London Market Comment Spring 2015

The new domestic London market

“The prime south west London market couldn’t look more different than it did a year ago,” says Sara Ransom of Stacks Property Search.

“In prime areas such as Battersea, Clapham, Wandsworth and Chiswick, prices aren’t dissimilar, but the terrible shortage is a thing of the past. The market is less volatile, and domestic purchasers dominate; whereas a year ago the market was dictated by investment buyers, with buy-to-live purchasers struggling to make an impact.

“Early in 2014, buyers would have to compete with numerous competitive bidders, and properties were achieving up to as much as 15% above asking price. Successful buyers were using cash – those who needed finance weren’t getting a look in.

“The return of domestic buyers means that property is taking longer to sell. Surveyors and solicitors are required to undertake more due diligence, so where property was taking 2 or 3 weeks to exchange contracts a year ago, the average is now around 3 to 4 weeks.

“While the market is more grounded, and prices are more stable, there is plenty of momentum, and there’s little sign of anything slowing down for Easter or the election. Our expectation is that it will gear up post-election as we don’t forsee any political scenario that might adversely affect the market.

“One of the biggest hurdles for any buyer is now finance. Buyers really need to be on the case well in advance of finding a property as the process is becoming more and more protracted. The difficulty is exacerbated because mortgage companies are reluctant to talk in ‘principle’ any longer. And there are some mortgage companies that are gaining a reputation for approving finance then pulling out further down the line. Another difficulty is that mortgage companies are insisting that borrowers use a solicitor that is on their approved panel, so you will need to check this before appointing a solicitor.

“Buyers should also be aware that it’s difficult to get more finance for improvements, so buying a property that needs renovating is tricky unless you have a substantial deposit.

“My advice would be to seek out potential for future improvement rather than property that has an urgent need of refurbishment. Remarkably, there are good examples of property that offers this kind of promise. For instance, adding a loft conversion to the pretty cottages on the Shaftesbury Estate in Battersea, resulting in three bedrooms instead of two, can add around £100,000 to the value, while the cost of the work is about £50,000.

“Take plenty of time to research and understand the market, and the individual pockets within areas. Prices can vary by as much as 10%-15% street by street. And don’t dismiss areas without doing some pavement explorations – London changes so quickly, and areas that would have been decidedly ‘no-go’ three years ago, are suddenly hugely desirable. Turnham Green is the new Northcote Road, and Ealing and Acton are the new Clapham.

“Generally south west London popularity, and prices, are driven by transport. But there are exceptions, such as Battersea, where your best option is, and always has been, a bike. Come the opening of the Northern Line extension in 2020, who knows what will happen to prices and rental yields.

“Use more head than heart and don’t be rushed. Take a week to see something several times if you want, and don’t take a view just because you’re desperate. If one property doesn’t work for you, there’ll be another one coming along, and it won’t have increased in price by 5% in the meantime.

“Try not to rule things out. Keep an open mind and consider properties that could be adapted to suit your needs.

“Don’t be afraid to flaunt your assets. If you’ve got cash, you are a very attractive proposition, so make the most of your strong position and expect a discount on the basis you won’t have to go through the pain of obtaining finance.”

Stacks Property Search & Acquisition, London office, 020 7458 4155.

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2018-11-21T12:54:09+00:00
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It is not often that one is pleased to part with money but I can truthfully say that I am on this occasion. You have earned every penny of this cheque and what is more, you have done it with great courtesy and good humour. It has been very pleasant working with you. You really did take most of the stress out of our house hunting.

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"I have been delighted with the service I have received from Stacks and will not hesitate to recommend Stacks in the future. It is not often that one is pleased to part with money but I can truthfully say that I am on this occasion. You have earned every penny of this cheque and what is more, you have done it with great courtesy and good humour. It has been very pleasant working with you. You really did take most of the stress out of our house hunting. Stacks’ performance on this assignment has been absolutely outstanding and more than met my expectations. Her understanding of the brief and the ‘after-find’ service set a standard of professionalism that I have not met before"
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“We want to thank you so much for the very professional and sensitive support you have given us in navigating through the various properties we have considered for investment of our small inheritance.”
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2018-11-21T13:12:00+00:00
"We were in a tricky housing situation, looking to buy a very specific type of house and needing to find it in a very specific time frame"
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2020-01-13T11:52:01+00:00
"You gave a much-valued ‘younger’ perspective on our situation, which was a real asset"
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2018-11-21T12:37:14+00:00
"found us a home in a sought-after area with a high demand for properties and very little on offer"
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2018-11-21T12:58:19+00:00
"They've been a close and very helpful part of our discussions with everybody. When you’re new to a town and an area, that’s priceless."
"Would not hesitate to use you again."
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"Would not hesitate to use you again."
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
2018-11-21T12:53:20+00:00
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
"Without somebody on the ground asking the right questions on our behalf, finding a home would have been truly impossible."
2018-11-21T13:15:37+00:00
"Without somebody on the ground asking the right questions on our behalf, finding a home would have been truly impossible."
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2018-11-21T12:28:29+00:00
"carried out with discretion"
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2018-11-21T13:17:15+00:00
"You have an empathetic approach which, added to your knowledge and wise guidance, has made the whole thing a lot less stressful"
“Thank you very much.  We are very excited on the purchase of the flat as well.  Sara has been instrumental in every aspect, we are blessed to have her on our side.
2019-12-06T09:48:50+00:00
“Thank you very much.  We are very excited on the purchase of the flat as well.  Sara has been instrumental in every aspect, we are blessed to have her on our side.”
"I would recommend using Stacks as they are well connected to the property market and provide a realistic assessment of activity and pricing."
2018-11-21T12:45:49+00:00
"I would recommend using Stacks as they are well connected to the property market and provide a realistic assessment of activity and pricing."
"Stacks were a tremendous help and we would never have found our home without them. She is a lovely person with a great sense of humour which was essential during some of our tricky negotiations"
2020-01-13T11:52:24+00:00
"Stacks were a tremendous help and we would never have found our home without them. She is a lovely person with a great sense of humour which was essential during some of our tricky negotiations"
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2018-11-21T13:20:39+00:00
"You we able to give us confidence that we were doing the right thing"
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2018-11-21T13:13:46+00:00
"We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to anyone thinking of using such a service"
"Despite other interested parties, Stacks were able to help us secure our preferred property."
2018-11-21T12:32:12+00:00
"Despite other interested parties, Stacks were able to help us secure our preferred property."
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2018-11-21T12:50:28+00:00
"Relentlessly provided us with the context and facts we needed to make an informed decision "
"The house is ideal ... and it is nothing like our first (unsuitable) ideas!"
2018-11-21T12:56:37+00:00
"The house is ideal ... and it is nothing like our first (unsuitable) ideas!"
"How extraordinary to have found what we were looking for"
2018-11-21T12:42:07+00:00
"How extraordinary to have found what we were looking for"
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2019-06-19T13:54:55+00:00
“We really enjoyed working with Sara and Stacks and would highly recommend having them on your side in the home buying process”
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2018-11-21T12:59:15+00:00
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2018-11-21T13:06:52+00:00
"utterly tenacious..."
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2018-11-21T12:57:31+00:00
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"got our offer accepted even when it was not the highest"
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"We found the service extremely helpful and professional at all times"
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"You have exceeded our expectations for a buy-side property service and have made the process a smooth one for us."
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"You made a huge difference to our search as I am sure you do for all your clients."
2019-05-02T11:00:08+00:00
"You made a huge difference to our search as I am sure you do for all your clients."
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"extremely helpful, knowledgeable and tireless in their efforts to assist us"
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"You saved me many miles of driving and were very professional"
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"a calming, guiding presence where nothing was too much trouble"
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2018-11-21T12:41:04+00:00
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2018-11-21T13:21:20+00:00
"You were able, by taking on much of the responsibility and the effort, to enable us to relax and enjoy the process"
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2018-11-21T12:30:52+00:00
"delivered a great service at a reasonable cost"
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2018-11-21T12:19:57+00:00
"always courteous and pleasant, and most importantly, in our opinion, trustworthy."
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2018-11-21T13:08:49+00:00
"We are delighted with our choice and so are the children."
"Stacks had the critical combination of expertise and tenacity to broker a solution for us"
2018-11-21T12:52:31+00:00
"Stacks had the critical combination of expertise and tenacity to broker a solution for us"
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2018-11-21T13:14:45+00:00
"Well done in taking us to a house we didn’t know we wanted … and then fell in love with!"
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Sunday Telegraph

2018-11-06T13:59:47+00:00

Sunday Telegraph

"...took just days to come up with the property that fitted all our criteria"
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2018-11-21T12:55:04+00:00
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"a fantastic job in impossible circumstances"
2018-11-21T12:17:11+00:00
"a fantastic job in impossible circumstances"
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Financial Times

2018-11-06T14:00:36+00:00

Financial Times

"...negotiate on anything"
"It made a potentially very stressful process very straightforward"
2018-11-21T12:48:37+00:00
"It made a potentially very stressful process very straightforward"
"I was impressed by the efficient, kind and courteous service provided by Stacks"
2020-01-13T11:52:49+00:00
"I was impressed by the efficient, kind and courteous service provided by Stacks"
"found precisely what I was looking for, and even on my request made an offer before I had even seen the property!!"
2018-11-21T12:35:46+00:00
"found precisely what I was looking for, and even on my request made an offer before I had even seen the property!!"
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2020-02-27T09:49:08+00:00
"Encouraging me to think creatively about what could work for me."
"Finding a plot not yet on the market and persuading the developer to enter into an exclusive contract with me to build to my specification."
2020-02-27T09:48:25+00:00
"Finding a plot not yet on the market and persuading the developer to enter into an exclusive contract with me to build to my specification."
"great value to us during a difficult, competitive purchase"
2018-11-21T12:39:48+00:00
"great value to us during a difficult, competitive purchase"
"Being able to 'stand behind' Stacks, whilst they brought their negotiating skills to the fore, took us to another level"
2018-11-21T12:22:38+00:00
"Being able to 'stand behind' Stacks, whilst they brought their negotiating skills to the fore, took us to another level"
"You have found us a superb home which we feel fortunate to call our own."
2018-11-21T13:18:39+00:00
"You have found us a superb home which we feel fortunate to call our own."
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2018-11-21T12:44:59+00:00
"I needed the continuous advice and support on the many issues that can and do arise, and, above all, someone acting in one’s own interest."
"In essence, you are buying your best ally "
2018-11-21T12:47:38+00:00
"In essence, you are buying your best ally "
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2018-11-21T12:49:38+00:00
"Practically, I needed someone to do the legwork and the eye-balling"
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2018-11-21T12:21:23+00:00
"Because I had invested in the process of working with a Buying Agent, I had the confidence to go ahead"
"Should I move again, I shall definitely use you again"
2018-11-21T12:51:23+00:00
"Should I move again, I shall definitely use you again"
"Many thanks for your hard work and patience in assisting in buying our property. You made the whole process infinitely less stressful than it might have been"
2020-01-13T11:50:30+00:00
"Many thanks for your hard work and patience in assisting in buying our property. You made the whole process infinitely less stressful than it might have been"
"We cannot imagine how long it would have taken us to find our perfect home without Stacks – and we suspect that we would have compromised a long time ago!"
2018-11-21T13:09:36+00:00
"We cannot imagine how long it would have taken us to find our perfect home without Stacks – and we suspect that we would have compromised a long time ago!"
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2018-11-21T12:43:48+00:00
"I gained a house, setting and location which are right for me"
"was fantastic at explaining and helping us with everything that was happening"
2018-11-21T13:07:43+00:00
"was fantastic at explaining and helping us with everything that was happening"
"We love the house and cannot wait to move in and get settled."
2018-11-21T13:10:27+00:00
"We love the house and cannot wait to move in and get settled."
"I completely underestimated how much of a difference you would make"
2018-11-21T12:43:03+00:00
"I completely underestimated how much of a difference you would make"
"We now own a most suitable house in the position of our dreams thanks to Stacks"
2018-11-21T13:11:13+00:00
"We now own a most suitable house in the position of our dreams thanks to Stacks"

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