Is there a whiff of change in the air?

Hilary Grayson

First thing Monday morning I tuned into Twitter, checked my emails and my diary – so far, so routine.  But then, over the second cup of coffee, something dawned on me.  I don’t think it was the caffeine kicking in - but I wonder if there is just a faint whiff of change in the air.

First of all I heard news via Twitter that My Home Move has had a busy start to Monday morning with lots of conveyancing instructions coming through from their agents.  Then I see, again via Twitter, that higher loan-to-value mortgages are making a steady return to the mortgage market. This will be welcome news to borrowers with small deposits, particularly first time buyers who have struggled to find products which meet their needs.  Next an email drops into my personal inbox from one of my ‘pet’ charities, Friends of the Earth, asking me to sign a joint letter to Chris Huhne asking him to introduce legislation to ensure that private rented properties meet a basic standard of energy efficiency from 2016. 

This all follows on from a very interesting previous week when, time and again, I heard the message that EPCs are not fit for purpose (building owners and occupiers cannot rely on them), that Green Deal will require more tailored advice to home owners and that Holiday Lets are going to require EPCs from 30th June.

Sifting through all of that, and I have merely skimmed the surface, there is a lot to take in, so why do I feel that there could be a bit of a change coming?

Well, the first sign of encouragement was the message that EPCs could not be relied upon.  I know that feels counter-intuitive when NHER and SAVA are inherently about quality, but the reason for my bullish optimism here is twofold.  First of all, that message came loud and clear from representation from the property sector itself (the British Property Federation and the Residential Landlords Association), the implication being that they want to be able to trust the content of EPCs and DECs.  Second, and more importantly, it suggests that, at last, rather than just complying with the letter of the, law people are actually looking at the EPC.  (This has been my complaint for a long time – that people were just not getting to see the EPC.)

Leading from that, and I admit that I am of a ‘glass half full’ disposition, must surely come recognition of the value the content of EPCs and then the days of the reverse auction must surely be numbered!

And could the ‘marketed sales’ market be improving?  If conveyancing instructions are increasing, that suggests that buyers are buying, sellers are selling and there will be more encouragement for new properties to come onto the market, meaning more EPCs. Looking elsewhere around twitter land, the messages are mixed (thanks Henry Pryor for telling us that the chances of selling this year have reduced and that less than 40% of sellers will find a buyer!), but My Home Move is suggesting that the build up to a buoyant spring market has begun! And who am I to disagree with Stephen Hayter?

Meanwhile, the various pieces of the Green Deal jigsaw, if not exactly ‘falling into place’ are at least beginning to emerge.  It seems the EPC, or an enhanced version of it, will be the starting point for Green Deal measures.  That takes us back to the quality issue again – if advise is going to come on the back of the EPC, then the EPC has to be fit for purpose!  Watch this space – as more information on ‘The Green Deal’ emerges, we will let you know.

So that is why I was sensing a whiff of change.  I agree, some of the ‘shoots of recovery’ (to borrow that well known phrase) are very delicate and will need a bit of tlc over the coming months, but let us hope the faint whiff turns into heady perfume.

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That whiff is heading to the Midlands - 40 conveyancing enquiries in TWO WEEKS!! 3 conveyancing jobs secured so far along with 3 HCS and a further half dozen pending.

With regard to EPC's ill leave these to the jeans and t shirt £15 a job merchants until the credibility of the EPC is restored.


Defiantly change in the air. I have been very busy doing Home Condition Surveys. The last 2, to 3 weeks have been crazy. I just hope it is not a freak surge.(Touch wood)or maybe keeping the faith and plenty of hard work is paying off.My concern at the moment is not to take on too much,high standards must be maintained.


This is all very positive news. I hope for both of you this pattern is retained. There is lots of negative information out there but fingers crossed for everyone.


"First of all, that message came loud and clear from representation from the property sector itself (the British Property Federation and the Residential Landlords Association), the implication being that they want to be able to trust the content of EPCs and DECs."
.....or is it a case that they are fed up paying for something that is of no interest, no value and is just another piece of unnecessary bureaucracy. Sorry, couldn't resist that one!
However, on the HCS front things are definitely looking up. 5 surveys in the next 5 days booked in and paid for.


Another 3 booked today.Its been a long haul marketing this product however the message is geting through and (fingers crossed)there appears to be an upturn in the market(for the moment at least)
As a foot note - Clients love the product!! Its easy to read and the photos bring it to life (Just 2 comments from clients)


AND another one booked....


Until the EPC is seen and used as a useful document we will have companies and individuals behaving with total disregard to its accuracy.


The Friends of the Earth campaign, with the letter to Chris Chris Huhne has my full support.

FoE are doing some great work pushing for greater energy efficiency; some of which DEAs could directly benefit from.

It is not just DEAs who see the benefit the EPC has at present and can be further developed in the future.

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