It’s the time of year when we start to take stock, reflect, reminisce and look forward to what the New Year might bring as we plan ahead for 2016. It’s also a time to praise the enormous energy and commitment, vitality and skill, dedication and professionalism which the company’s staff devote to the company each and every hour of every working day. Without the extraordinary contributions of our staff we would not be where we are today. Our growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. Our sales are up a staggering 31 per cent in 2014 which nobody could say was a poor year. And we are selling homes quicker than ever with the average time on the market dropping from three weeks last year to just one week in 2015.
These are the kind of result which motivate our staff and allows us to constantly strive to exceed client expectations. We believe that our figures speak for themselves and provide a truly remarkable illustration of what an outstanding year this has been for the company, but it’s not all been plain sailing. We anticipated problems through the new tiered Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) replaced Stamp Duty and after the expected short term boom at the top end of the market, we rightly called it when there was a significant downturn for this sector in the period after the changeover.
We said in March the new LBTT had been ill-thought, punitive and would only result in many buyers offering much less for properties at the higher end. Two different property tax systems North and South of the border is ludicrous and only creates confusion and divides the country. This has been borne out by bitter experience. Now we are well into the new regime the impact of the overhaul is clear to see, "There was a 15 per cent spike in home sales in the immediate run-up to the introduction of the new tax. The decline since has been quite dramatic and the outlook is not encouraging for higher value homes at the £500K+ level which are not in the most sought after areas, which will ultimately log jam properties down the line. However, the market remains active - even with Christmas fast approaching.
At this time of year, many traditional companies seem to almost go into hibernation, think the market is dead and switch off while awaiting the New Year, but that’s not the mindset which has got us where we are today. We will have staff available to speak with customers on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and all the way through the festive period. Did you know that last year Rightmove reported that there were more than 1 million visitors to their website on Christmas Day? More importantly, perhaps, they also reported that it’s from Boxing Day onwards when things really start to get exciting, with millions of people coming to Rightmove to find their next home over the Christmas holiday period.
This momentum carries on through into January and we will be on hand throughout this time to ensure we don’t miss a call. As we go into 2016 armed with our recent industry award wins, extremely talented team and impressive sales figures, we are feeling incredibly positive and excited about the first quarter of 2016.