Agent Insight: Nick Berriman of Berriman Eaton in Shropshire
This week, we speak to Nick Berriman, founding partner of Berriman Eaton, about the property market in Shropshire and Staffordshire.
Could you please tell us a bit about Berriman Eaton and the areas you cover?
Berriman Eaton is the leading independent estate agency acting across Shropshire, South Staffordshire and the West Midlands borders. We offer expert advice on all aspects of residential sales and lettings and land sales and acquisitions, but we have a particular specialism in the middle-to-upper end of the residential market, which sees us entrusted with some of the region’s finest and most interesting properties.
What is your USP?
We are the only independent, non-franchised firm that operates across all three regions. This gives us a distinct advantage in being able to provide a truly geographically connected service.
Our customers choose us because we take a traditional approach to selling homes. Yes we embrace modern technology and take full advantage of the national search engines and our website, but we place a real emphasis on relationship building and customer service.
A house sale without hiccups or delays is rare, and we have found our customers really value our expertise and our commitment to keeping them updated. It has paid enormous dividends – by far the greatest percentage of our clients come through happy customer referrals.
What is the market currently like in the West Midlands?
We are experiencing a resurgence of confidence and demand with a higher level of instructions and sales reported from all three of our offices. In fact, our Bridgnorth office has had its best first quarter on record, statistically 100% up on 2014’s results for the same period.
At present, prices are stable but they will creep up over the coming months. We have already noticed a marked increase in the volume of activity following the general election. Indeed, the first working day after the Conservatives claimed victory we had offers at full asking price on three separate properties by 9.30am.
Is now a good time to sell your home?
Absolutely - for all the reasons listed above and more. The economy is recovering, interest rates are low and there is tangible confidence in the market across all price thresholds. The government is committed to its Help to Buy scheme and to the housebuilding industry as a whole, which will keep things moving.
What opportunities are currently on offer for first-time buyers?
As employment statistics and industry levels rise across the region we have noticed that developers are increasingly including starter homes within their quota on new developments in the region, which is a strong indication that the market is expected to grow. Help to Buy has assisted this and has helped encourage both first- and second-time buyers. Easier access to finance will also greatly help to unlock the market.
What trends are you expecting to see in the remainder of 2015?
We have already seen anecdotal evidence of post-election confidence in the marketplace, but we are expecting this to carry through the remainder of the year with an increase in the volume of both instructions and sales.
People have sat tight for a long time waiting for a ‘better’ time to move and we believe that many of them will decide that the time is now right. If we are correct in this assumption then we would expect to see gentle price rises across the board before the end of the year, with a predicted rise of around 5% in the next couple of years.
Find out more at www.berrimaneaton.co.uk ; 01902 747744 (Tettenhall) 01746 766499 (Bridgnorth) 01902 326366 (Wombourne)