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Bargains – well yes and no – and let me explain why. To find a bargain you need to know the ‘market,' yet there is not one ‘property market' in the UK. The British property market is like a fly's eye - it looks one single lens but is in fact split into lots of fragmented pieces, and the same goes for the Runcorn property market. In fact, it can even come down to two streets adjacent to each other; one street selling like hot cakes for top dollar while the next street can stick at comparatively lower prices (i.e., if there is a school catchment boundary or differing postcode).

According to Coutts, property values in ‘Prime London' have dropped by 14.7% in the last five years. Looking closely at those stats and Prime London is considered anything within a 1,500m radius of Kensington High Street above £4.6m – a totally different world to the average property in Runcorn, which is worth just under £150,000 and has risen in value over those same five years by 24.8% - a different world!

I have noticed that the top end of the market above £400,000 in Runcorn and the surrounding areas is proving a little tougher to shift than a few years ago. This can't all be blamed on Brexit, as buyers have long been flinching at overestimated asking prices and excessive stamp duty rates.

In Runcorn, 24.1% of properties for sale have reduced their asking price in the last three months by an average of 6.7%

A lot less than the reductions that are being seen in central London. In fact, the property market in Runcorn is looking reasonably good with

47.2% of properties on the market in Runcorn being shown as under offer and Sold subject to contract

Interesting when compared with the aforementioned London Prime market where only 5.86% of the properties for sale are sold. Some bargains to be had there!

So, where are the bargains in Runcorn? Well, to start with, it’s all about knowing the local Runcorn market. It’s all about comparing and contrasting property, so to start with, check out the property web-portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove to see what’s for sale. The art here is to click on the ‘include Sold stc' in the filters, then arrange them in price order. Then you will get a feel for what properties are roughly selling for. Also look at recent sales, so in Rightmove click on ‘House Prices’ on the main menu, on the proceeding drop down menu click on ‘Find Sold House prices’ and now you can type in a street, or even a street plus 0.25miles/0.5miles. Click on ‘List View' and they are in date order. There is a similar function in Zoopla (feel free to contact me if you need a hand with that).

Then once you have found what you think is a bargain, view it. Ask the agent why the sellers are moving. By doing your research on the seller, seeing how long it has been on the market, whether they have reduced the asking price (if you ask an agent they have to tell you and by how much) — you could cut a better deal if they are compelled to sell. Push home your advantage, i.e. if you are a first-time buyer, don’t have a property to sell, chain free or cash purchaser, it can all make a difference.

Looking at the numbers above, some savvy Runcorn landlords and home buyers are taking advantage of the doom and gloom newspaper headlines as property owners’ expectations are probably at the lowest they have ever been since the credit crunch, especially if they are in the ‘got to sell’ category instead of the ‘would like to sell’ category.

Like anything in life, buying a property bargain comes down to putting the hard-work in, doing your homework and jumping at opportunities.