has to market ‘the subject property’.

After a buyer is found, it’s the buyers agent that would do all the ongoing work, including managing each purchase through to completion – instead of the selling agent as at present.
Except when the transaction involves only a sale, it’s the buying agent that gets paid the fee.

If the transaction is purely a sale, arrangements would need to be made, via the vendor’s solicitor, for that agent to submit his account and be paid – in a similar way to the historic arrangements.

The Effects:
In the above situation it is then possible for the ‘failed’ buyer to conclude a deal to buy a different house using either the same (or a different) ‘Registered Housing Agent’ using ‘MC agreements’ with whomsoever they appoint as agents.
Flexibility for each buyer is thus is significantly increased.

Once terms have been provisionally agreed on a different ‘object-property’, and they have a purchaser for their own house, they could again arrange for a pre-contract lock-out or reservation agreement to be executed for that property.

This new method of securing an offer on a house should mean increased choices becoming available for buyers, because each buyer would have increased access to more estate agents, as licensed RHAs, helping them to find suitable properties.

It would also enable buyers to make final decisions based on the very best opportunities currently available, both in regard to the selling of their existing house and in regard to the purchase of their preferred next house. As just explained, this would be accomplished by enabling buyers (if they should think it necessary) to appoint multiple estate agents, as licensed RHAs, to work for them in their search for the property that best suits their requirements.

By freeing up buyers in this way, the housing market would start functioning more like a perfect market than it has in the past. This would be of considerable advantage to all the players involved – both business-wise, and by increasing the choice of property for buyers.

Essentially, the only thing that an estate agent, as licensed RHA, would not be able to do, using ‘MC agreements’, would be to act solely for a vendor of course, and this is the primary change which I advocate should now happen.

I accept that ideally this would require the government of the day to give it their backing, if (and as is most likely) traditional estate agents are reluctant to make such a change themselves. It should be stressed however, that the advantages for such estate agents, as licensed RHAs, would seem to me, patently to outweigh the disadvantages by a very considerable measure.

[As an aside, there would need to be a retained flexibility for those vendors without any forward purchasing intentions to sell without having to use a new ‘MC agreement’ and instead merely use an estate agent as a free selling agent by allowing buyers and their RHAs to enquire after the property – as happens at present. However for this to work, there would need to be a provision in agency law that if a later ‘MC agreement’ were signed by the same client it would take precedence over a traditional sole or multiple agency selling contract and that the latter would be superseded by the former.]

Unlike the plan to build large numbers of houses very quickly, which is doomed to fail in the short-term because of the logistics of building them, this improvement to the way in which the housing market functions could be made very swiftly indeed.


TV programs such as BBC 1 Panorama’s ‘The Great House Price Bubble?‘ investigating the pros and cons of ‘Help To Buy’ mortgage guarantees, screened on Monday 11th Nov. at 2030hrs, and Channel 4’s Dispatches ‘The Property Market Undercover’ the week before, have recently investigated the current situation and found continuing serious misfeasances in the way that houses are sold. Since we are still in the aftermath of the worst financial crash since the 30’s, with interest rates still at rock bottom, it’s only right that something fundamental and of significance should be done to change and improve the operation of the housing market.

But why?
Let’s look at the following extracts in the news following the 2008 financial crash:

Seen 11 Nov 13:
www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/House-prices-in-astonishing-leap-across-country-claim

Seen 14 Oct 13:
www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/Brian-Murphy-Blog
“In the period 1997 to 2007 significantly more than a million housing transactions took place each year in England & Wales. In the period 2008 to 2012 the number of transactions has not been above 662,000 with numbers averaging 640,000 over the last five years.” These numbers quite clearly demonstrate how constrained the market has become, with many would-be borrowers citing the inability to save the level of deposit required by lenders as their primary reason for not entering the property market.

Increased borrowing arrangements have come on-stream since the 2008 recession and these have contributed to a rise in average prices, which is accelerating ahead of net wages increases. This is continuing to be of concern.

Seen 22 Feb 17:
www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/592364/UK_Tables_Feb__cir_.pdf
The seasonally adjusted figure for residential sales completions to Jan 2016 (prov) was 1,231,400 with a broadly similar number of sales completions for the 2017. The uplift in House prices recently having been seen may be fairly attributed to excessive bank finance, with the resumption of more lending following the 2008 financial crash and which is, in my opinion anyway, a primary cause cause the housing markets to start overheating yet again.

What could existing estate agents do better?
Much – based on the explanations above.

For a glimpse of some of the current and ongoing problems associated with traditional estate agency, please see the following links, which will open in a new tab or window. These would all be resolved by estate agents becoming licensed RHAs, using ‘MC agreements’ instead of ‘Selling Contracts’.

communicate your way to faster completions – earlier pdf on estateagenttoday (but no longer available).

Also seen Fri 11th Oct 13:
www.thetimes.co.uk
Chris Leslie, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “If ministers are serious about helping first-time buyers, they should bring forward investment to build more affordable homes.
“Rising demand for housing must be matched with rising supply, but under this Government house-building is at its lowest level since the 1920s.
“Unless George Osborne acts now to build more affordable homes, as we have urged, then soaring prices risk making it even harder for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder. You can’t tackle the cost of living crisis without building more homes.
“Rather than waiting a year, the Bank of England should immediately review the details of the scheme. How can it make sense that a policy which should be about helping first-time buyers will allow taxpayer-backed mortgages for homes worth up to £600,000?
“And we have to know how much the Treasury intends to pocket in fees from people who take out Help to Buy mortgages. How will this money be accounted for in the public finances? George Osborne shouldn’t make struggling first-time buyers pay over the odds as he desperately tries to fill the hole in his failed deficit plan.”

On 17th November 2019:
Our Prime Minister was giving an election speech at the CBI conference. Statistics cited in a question to him indicated that house prices for first-time buyers are running at 8 times average annual wages. The question was whether the Conservative government’s housing policy is about affordable housing for all of our workers?
The answer given did not fully address this and therefore this continues to give rise to increasing ongoing concern.

So, what should be done?
Recognise that there are problems with the knee-jerk reaction simply to build more houses. The problems are twofold.
Firstly, as we all know, to build substantial numbers of houses takes time. This needs ‘forward’ planning. It simply cannot be done in an instant, or even in a year!

Secondly, however many houses are quickly built, they will only form a tiny percentage of the total number of houses already available and so can only have a tiny affect by lowering the prices being paid for them. Doing this will not therefore resolve the problem.

Instead, the way to improve the market and in so doing, get fair prices for all is to change ‘the way’ houses are currently marketed by improving current methods.
The methods used by estate agents nowadays, have been used for several decades, without change, and understandably now require careful reform.

Unlike the plan to build large numbers of houses very quickly, improving the marketplaces could be done very swiftly.

I forecast that by replacing traditional estate agents’ selling contracts with MCs, turnover in the housing market would quickly start to recover and the direct result of this would be, more builders starting to build more houses, as there would then be a ready market for these.

Some Earlier Quotes:
housing-minister-role-is-relegated-to-a-junior
Richard Lambert, chief executive officer of the National Landlords Association, said among other things:

“It is extremely disappointing to see The Coalition reduce the significance of housing within Government. Given the significant challenges facing households throughout the country, it is essential that housing takes centre stage in the political debate.” We agree.

Help-to-Buy-second-phase-opens-to-business
And Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the cross-party Treasury Select Committee, said that ministers had failed to allay its concerns about the housing market. He warned that with the “chequered history of government interventions in residential property, great care will require to be taken”.

Also, ‘Help to Buy’ was labelled mad and “very dangerous” by the Institute of Directors.

I do agree with this remark too, which then begs the question:
“Exactly what should be done, by whom, and when by?”

The answer clearly is: – The present government should bring in ‘Moving Contracts’ or ‘MC agreements’ to replace ‘Selling Contracts’ before the next General Election.

Here’s food for thought?
It’s definitely within the grasp of top estate agents to permanently improve the UK housing market themselves. But why don’t they?

I’d certainly be interested in your thoughts and observations and would be happy to publish any that are constructive.

Peter Hendry, author of this report.


Bibliography:
Earlier online articles involving discussion amongst estate agents, which illustrate the problem generally.

www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/House-prices-in-astonishing-leap-across-country-claim

www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/Mortgage-lending-the-highest-in-five-years-says-Bank-of-England

www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article3901688.ece

www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/New-Get-A-Move-On-campaign-aims-to-shake-up-home-buying-and-selling

www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/Dodgy-estate-agency-practices-put-under-spotlight-in-TV-programme

www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/Asking-prices-up-again-as-property-supply-dwindles

www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/Shelter-calls-on-ministers-to-rethink-Help-to-Buy

www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/Talk-of-a-housing-bubble-is-hysteria-says-think-tank

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Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution – otherwise known as The Hendry Solution
Copyright © 2019.

A New Housing Market Model in a Nutshell

Without house price stability, people cannot move, at times when they ordinarily would. We can see this clearly at present owing to market stagnation.
Worse, all the allied trades, including estate agents, are unable to trade successfully as the housing market goes into the doldrums, at approximately 7 year intervals.

The idea of owning your own home (rather then just renting it) is partly so that YOU can decide when you want to move, and where to. It’s also to enjoy a return on your investment, over time of course.
I am concerned about helping large numbers of people, by creating a perfectly stable housing market that stays ‘stable in throughput’, no matter what the rest of the economy is doing over time. This has never been achieved before but at ImproveTheHousingMarket.co.uk we have discovered the correct formula to achieve this.

In essence, the estate agents past model, which is fatally flawed, has been to try and create a price stable market, with generally increasing asking prices.
The result, which we can all clearly see, is massive house price growth followed by stagnation in demand as prices fall back, sometimes over several years.

By comparison, my idea is instead to have a market that is primarily stable in throughput and that asking prices should reflect that. This would mean that people could move between houses more easily, whatever the prevailing prices, because prices should, of course, always be relative at any one point in time. Instead of using agent’s (or client’s) psyched-up prices, true market-driven prices, can instead generate a continually moving housing market and thus provide the ability for people and families to change between houses quickly, in any state of the market.

In my proposed model, asking prices would be capable of better self-correction than happens at present but because all the asking prices would stay close to each other, relatively speaking and everything would work more satisfactorily.

Additional advantages would become available, especially for first time buyers, as when prices are more stable, they would be able to get onto the housing ladder more easily.

My proposal for the way housing in England and Wales should be marketed, is based on changing from vendor-centric estate agencies to buyer-oriented ones as described in The House Price Virtuoso Solution. This would not cost much to implement and would bring massive benefits to all local marketplaces.

To read more about The House Price Virtuoso Solution (otherwise known as The Hendry Solution) go to the following link:

Improve The Housing Market.
How to Improve the UK Housing Market.

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution
Copyright © 2019.