The Sunday Times, 28/03/2021

Why are house prices so high? It could be the secret sellers bidding off-market

Quoting James Greenwood of Stacks Property Finders

There is so little for sale that buyers will happily pay a premium for something that others don’t have access to. “You’re not going to get a property cheap off market,” warns James Greenwood, chief executive of Stacks Property Search, a national buying agency.

Even though each property is shown to only one or two potential buyers, there can still be bidding wars. Holborow tells of a small country estate being sold off market that was pushed from £8 million to £13 million by two buyers trying to outbid each other.

If an agent has put a reasonable price on the property then a 5 per cent premium is acceptable, according to Greenwood. However, some sellers use off market to test how high they can price before launching to the open market, and at the moment many are getting away with it.

It is particularly difficult to know whether you are paying over the odds on truly private deals in which an owner is selling direct, without the aid of an agent or adviser. Tom Hudson, head of country sales for Middleton Advisors buying agency, says: “These private deals are rare and hard to transact. Everyone thinks their house is worth more than it is.”

“I’m not particularly a fan of off market. I prefer an open and transparent market. Having more people involved gives you the best view on price and best indicator of market value,” Greenwood says bluntly.

However, Richard Winter of Surrey Property Search says: “You might see it as paying a premium, although others would argue that you are simply paying not to have to bid against four or five other people and risk gazumping before the contract is exchanged.”

Not all properties are best suited to off-market sales. Some sellers would do better, as Greenwood says, to encourage a little open-market competition.

Read the full story here

If you are interested in buying a property in Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire and Cardiff, please contact James / 01594 842880 /


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