Matthew Hall, Site Manager Hale Construction

Construction company’s award winning Site Manager finishes runner-up at prestigious LABC Awards

Swansea’s largest independent estate agent Dawsons has even more reason to be delighted to act as Preferred Agent for Hale Homes, who have an award winner in their team. Matthew Hall, Site Manager at Hale Construction, finished runner-up at the prestigious LABC Warranty National Site Manager Awards 2014.

Matthew was announced Regional Winner of the LABC (Local Authority Building Control) Awards for Wales, and recently attended the grand finals held on 11th November in London. The latest development managed by Matthew is Bethany Lane, situated just off Mumbles Road.

This site is testament to his great work for Hale Construction, a family-run company that now delivers major construction projects not only for themselves, but also on behalf of companies such as Bluestone National Park Resort, Jehu Group and Waterstone Homes. They also build for various housing associations across the south west Wales region including Grŵp Gwalia, United Welsh Housing Association, Coastal Housing Group and Melin Homes.

“I’m very pleased to have won the regional award and finishing runner-up in the finals is an excellent achievement too! Attending the finals in London was a great honour, and I am very proud to be part of the team at Hale Construction,” said Matthew, who recently ran a 10k race which coincidentally went past the Bethany Lane site. Matthew raised £350 for Crohn’s & Colitis UK and The Brain Tumour Charity.

Bethany Lane consists of 10 individually designed, detached homes of exceptional quality and unrivalled specification. The development has certainly caught the attention of local home buyers as only two five-bedroom properties remain on its first phase release with prices from £625,000. The second phase is due for release in early 2015, which will compriseof a further four individual homes with a bespoke internal build available, depending on build stage at reservation. With easy access to the promenade and just a short stroll from Mumbles, the development occupies an ideal setting.

Matthewwon the award for Hale’s prestigious Harbour View development. Located in the SA1 area of Swansea, the development comprises of 30 three and four-bedroom townhouses, which are all now sold. Poplars Drive in Skewen is another current Hale development. The first phase consists of a range of three and four bedroom houses along with two and three bedroom bungalows. Prices start at £179,950.

Dawsons’ Partner Tim Kostromin commented: “This award is well deserved by Matthew and it is of little surprise knowing the way in which Hale Construction works that this has been awarded to a member of their team.”

To arrange a viewing at Bethany Lane please call Dawsons on 01792 653100 or Ruth Jones from Hale Homes on 01792 462877.

Oliver Adair MAB

How will the new loan-to-income cap affect first time buyers?

Increasing house prices, restrictive lending and rising deposits have all been problems faced by first-time buyers in recent years. So, with the new loan-to-income cap now in place, how are newcomers to the market going to be affected?
Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, reveals how the cap will impact on the currently thriving first time buyer market.
“Recent figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showed that first-time buyer numbers were at a six-year high, showing that a once impossible market has rebuilt itself to become a competitive arena once again,” said Oliver Adair from Mortgage Advice Bureau.
“Now, thanks to the Mortgage Market Review (MMR), responsible lending is at the forefront of the industry and each lender has been monitoring their affordability limits closely in light of the recovery of the sector.”
Enforced at the beginning of October, the loan-to-income (LTI) cap began when the Bank of England stated that loans over 4.5 times the income of the buyer must account for no more than 15% of a lender’s new lending total.
“Affordability remains the most important factor when assessing a potential borrower and every lender will have its own procedures to carry out to determine how the caps are implemented,” added Oliver.
Despite the added regulatory changes, the number of first time buyers rose by 27% in the first half of this year, and with the Help to Buy scheme, increasing employment levels and growth in higher loan-to-value lending, the confidence in the market may potentially overpower any effects the LTI cap will have in the coming months.
“The effect of the cap on the market and on the first-time buyer arena in particular will continue to be a topic of discussion until the cap has settled and we can see what difference, if any, it will have made,” concluded Oliver.
For further information please contact Oliver on 07917 146 430 or email Alternatively, please visit


Chris Hope, Dawsons Senior Director

Nationwide survey settles the debate on buying versus renting

According to a recent estate agency survey, with interest rates still at an all-time low at the moment, buying a property is still cheaper than renting one.

Conducted by Relocation Agent Network, of which independent agent Dawsons is a member, the survey revealed that not only is it cheaper to buy, but you could make significant savings. Relocation Agent Network, a national network of independent estate agents, asked its members whether it was cheaper to buy or rent a property over the course of a calendar year. 87.5% said that it was cheaper to buy.

Christopher Hope, Property Partner from Swansea Relocation Agent Network member Dawsons, said, “This survey shows us that buying really is the preferred option when it comes to making cost savings.”

The national survey also looked at the possible savings you could make when buying a property instead of renting.

Based on a three-bedroom house, members were asked what they estimated the annual saving was from buying a property instead of renting. Over a third (33.85%) stated that it was possible to save up to £1,500 a year by purchasing a three-bedroom house instead of renting.

“At Dawsons, we understand that some people are renting because it’s their favoured method. Whilst others simply can’t get onto the property ladder – the so called ‘trapped tenants’ – but we’re here to help and actively guide all our clients through the buying process. Contact us today to discuss your options.”

Are you prepared for the interest rate rise on your mortgage?

David Treharne
David Treharne

For the first time in five years, industry experts have admitted that there is a growing chance that we will see a base rate rise within the next six months. And, after the vote was declared ‘no’ for Scottish independence, some have suggested that there could even be a rise before the end of this year, though this remains unlikely.

Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, answers the all-important questions on every homeowner and prospective buyer’s lips, giving you the facts you need to decide what to do with your mortgage before interest rates rise.

With these mixed messages surrounding the rise, borrowers are left wondering what would happen if they were to buy a house or remortgage before the end of the year. Considering whether now is the time to fix or remortgage is a question that many are asking in the midst of current market conditions and with rumours of interest rate rises certain to become a reality.

“The obvious answer to that question depends on your individual circumstances and you should always seek advice from a professional adviser when deciding,” said David Treharne from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

“If you are currently running on tight funds and are on a variable rate, then you may find it difficult to manage with any increased monthly payments when rates rise. Remortgaging to a fixed rate will give you the reliability and peace of mind of having to make the same payment each month.”

Those with a low variable rate however, should consider staying with their current mortgage deal if they are able to afford the effect of some of the rate rises to come.

According to a survey carried out by Principality Building Society, only 48% of homeowners in England and Wales know what interest rate they are paying on their current mortgage.

“Taking this into consideration, it is imperative that you prepare in advance when making the choice on what to do. Find out what mortgage deal you are currently on and what interest rate you are currently paying over how many years. Start this process approximately six months ahead of when you are looking at the possibility of changing, rather than leaving it until the last minute when rates have already increased,” concluded David.

For further information please contact David on 07501 720320 or email Alternatively, please visit

There will be a fee for mortgage advice, which is dependent on your circumstances. The fee is up to 1%, but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.

L-R Chris Hope Senior Partner Dawsons and David Maternaghan MD, LEDs4ME

Leading estate agent boosts its green credentials with cutting edge LED lighting

Wales’ silver award winning estate agent Dawsons has pledged to slash its carbon footprint by installing brand new LED lighting across all eight of its sales branches.

The introduction of this new technology will reduce energy consumption as well as slash their energy and maintenance costs, harnessing excellent benefits for the planet and the company’s balance sheet.

“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and after discovering that our lighting accounted for a third of our energy usage, we just had to take action. The lighting upgrades aren’t just about reducing costs, the new LED lights will also create a better working environment for our staff. LED lighting is reportedly flicker free, whilst the easy to use mood settings ensure we can avoid the harsh lighting that make commercial premises uninviting to visiting customers,” said Chris Hope, Senior Partner at Dawsons.

Swansea-based LED designer and manufacturer LEDs4ME will carry out the installations. Dawsons’ Morriston branch has now been fully retrofitted, whilst work is underway at their remaining branches to ensure each office can fulfil the goals of the company’s new energy saving plan.

David Maternaghan, Managing Director at LEDs4ME, added: “LED technology has evolved dramatically in recent years and it now offers businesses like Dawsons the ultimate solution to cutting costs and reducing their energy outgoings. With a 7 to 10 year lifespan, LED lighting also provides a long-term option to any business’ lighting needs. When they do reach the end of this lifespan LED lights don’t release harmful lead and mercury found in many incandescent tubes, which reduces environmental impact further.”


South West Wales Estate Agents add expertise to Agents’ Mutual

Leading Estate Agents from across South West Wales are putting their collective weight behind Agents’ Mutual, a new online property portal set to compete with Zoopla and Rightmove.

So far 115 agents (effectively 85% of all agents) including Astleys, Carter Phillips, Clee Tomkinson Francis, Dawsons, John Francis and Fresh, from across the region have committed to join OTM and will be moving away from either Rightmove or Zoopla.

Therefore the new portal will immediately become the carrier showing the most properties in this area. This is a major change and a significant development for those interested in buying or selling property.

Agents’ Mutual is set to launch its UK-wide website with the domain name ‘’ in January 2015 with around 4,000 agencies already recruited.

Unlike its competitors, Agents’ Mutual will be 100% agent owned and there is a consensus among agents that ‘’ will be give their client base more choice.

“This is a chance to support and play an active part to developing what is expected to be, the country’s ‘most complete’ property portal, which doesn’t happen very often and Dawsons along with the majority of Swansea agents have signed up to make sure the public get the best property portal,” said Dawsons Senior Partner Christopher Hope.

“The clear advantage of this portal over others, will be the genuine opportunity for clients to see the largest available choice of homes at the click of a button.”

Nigel Jones, Director at Astleys, is confident ‘’ will present more than adequate competition for Zoopla and Rightmove.

“It will be a website designed by agents for buyers and sellers. There will be no subliminal adverts or distractions just properties. This will give a better user experience to clients and customers. It is also the only property portal to be endorsed by the National Association of Estate Agents,” said Nigel.

“The impact of these portals have revolutionised the way buyers and sellers search for properties but this duopoly exercise too much influence and the market needs a further portal offering a different and clearer message.”

Matthew Wiggall, Director at Fresh, said: “The introduction of ‘’ is hugely exciting and a welcome change for property agents. We at Fresh have been a supporter from an early stage and firmly believe it will quickly become the public’s first choice to search for properties after its launch in January 2015″.

James Phillips, Director at Carter Phillips, and Neil Jones, Business Development Manager at Clee Tompkinson Francis, agree Agents’ Mutual will provide legitimate competition for the other property portals.

“It is great we as agents have come together to create this portal in competition to Rightmove and Zoopla and the plan is that it will become a one-stop-shop for our customers. We need this in the marketplace,” said James.

Neil added:“Agents’ Mutual will provide a property-search service to agents, their clients and the property-seeking public which is not driven by the narrow requirement of maximising returns to shareholders.

“All the profits will be put back to improve the portal or keeping advertising fees as low as possible. That is the key.”

That is a view backed up by Paul Beaton, Director at Astleys. “The site will be run by agents and we feel that will work better for agents not onlyin this part of Wales, but across the country. It gives us more control on the marketing of the site.”

Former CEO of Primelocation, Ian Springett, has been appointed Chief Executive ahead of the portal’s launch.

“We’re delighted that over 100 quality estate and letting agencies across south-west Wales have signed up with us. Their collective support is a resounding vote of confidence and a major boost to our market strength in Wales,” said Ian.

“We’ll be hitting the ground running in South West Wales as soon as we launch in January 2015 and I’m confident that such a strong strategic message of commitment will also serve as yet another tipping point for many other independent firms to join us to create a winning portal that serves all agents across the UK.”


Becoming an estate agent proves to be the nation’s top career move

As the market continues to gain traction, Dawsons has revealed a new industry focus as the role of an estate agent becomes the nation’s hottest property.

The award winning estate agent has recently recruited five new employees, each of which will take on a ‘Saturday negotiator’ position at one of Dawsons’ 13 branches.

“Welcoming five new members to the team shows a new level of respect for becoming an estate agent. All of our new starters are passionate about pursuing their positions as a long-term career, and for some it can offer the perfect route to getting back to work after having a family,” said Chris Hope, Senior Partner at Dawsons.

Graduate Myles Ellis Thomas is one of the new starters that has recently joined the Dawsons team. After studying law at the University of Leicester, Myles returned to his hometown of Cardiff and applied to Dawsons soon after. As a Welsh and French speaker, the Dawsons team will not only benefit from his legal expertise but also his multi-linguistic talents to reach a wider range of customers.

Myles added: “Despite only being with the company for the past few weeks, I’m really enjoying the training to become proficient with the varied workload aspects that this industry has to offer. No two days are the same, and it’s a great feeling to help find a buyer that special place that they can call home.”

Katie Skilton is a young mum who’s joined Dawsons Morriston office, to be trained as a ‘Saturday negotiator’. ‘I’m delighted to have the chance to get back into work and within a company who offer great career opportunities of full time work when I feel I’m ready’

“As the industry changes and the role of the estate agent enjoys higher respect, myself and the rest of the Dawsons team look forward to watching our company and the wider industry grow and develop further,” concluded Chris.

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Award winning estate agent sponsors exclusive event to raise funds for inspirational South African building project

Wales’ silver award winning estate agent Dawsons has sponsored a fundraising dinner to show their continued support to the Making Swansea Proud Initiative.

The Making Swansea Proud Initiative was set up in 2008 to support the Niall Mellon Township, which already holds a special place in the company’s heart. Members of the Dawsons team, including Senior Partner Chris Hope and his son Tom, have personally volunteered with the trust in the past.

This longstanding relationship has seen Dawsons continually support the Making Swansea Proud initiative, which has seen a staggering £50,000 raised by the people of Swansea for the project. Together with eight-time volunteer Brad Wood, five-time volunteer Andrew Thomas and former Dawsons employee Natasha Gallivan, the team will be hosting a gala dinner at Swansea’s Marriott hotel on the 12th September, where they are looking to raise a further £10,000 to help build a school in South Africa.

“The charity deliver blitz building projects and volunteers can have a real hands on experience to help build homes and schools for impoverished families in Nelson Mandela’s native Eastern Cape. Their work is fundamental to building a better South Africa and we as a business are proud to support this initiative. Whilst I can’t volunteer in person this year – fingers crossed for next year though – Natasha and Andy will be putting on their overalls and hammering away during this November’s trip,” said Chris.

The charity has been responsible for building 25,000 homes in South African townships meaning 120,000 people could be rehomed. Their most recent project saw them move from housing to education and in March 2014 volunteers spent a week at a school in Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town, improving facilities for over 300 pupils.

Chris added: “A flurry of generous donations from the Swansea community meant we could donate £5,000 to their Cape Town project and we are delighted that our employees, like Tom and Natasha, have an avenue to achieve some of their personal goals. Natasha has played a key role in organising this dinner, which we are also particularly proud of and we hope that the fundraising dinner will mean many more projects can go ahead for the charity.”

The dinner will see Swansea University’s Professor Marc Clement and charity Founder Niall Mellon deliver inspirational talks.

Tickets for the dinner are priced at £495 per table or £50 a head. Ticket prices include a three course dinner, wine, entertainment and a ‘money can’t buy’ raffle and auction, consisting of prizes donated by an array of generous local trades and individuals. Please call Dawsons on 01792 641035 to purchase your tickets.

David Treharne

Could letting out your property provide the extra income you need?

Whether you are new to the buy-to-let scene or an experienced landlord, fully understanding the ins and outs of buy-to-let mortgages is essential when managing your property portfolio. Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, offers the ultimate guide to letting out your property.

There are two main ways that buy-to-let properties can make you money. Capital growth is where the value of your property increases over a period of time, and while property value can increase, it is important to remember that it can also come back down as local house prices and market conditions fluctuate. The alternative way is via rental income, which is the amount of money that you receive from your tenant.

“It is not uncommon for someone to become a landlord accidentally. You may meet a new partner and move in with them whilst keeping your own to rent. You may have to move abroad to work but want to keep your home in the UK, or you may simply have difficulty selling your property. If this is the case, there are certain steps you should take when making the decision to turn your home into an investment,” said David Treharne from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

Telling your mortgage lender about your change in circumstances may sound simple, however, many would-be landlords overlook this. Your lender needs to give you formal ‘consent to let’ before you can let out your property, which may mean a higher buy-to-let interest rate. Whether you are opting for the most common form of tenancy, Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST), or an alternative, failing to notify your lender will put you in breach of your mortgage agreement.

Telling your insurer is also integral to your success as a landlord. Your standard Buildings and Contents insurance policy will not cover you if the property is to be let out. Instead those looking to let their property should take out specific Landlord’s Insurance.

David added: “Seeking assistance from a letting agent is advised, and an experienced agent can help you set yourself up as a landlord or manage your property for a small fee. Your agent will be able to advise on buy-to-let mortgages, which operate in a very similar way to a residential mortgages. Despite having similar rates, fees and charges, a buy-to-let mortgage does have a few key differences.”

Mortgage interest rates for these types of mortgages tend to be higher than those for residential mortgages on your home, and the loan-to-value (LTV) is generally lower. Affordability is also assessed differently; whilst employment income, benefits and a combination of other sources are used to evaluate your ability to repay the loan, income is assessed as a percentage of your mortgage payment which is usually at least 125%.

“To explain, if your mortgage payment is £700, you would need to attain rent of at least £875. It is important to note that the rental value of your property would need to be confirmed by a surveyor.”

There are also different taxes with a buy-to-let mortgage, Stamp Duty has to be paid on a purchase of any property worth more than £125,000, but you may also have to pay Income Tax on the rent you receive and Capital Gains Tax when you come to sell the property. You must state your rental income on a Self-Assessment Tax Return but you can take off costs such as mortgage interest and letting agency fees from the rent before you declare your income.

Maintenance costs, annual safety checks, Landlord’s Insurance and Rent Insurance are all costs that need to be considered, even though they may not be taken into account by the mortgage lender.

“Landlords with more than one property should also seek independent advice as some lenders will only lend on properties valued above a certain level. Although this is usually around £40-50,000, there are some that specify minimum valuations at a level of £100,000 and above. Some also restrict the number of properties you can own or the maximum amount that they will lend to you in total,” concluded David.

For further information please contact David on 07501 720320 or email Alternatively, please visit


David Parton 2

Booming property market results in period of growth and expansion for leading estate agency

Swansea’s largest independent estate agent undergoes dramatic growth and expansion and after recent success at The Lettings Agency of the Year Awards 2014 Dawsons has been looking in on itself to find those individuals who can continue this success.

One such individual is David Parton who is progressing from Office Manager to full Branch Manager. David will now be moving from Dawsons’ Mumbles branch to take on his new role at the Killay office. The new position is symptomatic of Dawsons’ progress and reliance on committed, professional staff. David’s tried and tested methods during 8 years with the Mumbles team is proof of the winning qualities needed to steer the way to future successes in the buoyant property market of recent times.

“I have gained some fantastic experience as Office Manager at our Mumbles branch as well as an extensive knowledge of the local market. I look forward to the change of area and getting my teeth into the challenges that lay ahead,’’ added David.

“I am delighted to announce the promotion of David Parton, each of which have developed within the business. Myself and the rest of the Dawsons team look forward to watching them advance further,” – Christopher Hope, Senior Partner at Dawsons.

Swansea & south Wales estate agents blog