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Homes more affordable and easier to buy in Cheltenham, says agency partner

By Homebuyer  |  Posted: November 21, 2012

Left to right: Nicola Watts, Richard Styles and Suzie Erwood.

Left to right: Nicola Watts, Richard Styles and Suzie Erwood.

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Homes are becoming more affordable for people and procedures are in place to help people move more easily, says a partner at Fine and Country Cheltenham.

Richard Styles, who has more than 26 years in the Gloucestershire property market, said house prices had fallen back to four times people's average earnings, compared to its peak of six times average earnings in 2007.

He added a more widespread use of floor plans by agents in the county was making moving simpler as potential buyers could compare properties more accurately.

Richard said: "The house price to average earning ratio is back down to where it has been over the last 30 years. Property is generally more affordable for people."

An increasing number of Gloucestershire agents are producing floor plans with square foot measurements meaning movers could more accurately compare two properties. This is a method Fine and Country Cheltenham has used since opening in 2010, he said.

"Some estate agents and home-buyers didn't have a clue about the size of homes in square feet ten years ago," he said.

"Now this measurement is being put on floor plans and more and more people are understanding it. Some people will refer to square feet when they talk to us.

"If you've got a good square foot floor plan, it makes it easier to compare properties instead of referring to the number of properties they have. People are becoming more switched on to that."

While floor plans issued by agents are a good indication of size, they are not set in stone and should only be considered as a guide, Richard added.

Fine and Country Cheltenham deals with homes worth £450,000 and above. These include both town and village properties. The branch covers Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Nailsworth, including all villages in between.

Richard has worked in both Cheltenham and Stroud since 1985. He ran the land and new homes division for Andrews Estate and Letting Agents for 14 years and was based in Cheltenham. Before that he managed Andrews' branches in the county.

Richard said he was expecting a bumper January as people look for a fresh start to the new year, stating the month was the branch's busiest of the year.Fine and Country has over 200 offices in the country, with headquarters in London.

Richard's snap shot of the property market during his 26 years in Gloucestershire.

1985 - Prices going up 10 per cent per annum.

1987/88 - Property market boom.

1989-1998 - period of house prices going down.

2000 - Price climbing quite well.

2001-2006 - Price continuing to increase quite steadily.

2007 - Market nationally wasn't too bad but flooding has big affect in Gloucestershire as people stop house-hunting.

2008 - Global crisis. Since then the market has been getting back on its feet. There are plenty of buyers and sellers out there.

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  • thomas1996  |  November 21 2012, 8:13PM

    Takeaway22, You are spot on. There's NO way houses prices are now 4x average and especially local wages in this county! Most people I know are on LESS than £20k pa. and have nothing left every month over after stoppages, paying £500 per month rent, running a car, buying food, insurances, broadband+phone contracts, council tax, gas+electricity bills etc etc! And estate agents & banks expect people to save up a £10,000+ cash deposit & £2,500 cash in moving/legal costs! In the hope of drumming up interest as usual the estate agents put their rose tinted glasses on and pretend everything's alright. You only have to look on rightmove.com, do a post code search on your own postcode and week after week, month after month houses of all shapes & sizes around your own street remain un-sold, even after several price drops. Get Real Richard.

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  • Takeaway22  |  November 21 2012, 7:22PM

    Richard Styles appears very vague. When he says "house prices had fallen back to four times people's average earnings" - what house prices? Is he referring nationally or locally? If locally, is he referring to St Pauls or Battledown? Is he under the impression that 'average' earnings are in the 40% tax bracket? Can Richard Styles guide we, members of the public where he got his stats from? I hope he can inform us otherwise his credibility is questionable. I got my information from http://tinyurl.com/az3gsjv where it states the AVERAGE cost of a house in Cheltenham is £283,929 which makes the AVERAGE earner as nearly £71k pa.

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  • NibNobs  |  November 21 2012, 6:34PM

    House prices down to 4 times annual earnings? Complete rubbish! Might be if you're an estate agent on £50-70k per annum! However many local young buyers don't earn 'average' earnings because they work in retail, supermarkets, small factories or the NHS. Typical local per hour rates are between £6.50 to £7.50 an hour fact. So lets say with a bit of overtime they manage to earn £17,000 before tax/NI/pension deductions. So ignoring the deductions (although the government won't!) 4 times £17,000 is £68,000 Can the estate agents tell me where they can buy a house for £68,000 in Cheltenham, Stroud or Gloucester? And I like the way Richard says 'the floods' put buyers off in 2007, no Richard it was the banks refusing to lend money or demand a 20% deposit and the recession put buyers off....as is still the case today.

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