Winter Journal 2015


2015 Round Up

January kicked off with higher enquiry levels compared to previous years, setting the pace for the rest of the year.


Spring saw many new instructions, high viewing levels and almost double the number of market appraisals – we really have been busy and it hasn’t slowed yet! Changes to Stamp Duty and the low interest rate definitely boosted fluidity in the market. The variety of properties being offered to the market was also greater, largely due to the increased number of planning applications being approved. Development opportunities have been rare in the last five years, but we have seen the re-entry of barns with planning to convert to dwellings and we have offered a number of building plots, for both single houses and multiple houses.


As night follows day there is an increase in the number of new build homes offered to the market. Armitstead Barnett was privileged to sell a number of small exclusive village developments including Bowland Gardens, Forton; Foundry Court, Treales; Carter Croft, Freckleton; The Bowlands, Garstang; The Laurels, Weeton; Homelands Court, Fulwood; Rectory Gardens, Croston; Abbeystead Gardens, Abbey Village; and Gleadhill Mews, Euxton.

We are also pleased to report renewed strength at the top of the market although most activity remains in the mid-price range. However, the property we have available covers a broad price range with property priced at £90,000 through to over £2,000,000. Our village and rural property remains the centre of our agency and we continue to deliver the very best property displays along with the high levels of service that you would expect from Armitstead Barnett.


We continue to use professional photography, floor plans and videoettes. We have updated our in house brochure to ensure that properties are well displayed and to take our sales details beyond those of our competitors to make our property stand out! We have certainly got people moving this year with some complicated transactions being handled with attention to detail and good client care. Our property internet displays are exceptionally important and we plan to continue to invest in online advertising.

Access to information is available 24/7 and Rightmove recently reported high levels of traffic to their website between Christmas and New Year – it is vital that we make the most of this so we are busily preparing NOW in readiness. The availability of information online seems to be reducing the former traditional spikes of the agency year.

We have some fantastic instructions coming soon to Armitstead Barnett – 2016 looks like it will be exciting!


Unusually in 2015 the rental market was constantly busy throughout the year without the usual quiet periods.

As properties for sale move, the rental market gains a wider range of tenants. While this allows landlords to find the right tenant for their property, it does mean that tenants must move fast and show themselves off as being a good tenant.

More and more regulations for landlords are becoming legal requirements meaning tenants are potentially being protected more than a homeowner.

Landlords now have a number of certificates and reports to provide to a tenant when they start a tenancy. While this can be annoying for landlords we believe it can actually benefit them by ensuring the property is as safe as required while a tenancy is in place.

If a tenant feels safe and secure they tend to keep a longer tenancy, providing a regular income for the landlord each month. Tenants must remember rental properties may cost more than an average mortgage but a rental payment covers the maintenance, upkeep, safety and security of the property compared to a mortgage which is purely for a property

Applying for a tenancy is also now more detailed than ever before but helps provide a landlord with reassurance. This is to benefit both landlord and tenant. If we feel the tenant cannot afford a property on the information provided we can avoid the stress of late or unpaid rent by stopping a tenancy from starting. A few extra checks can massively benefit in the long run.

We always encourage landlords to make improvements where necessary to ensure a good relationship is kept between the tenant and landlord but at the same time keep both landlord and tenant informed of their position in a tenancy.

Armitstead Barnett has a very detailed application process to ensure we are providing the best service possible. A good tenant is extremely important to a landlord so we have a simple approach by asking ourselves: “Would I like this tenant to live in my house?” We do not work on a first come first served basis, we work to make sure we can find a tenant suitable to the individual property.

If you are looking for a rental property or have a property that you are considering renting out, contact our Rentals Co-ordinator Leeann Stott on 01995 603 180


If you have land you are considering selling for development it is useful to know the factors that drive valuation. The valuation of development land is traditionally driven by four main factors:

1. The Gross Development Value is an estimate of the value of all the properties that are due to be constructed upon the land once they have been completed and this gives the total amount in capital that is generated from the sale of a site.

2. Profit is important to the developer and to their financiers. There are often industry standard figures quoted in this regard but as with any profit-related exercise, the profit demanded very much depends upon the risk at that time.

3. Demand is of course a very important factor. If there are no buyers then prices tend to be lower whereas if there are more buyers there can be competition. What we tend to find is that as demand increases for building land this is predominantly driven by demand for residential housing and this tends to mean that developers are willing to accept a smaller profit.

4. In recent times Building Costs have risen. The cost of bricks has risen from 45p to 65p per unit, cement has risen 19% particle board by a staggering 38% and even screws have gone up 2%. In addition to all of this, the lack of building in recent years has meant that a large number of homeowners are looking to create extensions rather than move house. The house building industry has now finally started to take off and this means that to cap it all there is also a lack of skilled trades people.

Overall this is a very positive picture but it is important to note that costs do continue to rise, which when accompanied by levies payable to local authorities and county council is having a negative effect on values at present.

We believe the tide will turn it is just question of when. Sources: Turner and Townsend; (figures for only part of the period) 2010. David Cowburn BSc (Hons) FRICS, FAAV, Partner, 01704 895 995


The role of Armitstead Barnett involves a lot more than simply marketing and selling properties – we also assess a wider variety of other issues relating to the valuation of property.

All of our reports are carried out to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors standard, known as the Red Book, and are used by a large variety of clients and businesses.

The types of valuations we regularly carry out include:

Secured Lending

These valuations are carried out on behalf of the Banks and Building Societies or Lending Institutions when a full inspection is carried out to allow the bank to calculate whether they are content with providing the property as security against the loan.

Valuation Plus

This is a special type of valuation only available at Armitstead Barnett. It provides a client purchasing a house without mortgage funding with a comprehensive commentary as to the condition and market valuation of the property to ensure that the purchase price is correct, and an insurance reinstatement value to ensure that the property, once purchased, is insured to the right level.


This valuation is carried out following a death and is of vital importance in assessing the value of assets to allow Probate to be granted. Due to our comprehensive understanding of the Inheritance Tax system, advice can be given to limit the exposure to this system of taxation and also allow assets to be passed to beneficiaries instead of incurring unnecessary taxation.


Should a relationship break down, we can undertake a valuation of property assets based on a joint instruction basis i.e. we act for both parties for a completely impartial way, taking into account the Court procedure rules, Part 35. A fair and accurate valuation can assist in the easy division of assets during an extremely stressful time.

Court Purposes

We regularly carry out valuations for purposes relating to matters which potentially may end up in a Court situation. Our honest and fair reports can assist in providing advice which often leads to settlement of the matter without the expense of legal proceedings, saving clients’ money and time.

Transfer linked with Inheritance Tax Planning

We work with solicitors and accountants to value assets to allow for transfer to children. This can be substantially more tax advantageous during the clients life, than on death. Consideration can be given in relation to the implications of Capital Gains Tax to assist where necessary to achieve tax liabilities. At Armitstead Barnett we provide honest, succinct and quality reports within short timescales to assist in all aspect of property valuation.


Autumn saw us welcome a few new faces to Armitstead Barnett, as well as one farewell.

Alice Morgan joined as trainee surveyor to work alongside David Cowburn and the rest of the team at the Burscough office. Alice is a recent graduate of the Royal Agricultural University Cirencester and is working towards becoming a chartered surveyor.

The Garstang office has also grown its numbers with the appointment of two new members of staff. Sarah Whitehead has joined as secretary to Richard Furnival and Rebecca Sleaford as property administrator We were sorry to say ‘goodbye’ to Jack Sharpe in October.

He worked out of the Burscough office as assistant surveyor and decided to explore pastures new in Cambridge to further his career. We wish him good luck.


We are delighted to announce the arrival of three gorgeous baby girls to join the expanding Armitstead Barnett Family.

Emma Hodkinson, Surveyor at our Garstang office, and husband Tim celebrated the arrival of their first child, Charlotte Grace in September. Beverley Greenwood, Sales Negotiator at Garstang and Fiancé Stacey, welcomed Isabella Ann in November. Finally, Partner Richard Furnival and his wife Delyth introduced their second daughter, Alys Ellen, to the world just in time for Christmas.

Congratulations to you all and best wishes for a fantastic Christmas with your beautiful daughters.


You may remember from our last newsletter that the Armitstead Barnett team organised a charity bike ride, covering 125 miles over two days, to raise money for our two chosen charities this year – Trinity Hospice in Blackpool and The Legacy Rainbow House in Mawdesley.

The ride took place on September 4th and 5th and luckily the weather was very kind on both days with plenty of sun and not too much wind.

The eight-strong Team AB set off from the firm’s office in the centre of Garstang and headed towards the most northerly point of the route at Crook O’ Lune. Some ‘hillier than expected’ roads were accompanied by stunning views and equally thrilling downhill sections. After regrouping for some homemade cake, the team progressed to the lunch time stop at The Cartford Inn at Little Eccleston. The onward journey continued to give excellent views of the Fylde Plain culminating in a pit stop at The Grapes in Wrea Green. The final lengths of the 70-mile section took the team through Treales, Woodplumpton, Bilsborrow and back up to Garstang.

Team AB started day two again from the Garstang office but this time a 55 mile route was planned taking the team in a southerly direction down the A6 and then easterly to Longridge. The team then headed back west joining the Guild Wheel with a stop in Avenham Park where a picnic lunch was provided by the supporters. From Preston City Centre the old tram road took the team out to Bamber Bridge, Whitestake Longton, Bretherton, Croston and Mawdesley before the team reached it’s final destination – the Burscough office – and then to the Hop Vine pub to round off an amazing journey.

Armitstead Barnett would like to give a big thank you to all our supporters who helped us reach our fund raising target of £1,000 for each charity. In fact we smashed this target and raised a total of over £3500 resulting in our Justgiving page being in the top 5% of fundraisers for September.


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