Agent Insight: Gavin Human of Fine & Country in Cambridge

Posted 2 June 2014

In our latest Agent Insight column, we speak to Gavin Human, director at Fine & Country in Cambridge about the local property market in his area. 

Could you please tell me a bit about Fine & Country and the areas you operate?

Fine & Country is an award winning agency that boasts over 250 offices worldwide. We are one of the fastest growing estate agents specialising in luxury property. At my branch, we primarily deal with the city of Cambridge and its outlying villages. We mainly sell properties in the upper quartile of the market, with our core business consisting of homes priced in excess of £800,000. We offer a unique and comprehensive service. We don't sub-contract any part of the process, and our team of designers put together a twenty-two page bespoke brochure for each property featuring high resolution photographs, comprehensive information and sales details.

Who is buying properties in Cambridge?

We see lots of people moving from London. These types of buyer are attracted by the ease of a 45 minute train journey in to the city and a different speed of life. With high-speed internet, people are finding they don't need to travel in to work every day and might work from home a couple of days a week or use a hot desk facility closer to home. We also promote our Cambridge properties at our Park Lane office in London, which attracts affluent buyers from the city.

In Cambridge city centre, we see lots of foreign money. Cambridge is a very attractive proposition for investors and property is at a premium. Both Astra Zeneca and Microsoft are moving thousands of jobs here and the government has agreed to allocate £500m to the city if it hits its economic targets. Cambridge also offers a different and varied lifestyle - homes in the city centre are at the heart of everything and offer great convenience, while in the outlying villages buyers can enjoy a slower pace of life and a larger property with a garden.

What are the market conditions for residential sales in your area?In the city it's like a mini-London, with certain postcodes rising at a high rate and exceptional offers coming in for properties that are way above their asking prices. Outside of the city centre, prices are much more stable and competitive.

It is certainly a good time to sell your home. The market is continuing to speed up, and April is a traditional gateway to the spring market. We're seeing more activity and properties coming on to the market are selling and achieving positive prices.

Have the changes implemented by the Mortgage Market Review had an effect?

We haven't come upon any real issues yet, although in our market we have a relatively large percentage of cash buyers and buyers with sizable deposits, so we may not be too badly affected. It's important to remember that the changes are new for everyone, and I suspect they will have an impact on first-time buyers, especially during the period that lenders are trialling and getting a feel for them.

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