A buoyant market where sellers are in the box seat, particularly if they get their house in immaculate order.

That’s the message from an elite group of property professionals in Plymouth who say buyers with busy lives are now, more than ever, demanding homes with key improvements and that modern decorative touch.

Both sales and rental properties in the commercial sector are holding their own too so the overall pictures from members of the Plymouth Area Property Professional Association (PAPPA) is a positive one.

As they gear up for the traditionally busy Autumn sales period, many of PAPPA’s agents are reporting that even the traditionally quieter summer months of June, July and August have seen a flurry of both residential sales and lettings activity.

Andrew Blacklock of Maitlands said that Government Help to Buy schemes combined with low interest rates have brought more first time buyers to the market than at any other point in the last ten years. He also expects a rise in levels of suitable properties in the run up to Christmas and hailed it a great time to sell – particularly if your home stands out from the crowd.

“We have seen a real shift in buyers’ demands and never has the value of an immaculate house with a new kitchen and modern décor been more significant,” said Andrew.

“In the busy world we now all live in buyers want the convenience of a house where much of the hard work has been done for them – and they are willing to pay for it.”

Jacqui Courtier of Plymouth Homes, said it was a similar picture in the private lettings sector with ‘steady and strong growth of supply and demand’.  She confidently predicts the sector will continue to thrive and was swift to debunk the tabloid scare stories about landlords being squeezed out of the market.

“New landlords are entering the market eager to do the right thing by tenants and seeing the value of investing their hard earned money in property, given the disappointing returns in banks and building societies,” said Jacqui.

“We have seen a small drop in rents, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s more affordable for the tenant and in return the landlord can expect longer term tenancies with minimal void periods. I am confident the private rented sector will continue to grow with landlords recognising the need to meet their obligations to tenants who, in turn, appreciate being respected.” 

PAPPA member Mark Slade is also confident about Plymouth’s commercial sector, both in terms of sales and rental properties.

“Commercial sales values are still strong at the moment and there has been a small hike in square foot values,” said Mark.

“There is little movement on the rental side currently, with values staying largely at the same level and much of the stock is quite old with little left on tenancies.”  

Property surveyor and PAPPA member James Barron, of Barron Surveying Services Ltd, has also been particularly busy over the past three months – but he says that is more a reflection of the decline in numbers in his sector.

“Where I would traditionally book surveys two weeks ahead it is now at three to three and half weeks,” said James.

“There is a reaI skills shortage in the city and it is not a healthy situation to be in. We need more qualified surveyors coming through otherwise we will continue to have these delays in getting surveys done.”

James has also seen a notable increase in the number of high quality inspections he is carrying out in the £250,000 to £350,000 price bracket as agents have also reported many first time buyers coming to market with real spending power.