It could hardly be a more difficult time to sell houses. Sales at Aspire estate agents, which opened on Shirley Road 16 months ago, are nearly 80% down on last year and many other estate agents, including one of the 12 in the same street, have folded this year.
"I've been in the business for 12 years and this is the hardest year I've ever experienced," says managing director Steve Jones. "And solicitors I've spoken too who have been in the industry for 33 years say the same."
He says they are only making about one sale a week, when they should be doing three or four. But the lettings market is very busy and that's where the income is coming from.
The interest rate cut announced on Thursday could make a difference, he thinks, as long as lenders pass it on and widen the range of mortgages on offer.
Mr Jones is upbeat despite the gloomy outlook
"It's good news and if we can get to a position where the lenders start reducing their fixed rates, which we may see in the second quarter next year, we will see a lot more activity in the market place and lot more first-time-buyers coming through the front door."
Mr Jones remains positive and still enjoys his work immensely, especially as it's in a neighbourhood he knows intimately from his childhood.
"Shirley is generally vibrant and busy and it's become busier and busier in the last two or three years. It's a family market place, for people moving for the second or third time. But it also has first-time-buyers getting properties at the lower end of the market."
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