House prices on the up

According to this month’s Halifax house price index, House prices in June, July and August were on the up, 0.1% higher than in March, April and May. This means that the annual house price growth has picked up to 2.6%. Just don’t be too quick to shout hurrah.

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax Community Bank, said: “The annual rate of growth increased from 2.1% in July to 2.6% in August with the average house price now £222,293, which is just above the previous high of December 2016 (£222,190). “

Unemployment is also at a 43 year low. The Office of National Statistics16th August Bulletin states that “The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 75.1%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.”

There has also been an increase in mortgage approvals, and according to Bank of England seasonally adjusted figures, nearly reversed all the falls seen so far this years.

So this seems sunny news, however, wage growth is still lagging. The cost of your weekly shop has also gone up. If you look at your standard 800g white loaf, for example. it was 97p in April and is now £1.04. It doesn’t sound a lot, but add 7p to every item in your weekly shop and it soon adds up to a sizeable increase. With inflation outstripping wage growth, this puts a significant strain on the household budget. New house or avocado toast?
The HMRC say that property sales are on the up, however the RICS monthly report, shows that new instructions for home sales fell for the 17th consecutive month in July, and that the average number of properties on estate agents’ books are close to an all-time low, making that instruction from any vendor all the harder to secure.

With wages stagnating and food bills increasing it is not hard to see why people are less eager to upgrade, so there are fewer properties coming onto the market, and thus the market value increases.

Without making but the slightest nod to Brexit, house prices will fluctuate, wages and food prices go up and down. Yesterday the Telegraph reported that “soaring house prices in the UK mean that one in every 76 Britons is now a millionaire, up from one in 84 last year.” Somehow that diminishes the value of being a millionaire, it just bumps up the stamp duty. If your prospect is a millionaire purely because their house is worth a million, it means very little if they have no immediate intention of selling it. Whether they live in a large house In Belgravia or a 2 up 2 down in Sunderland the value of their home increasing means nothing. Its just the roof over their head. It only matters when they decide to move.

This is a good place to state that the Big Data that feeds our AI includes the house price index. So whether house prices go up or down you can be confident that Houseprice.AI and our Estate Agents app, Horizon, will back up your own knowledge with the most current and fair price for any vendors property.


The Importance of Social Media in the Residential Property Market

Having a well polished web site is all well and good, but how much better is it for your client and their network, to receive regular reminders via social media apps that showcase your properties, drive them to your site and ultimately secure more sales?

Lets look at some stats. Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter, corresponding to over 500 million tweets per day? On Facebook there were 1.94 billion monthly active users as of March 2017, 32 million user accounts just in the UK.

Social media apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin are of increasing importance in the residential property market, having the advantage of allowing notifications without ad blocking. When a user follows your page your posts are seen by people in their network, an easy way to get your latest featured property to a wider audience. Additionally, if linked correctly, your post takes the user to your website without the client needing to use a search engine, or your company needing a dedicated app.

Traditional Email versus Social Media Channels

So what does this mean for your e-mailed mailshots, will they fall out of fashion as much as big shoulder pads and the glossy A4 fliers of the 1980s? Deloitte’s 2016 Consumer Survey shows the reach of e-mail and apps are rising in parallel. Every smartphone comes with an email app, hence its popularity. It is a simple way to communicate, however, blanket group e-mails are both impersonal and counterproductive. Posting to your own Social Media page drives clients towards you and gives much wider and more targeted coverage.

The best of both worlds

The future lies in combining these tools, for example personalised mailshots, which link to fully interactive, cross platform compliant reports. Here at Houseprice.AI, our property app, Horizon, includes cutting edge interactive reports that can be e-mailed to your clients and also posted to social media for other followers to read, combining the best of both worlds. Horizon also has a smart feature that enables you to chat directly with your potential clients from the interactive report, whether they click on the e-mail link or the social media post. In fact these conversations are not only with clients that were e-mailed the report, but with any interested buyer who clicks on that post.

When To Post or Not To Post

It is important to establish the perfect balance of social media posts – just enough to keep people engaged, but not so much as to irritate them. Automatic and poorly scheduled posts that tweet the same post on the hour every hour quickly become tedious and a turn off. You can use Facebook and Twitter Analytics tools to make your posts more effective. For example Twitter statistics show that the most popular time to tweet is 12-1pm, the most read are first thing, and the most liked in the evening. Use the tools to help you decide what works best for your business.

There is no doubt that social media channels will play an increasingly important role in the marketing of property sales and lettings. These need to be quickly embraced and adapted as the powerful marketing and business generating vehicles they can be, and as forward thinking 21st century estate agents become hybrid agencies, with a presence in both virtual highways and local high streets.

For more information on Horizon contact: