Autumn 2013

As the Autumn progresses, Spring is in the air!

We tend to be very dubious about what we read in the papers, as often the reality of the market and on the ground is somewhat different. However, many seem to be entering the Autumn market with a more bouyant mood and attitude.

But is there a bubble? Of course, the answer is yes AND no. In prime Central London and Prime Residential London, it’s gone nuts. A 30% rise in achieved values compared with the same time last year makes limited economic sense. But as my Economics Professor said, ‘if you want to make money, study Psychology rather than Economics.’

Outside this bag of postcodes, the UK property market remains very STEADY. The biggest impact on value is inflation, which many believe to be considerably higher than the measures used by the Bank of England, so values outside Central London are generally continuing to match or being eroded by inflation.

Central London and not-so-Central London have defied all expectations so far this year. Prices are continuing to rise and properties are selling fast. Not so the rest of the country – and those looking to move from London to the Country are being presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to swap a moderate London property for a spectacular rural home. If you planning to make the London-Country move in the foreseeable future, you want to start getting ready now.

From a buyers point of view, vendors have absolutely no excuses for asking excessive prices now. Vendors, please, please, please no more silly asking prices. Speak to your local estate agents. Trust their judgement as to the price your property will sell at.

However, there is not alot of property available, and competition for limited good stock can be fierce both in London and the Country. But buyers should not be over-enthusiastic – paying over the odds should only be considered on the very best in class. However, at last, a trickle of the Quantative Easing cash seems to be making it’s way through – buyers are finding it a little easier to secure mortgages with reasonable rates and terms.

There is a real divide between London and the rest of the country. As forecast, internal domestic intra-London activity is strengthening with strong demand building for family homes and flats in the residential areas of London – for example, the Nappy Valleys of SW London are seeing properties at all levels sell fast.

We are seeing continued activity in the Country. There is money from property sales coming out of London and making it’s way into the Country – and we expect an increase in Londoners cashing in on good London prices and moving to the country over the rest of the year. As usual, the M3/M4/M40 corridors and the West Country are strong. We see no dwindling in demand for quality Country property.

The property market is about people, and people have to move house – there are now over 3 million properties that might have been expected to change hands over the last 4 or 5 years, which haven’t. Mainly because they haven’t come to the market.

A great many houses are potentially for sale, but not on the market, and there are unlikely to be as many properties openly available for sale as people expect. However, the suspension of HIPS’s has allowed agents to go back to the time-honoured practice of ‘marketing quietly’ e.g . seeing what interest there may be in a property, without going to the expense of marketing and brochures.

The clever vendors are aggressively marketing their houses with good agents at the right price – a keen, competitive, fair and reasonable price. Our advice to sellers would be – ‘be realistic’. There is little point in hanging out for top price – you won’t get get it – you will wait and wait – and wait.

If you are selling and buying, start looking for your new home the moment your current property goes on the market. Proactively seek out what you want and, when you find it, negotiate firmly (which may enable you to drop the price on the house you are selling).

On the assumption that most people have to buy AND sell a property, it’s a good time to be moving. And for families living in London, a generational opportunity to buy in the Country.

To hear more, contact us and our local offices.

James Greenwood

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