Agent Insight: Will Marshall-Murray of Fine & Country in Solihull
This week, Will Marshall-Murray of Fine & Country in Solihull gives us the lowdown on the luxury property market in the West Midlands.
Could you please give us a brief introduction to your branch and the property market in your area?
Our office in Solihull acts as our hub covering the West Midlands, from Sutton Coldfield through to Stourbridge, Bromsgrove, Edgbaston and of course Solihull and the surrounding villages. The property market in the West Midlands has certainly picked up over the last couple of years. All of the areas mentioned have a great reputation for good quality property in the leafy suburbs surrounding Birmingham, top private and state schools, great facilities including multiple golf clubs, international class facilities such as Edgbaston Cricket Ground, the NEC, the Belfry, the Birmingham Library and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).
What types of properties do you sell?
We sell properties in the upper quartile of the market, including modern and new-build property, large townhouses, country homes and barn conversions, unique properties, traditional homes, land and development plots, waterside homes and many more. Last year we sold a significant number of traditional Victorian properties in Edgbaston and bespoke new-build and modern style homes in Solihull.
What are the current market trends in your area?
In 2013 there were no sales above £2 million in the West Midlands according to land registry data, and in 2014 there were three sales above this figure. We have already completed a sale over £2 million this year and have the next most expensive house in Birmingham about to come to the market at £2.5 million.
Smaller developers have benefitted from changes to planning regulations, so we will be seeing more bespoke new-build property from the smaller, more exclusive developers coming on to the market soon. A large number of buyers from London and the Home Counties are moving to the Midlands and are specifically looking for properties in the upper quartile of the market.
Where should investors be looking to buy property?
Investors should definitely be looking at new-build property again. We have a number of off-market investments available with guaranteed rental returns and developers offering favourable rates of return on their projects. Birmingham city centre is looking attractive as overseas investment comes in and huge infrastructure improvements take place. The city is re-establishing itself on the national and international scene.
What do you expect to see happen in the local market during 2015?
In 2013, half of the 20 most expensive sales were in Solihull, and the rest were in Edgbaston, Sutton Coldfield and Barnt Green. In 2014, the most expensive sales were spread out across the region a lot more evenly with Stourbridge and Henley-in-Arden featuring too, and Edgbaston and Sutton Coldfield taking the lion’s share of the sales. The average price of the top 20 sales in 2013 was £1.3 million, and the average in 2014 was £1.8 million, a 38% increase. This increase will continue this year and the average price for the top 20 sales may even beat the £2 million mark. There will also be more new-build properties coming to the market.