There is no doubt that we are at last seeing a substantial upturn in the London property market, with a significant increase in both enquiries from buyers and in the amount of stock coming onto the market. Homebuyers had been seeking stability and the Conservative election created this, leading to immediate, increased confidence in the market and real optimism for the first time in several years.
This post election bounce started almost as soon as the election result was announced, with an instant feeling of greater stability, as buyers who had been holding back saw this as an opportunity to move forward with their plans at last. We had three times the number of offers in the last two weeks of December than in the first two weeks – and this at a time that is usually very quiet.
This increase in activity has continued throughout January and our sales team is incredibly busy, with new buyer registrations up dramatically compared to this time last year. And while this is still early days, we expect a slow but steady improvement now as the recovery gathers momentum.
It is not just buyers who are feeling renewed confidence, sellers are also now starting to consider dipping a toe back into the market and we are seeing an increase in new instructions from people who are keen to move home this year, having put their plans on hold for some time. And because stock levels are still quite low this is a good time to be selling a property.
Over the last few years, there has sometimes been an over expectation on asking prices by sellers caused partly by a seller’s emotional attachment to their property and a reluctance to acknowledge that the price may have dropped and partly by an agent’s tendency to overvalue a property in order to win business.
And while there is still often a deficit between what we believe our home is worth and what a buyer is prepared to pay, already we are seeing this situation starting to change. It seems that sellers are being more realistic in their asking prices and there is a real equilibrium between asking prices and buyers’ expectations. Of course this may change as the market picks up and we may still start to see asking prices increase as sellers risk a higher price point to test the market.
The UK property market is cyclical and the last few years have seen dramatic adjustments but the market always recovers gradually and we expect this year to be the start of just such a recovery, making any previous losses on paper look like a blip in comparison.
For example, the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) figures show that in 1987 the average London house price was just over £65,000. Today, according to ONS statistics from November 2019, the average London house price is £475,000. And that’s despite the effect of financial crises, terrorist attacks and of course, Brexit. The London property market is nothing if not resilient!
If you are planning to buy or sell a property in London over the next few months, call our sales team for a free valuation of your property or to talk about the latest opportunities to purchase property throughout London. Call the team on 020 3280 6400 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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