At the beginning of the summer, Caxtons fielded a very fit team of eight runners to take part in the Run Hackney Half Marathon in aid of the company's chosen charity, Heart of Kent Hospice (HOKH).
The team, consisting of associate director Charlotte Bland, MD Neil Chatterton, accounts clerk Rachel Meredith, building consultant Peter Munns, commercial negotiator James Squire, block property manager Scott McKenzie, graduate building surveyor Thomas Foster and Jack Edwards were all sponsored by remarkably supportive clients, business partners, family, friends and colleagues.
The team was incredibly grateful to all who sponsored them and, having collected in all of the promised monies, they subsequently presented a cheque for a magnificent £4,274.62 to Sarah Pugh, Chief Executive of HOKH, who was delighted with their 'amazing achievement'.
Charlotte Bland, organiser and a team member said, "We had trained hard and were thoroughly prepared for anything – or so we thought. However, we hadn't factored in such baking hot weather conditions!
"Following the race there were reports of up to twenty-five runners requiring medical attention due to collapse in the soaring temperatures. Fortunately, we all managed to complete the course and Peter Munns and Jack Edwards did it in a great time of 1:58:43 and 1:59:43 respectively, with Managing Director Neil Chatterton close on their heals at just 2:08:54.
"We would like to pass on a huge thank you to all who supported and sponsored us in this challenge both from Caxtons and Heart of Kent Hospice. The funds have gone to a truly worthy cause."
The team has already discussed taking on more challenges but have decided that one half marathon a year is enough!
Half of the team prior to the race: (l to r) Neil Chatterton,
Rachel Meredith, Charlotte Bland and Thomas Foster
(l to r) Sarah Pugh receiving the cheque for £4,274.62 from
James Squire and Neil Chatterton outside Heart of Kent Hospice
It's happened. The UK has, in the majority, voted to leave the EU. What wasn't quite so predictable was the resignation of the Prime Minister. So what now? A Tory Party leadership race throughout the summer and new Prime Minister by the autumn.
After a long, hard fought and sometimes bloody battle the metaphorical war has been won. Some would say by dye in the wool old fogies whose heads were firmly fixed in the sand and the twentieth century, whilst others that Brexit voters were the brave pioneers, the backbone of what the British Isles was founded upon.
What impact will this have on the property sector? Initially the markets plummeted and Sterling dropped against the US dollar. While 'nobody knows' is a phrase that may be heard often over the coming months and years, in truth the following is still speculation, researched, gathered and repeated comment from property pundits over the past months; but it may help to give a broad overview of what might happen in the near(ish) future.
However, what everyone agrees upon is that uncertainty reigns.
In the months running up to the referendum we saw a change in areas of the property sector that may have been a flash in the pan but could herald a permanent change.
Some of the larger institutional investors held back from committing to sizeable commercial purchases, which provided a window for smaller investors to gain a foothold in London and other major cities around the country.
In referendum week, Rightmove reported that the residential housing market achieved a milestone in May 2016, with properties selling in an average of 57 days – the fastest time recorded over the previous twelve months.
Once things have quietened down, the supply and demand aspect of the home-grown domestic property market suggests there may be little or no change post Brexit. People in Lincolnshire will still buy and rent property and so the merry-go-round will continue. Of course if interest rates go up it will make life tough for those who did not factor in rate increases when they took out their mortgage.
Investors in buy-to-let property already incorporate the affects of additional stamp duty on second properties and
London is an anomaly. The top end of this particular market has been shaped by foreign investors - often buy-to-leavers, who purchase with confidence of an ever-increasing return and a safe haven for their money - but in the past few months it has seen prices fall as fewer buyers fight for their piece of the golden goose.
Many may welcome this slowdown and view it as an adjustment to an overheated market. Wealthy Europeans may no longer chose to invest in the London Property market - but then again they may come back in their droves – nobody really knows?
The property sector has always been influenced by the economy in general and uncertainty is not a climate in which to make major decisions, so the outcome of our exiting the EU will be dependent upon how inventive we can be as a nation to 'go it alone'.
We must all remember that property is a long-term investment and that prices can go down as well as up. Whilst there may be a short-term shock to the sector, over the medium and longer-term prices and yields will adjust and it is supply and demand that drives the property market.
In amongst all the uncertainty, and in the run-up to the vote, Société Générale confirmed that it was signing on a further 8,000 square feet at its current site in St James Square and is committed to a new and larger Canary Wharf office with a move-in date in 2019.
Banks still need to lend and businesses and individuals still need to borrow. In London developers may decide to build for the home market rather than overseas investors; in the rest of the country there may be an easing of bottlenecks caused by the Freedom of Movement of Workers, which is a fundamental principle of the Treaty enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. But all this is speculation.
Who can predict whether or not we will become the go-to country for foreign property investment? Add to that the attraction of a country on the doorstep of Europe and not bound by the red tape of numerous regulations? Nobody knows.
We will survive.
The Government and Bank of England seem to have used every weapon in their armoury to quell the appetite of buy-to-let landlords snapping up residential properties. They are determined to stop what they see as a root cause of inflated house prices and lack of available residential property for first time buyers.
Both the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) have voiced their dismay at what they regard as a series of measures that will further damage the residential rentals market.
There are fears that the additional stamp duty land tax (SDLT) premium of 3% on top of normal stamp duty rates for second homes will deter private buy-to-let landlords from investing. In addition, there are concerns that the phasing out of mortgage interest relief, which begins in 2017, will push rents to unaffordable levels.
One proposal, put forward by the Bank of England, is to tighten up the rules for new landlords hoping to obtain a buy-to-let mortgage. This would require residential rental income to cover mortgage outgoings, thus applying the brakes on the number of buy-to-let mortgages approved.
In an effort to beat the system there was a rush to purchase property in advance of the new stamp duty land tax being implemented.
Alan Stewart, director; Head of Residential Lettings; Management at Kent chartered surveyors Caxtons said: "The Government and the Bank of England are introducing new initiatives in an effort to slow the buy-to-let market and realign the residential property market. But it seems there is little anyone can do to quell the enthusiasm of buyers in this sector.
"Following an earlier change to restrictions on the use of pension funds, many new landlords are liberating funds to purchase what they consider to be a reliable long-term investment and interim income stream for their retirement."
Alan continued: "Saving for a reasonable deposit makes it difficult for first-time buyers to get on to the property ladder. The Government's attempts to cool the market suggests they believe buy-to-let landlords and first time buyers are chasing the same properties – and that generally, landlords win. Ergo there is a supply and demand issue that is proving difficult to resolve.
"Then there is a lack of affordable housing stock right across the country but more specifically in overcrowded conurbations, particularly in London and the South East. Would-be first-time buyers thus have little alternative than to rent. This, in turn, feeds the demand for rental property, which results in higher rents."
The Bank of England is concerned that if there were another financial downturn, second homeowners would offload properties en masse in order to realise their assets, thereby causing a housing crash similar to that experienced in the last recession.
The expectation is that the combination of a stamp duty increase, withdrawal of mortgage interest relief and a tightening up of mortgage approvals will all contribute to a slow down in the buy-to-let market, resulting in more affordable first-time property prices.
But while there is such disparity between house prices and income there is little or no hope of a change in the need for landlords and more rental properties. Only a balance in supply and demand will level the playing field.