Demand for houses doubles!

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a homeowner looking to move up the housing ladder; here’s how the surge in popularity for houses could impact you.

In search of a spacious new home? You’re not the only one. Demand for houses has more than doubled as buyers search for more space due to numerous lockdowns.

Family homes are the most sought-after type of property; with the number of buyers looking to snap one up soaring by a whopping 114% compared with levels typically seen at this time of year between 2017 and 2019.

But while demand for all types of houses, from terraced to detached, has more than doubled; the number of buyers looking to purchase a flat has risen by only 34%, according to Zooplas latest House Price Index report.

Why has demand risen?

On the one hand, demand for houses has been rocketed by the stamp duty holiday; with large savings on offer for larger properties (typically houses).

However, the high demand also reflects a surge in buyer interest for more space. The UK lockdowns have made people to reassess their homes and lifestyles. At the same time, the trend for working from home has prompted people to leave city centres in favour of more rural locations; which are more likely to consist of houses rather than flats.

What does this mean for you?

First-time buyers

It could be good news if you’re a first-time buyer looking to purchase a flat rather than a house. The cost of flats has risen much more slowly than property values across the wider housing market during the past year.

It’s worth remembering that there’s significant variation across the regions though. Price growth for flats is up 0.6% in the Southeast during the past 12 months, however prices for houses is up 6.5% in the Southeast. If you’re a first-time buyer eyeing a house, be prepared to face stiff competition. However, with no property to sell, you have an advantage over buyers in a property chain.

It’s important to remember that there are schemes available to help make buying your first home more affordable too; such as first-time buyer stamp duty relief and Help to Buy.


The soaring demand for houses means that if you are planning to sell a property, you could be in a good position to secure a quick sale. You will be more than likely to see it’s value rise during the past year too as price growth for houses has been particularly strong.

However, if you are selling a flat, you may find the gap between the value of your current home and the house you want to purchase has widened in recent months.

How can we help you?

Thinking of selling? Our free online valuation tool enables you to find out how much your existing property is likely to be worth, helping you to plan for your next purchase.

Looking for a new home? With competition intense, you can get ahead by registering with our team to receive alerts whenever a property that meets your criteria is listed for sale. Our advanced search tools also help you find properties in your price range and area that are already listed.

Whether you are buying or selling, in the current fast-paced market, we’re here to give you some friendly local expert advice, speak to a member of our team today.

Recent Articles

Six options to consider if your chain breaks and you miss the stamp duty holiday

After more than a year of driving property prices to new highs during the coronavirus pandemic; the stamp duty holiday has started to taper down. 

The tax break, which has saved buyers up to £15,000 on their house purchases, will now be cut back with the maximum saving capped at £2,500. This is because the nil-rate band – the portion of a property purchase buyers don’t need to pay stamp duty on – will drop from the first £500,000 to the first £250,000. It will stay this way until 30 September, when the nil-rate will be returned to its pre-pandemic level, £125,000.  

House prices have risen to record levels, with a general increase of 13% or £29,000 over the course of the stamp duty holiday according to Nationwide Building Society

Why did the government introduce the stamp duty holiday?

When the stamp duty holiday was introduced in July 2020, it was designed to boost the property market by helping buyers whose finances were affected by Covid. It meant a saving of up to £15,000 for people buying homes.

Landlords and second-home buyers were also able to make use of the tax cut. But they still had to pay the extra 3% of stamp duty they were charged under the previous rules.

What’s the state of the current property market?

Many buyers have raced to meet the deadline; but delays with conveyancing and surveys mean that many will not complete in time due to the heightened demand. This may sound daunting if you’re in the middle of a property chain; but some will even consider pulling their transactions if they have not budgeted to pay the tax. 

Whilst our team do everything within their power to stop this from happening; it sometimes does occur though no fault of anyones. However, it does not always mean that you’ve hit the end of the road. Our team have brainstormed different ways that property buyers could keep going with their purchases and keep their chains from falling apart due to the deadline. 

At Century Residential, we are transparent with our buyers and make it clear from the offset that their offers should not be reliant upon the stamp duty discount. However, if you’re out of time and you can’t afford to buy without the stamp duty holiday, there are a few options that could help.

1. Renegotiate your house price with your seller

If you don’t have the funds to buy your new home and pay stamp duty, you might consider asking the person you are buying from whether they would lower the price. However, this could be risky, as it might lead them to question your commitment to buying the home, we’d advise that you discuss this thoroughly with your estate agent prior. 

Nevertheless, if they are particularly keen to keep things on track, they may be willing to accept your new offer. 

If you have some funds to play with, one option might be asking them to go halves. For example, if you had a £10,000 stamp duty bill; they would take £5,000 off the price and you would foot the other £5,000 yourself. However, their willingness to do this may depend on whether they have a stamp duty bill to pay themselves. 

If you manage to negotiate a new price, you will need to ask your mortgage lender for new documentation which could add time and cost to the transaction.

2. Negotiate with the whole chain

There is a way to get around the problem of having to ask for a discount from someone who isn’t getting one themselves on their onward purchase. This requires some expert negotiating from your estate agent. 

In short, it entails asking every member of the chain to offer a discount that equates to the discount that would be offered by the stamp duty holiday. This is more likely to be accepted [than negotiating with your seller alone], as all parties offer a more affordable discount.

If there is another buyer in a similar situation to you down the chain; it could improve your chances of success.  

3. Move out and rent to keep the chain together  

A common method of holding together a broken chain is by asking the seller whose buyer withdrew, to move into rented accommodation.

By most accounts, the stamp duty holiday has increased house values. So, renting for a few months might mean a chance to get a better deal on the eventual purchase if prices fall. We understand that this is a gamble, as there is no guarantee of where the market is moving next. Nonetheless, now would be the perfect time to do this. Especially with the possibility of prices lowering after the stamp duty holiday. The amount of money spent on rent for six months to a year could be less than [the extra expense of] buying in the increasing market we have seen throughout most of the UK.

If the chain has collapsed, it may be worth investigating whether you can use short-term finance to enable the purchase to continue; however this should be discussed with your mortgage broker.

4. Make sure you complete by the September deadline

If you are upset that you haven’t met the first stamp duty deadline; completing in time for the September cut-off could be the next best thing. There is common perception that the stamp duty holiday will be over on 30 June, but that isn’t the case. There are still reasonable savings to be made until the end of September; but buyers will need to act quickly. 

We suggest that if a buyer starts the process in the next few weeks or so they should hopefully complete before the September deadline.

5. Hold out and hope that house prices fall

If you have had a purchase fall through, biding your time might actually save you money in the event that house prices fall; especially given that house prices have risen more than £20,000 in the past year.

This is significantly true for first-time buyers and landlords, who aren’t relying on money made from the sale of another property to fund their purchase.  

There are already signs that asking prices aren’t increasing as quickly as they were earlier in the year. The most recent government data showed that the average home knocked £5,000 off its value in April; reflecting offers made when buyers thought they had missed the original stamp duty deadline in March.

Another reason why property prices have risen is the supply and demand imbalance in the market. However, that could also be set to change. Sellers who had been cautious to list their home for health reasons or lack of job security could now be tempted. Restrictions fully easing from next month and the economy bouncing back may all provide the confidence that they needed to move.

6. Don’t get too caught up in the hype 

While it is frustrating to have to pay several thousand pounds more for your new home; we urge those that have the funds to proceed to think about their home as a place they will live in and enjoy for many years; rather than as a purely financial asset. 

Whilst most people don’t buy homes as a financial investment – unless you’re a buy-to-let investor. People buy homes as a place to live, raise families, be part of a community, enjoy life, and grow old. Our best advice is to think long-term and buy a home that’s right for your needs; at a price that you can afford and that you plan to enjoy for years to come.

It is also worth bearing in mind that, if you pull out of a transaction, there is no guarantee you will find something else quickly. You need to consider how badly you want the property. With a shortage of stock in some price brackets and areas, you may not find another suitable property anytime soon. 

Let’s have a chat

Whilst the final closure of the stamp duty holiday at the end of September may have no impact at all; we have noticed a different rise in property interest. This is due to other factors, namely the race for space, low supply, accidental savings and low interest rates.

At Century Residential we have helped many people and families during the stamp duty holiday; and we don’t plan to stop making peoples dreams a reality. So, if you’re thinking of selling or buying a property, please get in contact with a member of our team on 01634 570057.

Recent Articles

3 reasons to consider landlord property management

Seeking the ideal tenant for your property? Do you know exactly what is required to comply with industry regulations as a landlord? Not to worry – here at Century Residential, we can handle all your queries and concerns with our reliable landlord property management services. We offer 3 different categories of services depending on your preference including – let only, let only with rent collection or fully managed.  

If you require property management within Gillingham, Kent, Medway or Maidstone areas, then our expert team can help you. The following are 3 main reasons you can trust us with your biggest asset.  

Fully Managed Operations

Leave it to the trusted professionals here at Century Residential to handle and manage all your letting needs. Give yourself complete peace of mind by working with a supportive, experienced, and qualified team who will be able to seamlessly meet your requirements. From finding and assessing a suitable tenant for your property to preparing the tenancy agreements and more, we provide fully managed operations from start to finish.     

Customised Personal Attention

As a large portion of our clients come to us through recommendation, we aim to always deliver a customised experience. We take great pride in not only meeting, but exceeding the expectations of our landlords. All of our marketing methods are completely customised to our clients requirements. We aim to deliver 100% of our attention to your needs so that the whole procedure can run professionally and smoothly, and all individuals involved can be completely satisfied with the given agreement.

Local Experts

Landlord property management is most effective when executed by local experts. As an independent firm, we constantly seek opportunities to foster community involvement. When you choose to hire locally for your property management, this allows for local expertise to be brought into the heart of the operation.

Are you in need of reliable landlord property management services? Here at Century Residential we aim to find you a suitable tenant and create a fair agreement without any fuss. Contact our experienced and enthusiastic team today – we look forward to speaking with you. 

Letting agent checklist: top tips to keep in mind when choosing the right agent

Teaming up with the right letting agent can make a world of a difference when it comes to finding the best property for you. Whether you’re brand new to the world of renting or you’re planning your next big move, our team at Century Residential fully understand the importance of finding the ideal property and making the process as smooth and as stress-free as possible.

So how can you be sure that you’ll be in the best hands when it comes to renting a property? Consider some of our top tips to keep in mind when seeking out the right letting agent for you. Here at Century Residential, our team is proud to offer you the following qualities in all of our services.

Expert Local Knowledge

Every letting agent should have full knowledge of the area surrounding the property you are interested in. Our team of experienced property professionals boast extensive local knowledge of Gillingham, Rochester, Chatham and the wider Medway & Kent area.

Interested In Your Needs & Budget

Finding the right home means finding a place that fits your requirements and your desired budget. Here at Century Residential, we understand how important it is to always put the needs of our clients first, and with their ideal budget in mind.

Fully Reliable

Once you’ve found your perfect property to rent, there is still a lot to be done. Our dedicated, local Kent staff will be with you every step of the way until the entire process is complete. From credit checking to employment status and all of the necessary paperwork in between, we work alongside you to help make sure you get the property you deserve. 

Are you looking to buy or rent a property? Get in touch with Century Residential Estate Agents to find out how we can help you today.

Home staging | Present your home for sale or let

The start of a new year typically brings a lot more properties to the market. We felt it would be a good idea to give you some tips on how to get the staging of your property right.

1. That lived in feel
We advise to keep your home clean and tidy, but ensure that your home has a “lived in” feel. Too much furniture can make your home look over-crowded, but too little furniture can give your home a cold feeling.

2. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Flowers
Whilst we wouldn’t encourage you to go over the top on flowers the odd bunch could prove to be effective. Not only will give off a lovely scent, it will also help with the photography too.

3. Selling a Lifestyle
Remember, you’re not just selling a home, you’re selling a lifestyle. Don’t over do it with furniture and hide the clutter. Viewers will always want to see how space will work for them, over doing it, or leaving clutter around could make it hard for viewers to see the space in any other way.

4. Temperature
It’s important that your home heated well, especially in the winter! If your home is cold, viewers won’t hang around! Equally, if your home is too hot, it could look like you’re trying to hard and be off putting.

5. Lighting
Make sure that there is sufficient lighting to your rooms. We would recommend ensuring that you allow as much natural light into your home as possible, pulling back curtains and tying up blinds. If you are relying on artificial light we would recommend ensuring that all lights are switched on before a perspective viewer arrives.

If you are thinking of selling or letting your home and would like more tips on how to present it, please contact our office on 01634 570057 or e-mail us at medway@crrealestate.flywheelsites.com

From Century residential Estate Agents in Gillingham, Kent

EFC | Energy Efficiency Regulations | 2015 | 2018

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (the Regulations) come into force on from 1 April 2018. Properties rented out in the private sector will be required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with a minimum energy performance rating of ‘E’.

It will be unlawful to rent out a property which does not have a minimum E rating unless the property has an exemption. While this seems to be an onerous requirement for landlords to comply with, it is not. Only appropriate, permissible and cost-effective improvements are required. At the moment, if the improvements cannot be funded or the landlord has carried out all possible improvements and the property still has an F rating, for example, exemptions will apply.

Breaches of the regulations could result in a civil penalty of up to £4,000.

Which properties are covered by the regulations?

The Regulations apply to domestic privately rented properties in England and Wales, let on relevant tenancies including those let on assured shorthold tenancies, which are legally required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Relevant tenancies include:

An assured tenancy (including an assured shorthold tenancy)
A regulated tenancy defined in the Rent Act 1977;
A domestic agricultural tenancy
A property is legally required to have an EPC where an owner or landlord has, on sale, letting or construction of a property been required to make an EPC available to the prospective buyer or tenant. A new EPC is also likely to be necessary if a building is modified to have more or fewer parts than it originally had and the modification includes the provision or extension of fixed services for heating, hot water, air conditioning or mechanical ventilation.

This means that where a property is let on a relevant tenancy type but is not legally required to have an EPC, the Regulations will not apply.

Where a property is legally required to have an EPC but is not let on a relevant tenancy, the Regulations will also not apply.

The Regulations will apply to all relevant new and renewed tenancies from 1 April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on from 1 April 2020.

Therefore from 1 April 2018, you will need an EPC with a rating of at least E for all new properties let and any tenancy renewals. This includes when a fixed term expires and a statutory periodic tenancy begins after the 1 April 2018.

What improvements does the landlord need to carry out?

If the property the landlord wishes to rent out currently has an F or G rating on a legally required EPC, then they must carry out energy efficiency improvements to bring the property up to an E rating before the property can be rented out unless the landlord qualifies for an exemption and registers that exemption on the Public Exemptions Register.

The requirements are not as onerous as they might seem at first glance. The regulations require only appropriate, permissible and cost-effective improvements to be carried out. Landlords are only required to carry out improvement works which can be completed at no cost to themselves. The main sources of no cost funding are the Green Deal, Eco help to heat funding and local authorities home energy efficiency grants. If the work cannot be carried out within the Green Deal golden rule then, an exemption will apply. This is under review any may be replaced with a cost cap in future.


Landlords will be eligible for an exemption from reaching the minimum standard where they can show that one of the following applies:

All ‘relevant energy efficiency improvements’ have been made – Where the landlord has made all the relevant energy efficient improvements that can be made and the property remains sub-standard.
Measures cannot be wholly financed – Where the landlord is unable to access relevant no cost funding to fully cover the cost of installing the recommended improvement(s).
Third Party Consent Exemption – Where the landlord is obliged to obtain a third party’s consent to undertake relevant improvements and consent was denied, or was provided with unreasonable conditions
Occupying Tenant Consent Exemption – Where the landlord requires consent from an occupying tenant, and the tenant withholds that consent. A tenant’s consent may not be required where the tenancy agreement allows the landlord to enter to carry out improvements (not just repairs).
Property Devaluation Exemption – Where measures required to improve the property are shown by a suitably qualified independent surveyor, as expected to cause a capital devaluation of the property of more than 5%. Only those measures that are expected to cause such devaluation would be exempt from installation.
Wall Insulation Exemption – no requirement to install wall insulation under the Regulations where the landlord has obtained written expert advice advising that it is not an appropriate improvement due to its potential negative impact on the fabric or structure of the property (or the building of which it is part).
Recent Landlord Exemption – in certain circumstances where a person becomes a landlord suddenly, a temporary exemption form the prohibition on letting a sub-standard property will last for six months after the date they became the landlord.
In all cases the exemption must be registered on the National PRS Exemptions Register.


Local authorities will enforce compliance with the regulations. Where a local authority suspects that a landlord with a property in scope of the regulations is not compliant or has not sufficiently proved and exemption, the local authority can serve a compliance notice on the landlord requesting further information.

If the information is not provided or is provided and is not sufficient to provide compliance, the local authority may then issue a penalty notice. Penalties for a single offence can be levied up to £4,000 depending on the offence. Further penalties may be awarded for non-compliance with the original penalty notice where a landlord continues to rent out the property. These penalties will be cumulative up to a maximum of £5,000.

Flats and Bedsits

For the purposes of the Regulations flats mean self-contained units within a building. Flats require their own individual EPC at the point of sale or letting. If a flat has its own mandatory EPC as well as the building containing the flat, then it is the EPC for the flat (not the building) which shows whether the minimum energy efficiency standard is met.

Non-self-contained units such as bedsits do not normally require an individual EPC. However, if the house containing the bedsit has been sold the whole property needs to have an EPC. In those cases, the Regulations will apply and the building will need to have an energy rating of E or above to allow the bedsit to be legally rented out.

Next Steps

Carry out a review of all properties you are renting out and check the EPC rating.
If the rating is E is above, you need take no further steps beyond noting the date of expiry so that a new EPC can be obtained when required.
If the rating is F or G, consider;
a. what works you need to carry out to meet the energy efficiency requirements can relevant improvements be installed at no cost to you? If no, register an exemption on PRS Exemptions Register.
b. how and when you can carry the works to meet the requirements Consider whether any other exemptions might apply as above. If so, register an exemption on PRS Exemptions Register.
c. if no exemptions apply consider by what date you will need to obtain the new rating to comply e.g. new tenancy or renewal date of existing tenancy.

UK housing market | Century Residential

Jamie Bartholomew Director for Century Residential reflects on last weeks election and the impact that it could have on the housing market.

It’s nearly a week since the shock news that there is a hung parliament with no party winning the required 326 seats to form a majority. Clearly the decision to call a snap general election has backfired with the original 15 percentage point margin between the two major parties in polls materialising as just a 3-percentage point margin.

There will be a period of uncertainty as the new government forms. We have a good idea of what a Conservative minority government may look like for the housing sector from analysing their manifesto and previous commitments.

At a time when instructions are scarce, fees are at an all-time low, conveyancing is taking longer than ever, and tenant fees are to be banned, the housing sector needs a government that understands the housing crisis and it needs to be a priority.

What should we expect from Teresa May and the Conservatives as the largest party in the House of Commons in the housing sector?

In a recent report it was alleged that a higher percentage of homeowners thought that the Tories policies were more relevant and sympathetic to homeowners, but do sales and lettings agents working in that sector feel the same?

Interestingly, I would be unsure how that debate would conclude, as recent changes to SDLT and proposed changes to lettings agents charging tenant fees, have been very unpopular.

So what should we all expect in the next four years?

It is very unlikely that the government will amend or reverse changes to Stamp Duty, why would they? It is raising extra income for the treasury. It is also cooling the UK housing market and reducing transactions levels enabling first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder.

The proposed tenant fee ban concluded its consultation process on the 2nd June and the outcome will be delivered shortly. I don’t expect any change in direction. The ban has already been implemented in Scotland and Wales and so it appears a foregone conclusion.

But the real elephant in the room is the announcement within the Tory party manifesto that they intend to hold a full housing review, with particular emphasis on the cost of moving. They intend to make it cheaper for customers. Although in the short term this may be sidelined by other priorities, at some point this pledge will be delivered.

Is there a vendetta against our sector? Or will the Conservatives be considered a party that estate agencies can rely on to produce policies for growth?

None of us know the answer to that. All I do know is that when the housing minister is appointed they need to get a holistic view of the challenges facing the UK housing market from the agent’s perspective.

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