MEET THE AGENT
Name: Peter Hornor
Agency: Brown & Co
Peter is the Residential Partner in Norwich and a Chartered Surveyor and Auctioneer involved in all aspects and sectors of the residential property market.
Where does your agency sit in the local market?
We have always delivered a professional service across all the price ranges but probably have a reputation for the middle to upper end of the market, dealing with quality property in particular in Norwich, South Norfolk and the Norfolk Broads area. We have recently developed our business and acquired an estate agency in Holt and Sheringham and we are now more active in that part of the county where my partner, Peter Sargeant, is developing the service we are able to offer. Again, we cover a broad range of properties in and around the North Norfolk area. Equally, we now have an office in King’s Lynn and are able to say that we cover the whole of the county, which is an exciting prospect for us.
What is your opinion of the current housing market locally?
The market has never been more difficult to define than now. The period from September through to Christmas was very difficult for everybody involved in property and all sectors were quiet, and I think everybody was in a state of shock really as events unfolded leading up to the end of 2008.
This year the business of buying and selling has slowly started again and there is certainly activity now, which is beginning to filter through starting as it usually does at the bottom end of the market, and there is also a great deal of activity for property up to £250,000 and more than there was for properties that are priced below £500,000. The upper end of the market is still quieter but this may be a seasonal thing and we are now experiencing more interest from prospective buyers looking to upgrade from here or from further afield who see Norfolk as a good opportunity and good value for money when compared with other areas of the country.
What needs to be done to improve it?
The Government is doing it’s best with Stamp Duty but could do more. Availability of finance is the key and this needs to flow from the finance houses and be seen to be available now that the Government is involved as well. If prices drop down to a more realistic level there are good opportunities out there and the banks need to be seen to be helping people get onto the housing ladder.
Have the changes to HIPs, ie scrapping first day marketing, affected your business?
The bureaucracy involved with Home Information Packs has lead to a great deal more work and it is hard to see at present how HIPs have helped the process of buying and selling property. We are not aware of many people relying on the HIP and in any event buyers and sellers require their solicitors to deal with the legal side of things prior to an exchange of contracts. The extra burden placed on everybody now that a house is not able to be placed on the market until a HIP has been prepared makes life very difficult and in particular is affecting those people who want to test whether or not the market will allow them to sell their house. It is to be hoped that at some stage Governments will see reason and I do hope that this will not be too long. Where we are involved in auctioning property it does make the marketing of houses and land more difficult because you require a longer period for advertising under auction conditions and we are not able to start until the HIP is prepared, so this is proving difficult for us.
What is your own ideal house and where would it be?
There are so many places that I like in Norwich and Norfolk that it is difficult to answer really. I live in South Norfolk and I suppose would say this but I am very happy living within easy reach of Norwich in a village with local amenities and all the joys that that entails. I always say to people coming to Norfolk that if they want to live outside Norwich, South Norfolk is a good bet because it is easy to get into the city and you can always get to North Norfolk and the wonderful coastline and the Broads very easily when you are living here anyway.
Why do you think it is important to be a member of the NDAEA?
As a past Chairman of the Association, I am sure it is right for us to remain involved with the NDAEA. It fosters good relations between firms, which is important, and also stands for professionalism which is more important as life goes on and we become more reliant on the internet and other factors. Agents need to be aware of the importance of behaving properly and looking after their clients effectively and this Association certainly helps us with these requirements alongside other associations and organisations that we are involved with. For example, our firm is a member of the RICS and ARLA and other organisations that work alongside the NDAEA and are complementary.