One-on-One-interview: Craig Tokley of Dixons Estate Agents in Wolverhampton
As part of his series of interview with leading estate agents from across the UK, Stephen Maunder speaks to Craig Tokley, executive branch manager at Dixons in Wolverhampton.
Could you please tell us a bit about your company and the service you provide in Wolverhampton?Dixons has been operating since 1939. We cover the Wolverhampton area and offer residential sales and lettings, mortgage, conveyancing and auction services. We also have new homes representation and boast branches in locations such as Walsall, Dudley and Willenhall. At my branch, we've recently been able to promote a couple of our apprentices, and it's been very nice to be able to grow the business.
What kinds of properties do you sell and let?
The area we market ourselves in varies from branch to branch. We have found that of homes priced at £200,000 or below, 25% are sold subject to contract at any one time. With homes over £200,000, the figure is just 14%. Because of this, we primarily operate up to £200,000, although there are exceptions to the rule. We started up our lettings department three years ago. Year-on-year growth in lettings is tremendous, with around 70% of our enquiries being for rented homes.
How is the local market performing and what do homes typically cost to buy?
The market has improved in the last six months, taking in to account Q4 of 2013 and Q1 of 2014, and year-on-year this branch has seen improved turnover. Value varies from area to area, but there is something in Wolverhampton for all budgets. In an affluent part of the city you might get a three-bedroom semi detached home for £200,000, while in other areas you may be able to get a four-bedroom detached property.
What effect has the Help to Buy scheme had in your area?
Since the launch of the scheme, registrations here have increased by up to 50%. As soon as Help to Buy was set in stone, we immediately started seeing more mortgage appointments. In terms of its effect, asking prices aren't going up too much, although we are now seeing people paying closer to the asking price across the board. We like to sit down with sellers, demonstrate what has happened in the local market recently and have an honest conversation. Valuations depend on a lot of factors, including how quickly you are looking to sell, and it's all about getting the balance right, which is why we review our valuations every four weeks.
What do you expect to see happen in the remainder of 2014?
Year-on-year I would be expecting to see at least a 25% increase in turnover. Prices will move slightly across the year in both sales and lettings. If we're skilful enough, I see no reason why we can't continue to build, finishing this year well and starting next year on an upward curve. My advice to buyers is that if you're considering looking, you should do so now as you never know what is around the corner.