After a busy year for our North/North West London sales team, with both flats and larger houses selling well in Hampstead, Highgate, West and South Hampstead, Dartmouth Park and Belsize Park, we are now looking ahead to 2022 and what it is likely to hold for the local residential property market.
The past twelve months saw a marked increase in the number of buyers registering with us and transaction levels have been good. Many property owners have seen their homes sell quickly, sometimes in as little as two or three weeks, as long as they are accurately priced in line with the local market.
December naturally saw demand slow a little, as we would expect at this time of year, when other priorities take precedence in the run up to Christmas. But sellers are already looking ahead to next year and making plans to put their properties on the sales market so the outlook remains good and we are confident the market will remain strong into 2022.
Last December 2020, we were looking at yet another lockdown but that did nothing to dampen buyers’ enthusiasm for a new home this year. And while, at the time of writing, we are not yet sure of the impact the Omicron variant of Covid 19 will have, what we are sure about is that the North/North West London property market is nothing if not resilient.
Shortage of properties in Hampstead and Highgate remains a challenge
With the homeowner market so busy over the last few months, stock shortages have been a real challenge for us at times. This has been a problem for many local estate agents generally, not just us. And as the properties on our books have been selling quickly, it has been difficult to replace them with enough new stock. Larger family homes in particular are in short supply. In Highgate we have been handling a lot of enquiries from buyers looking for large family homes but have had few properties to show them.
So, we have often been in the position of having increasing numbers of buyers registering and not enough homes to show them so a huge shortage of available property remains a key issue.
New properties coming to market in early 2022
Throughout December we’ve been taking on a number of new instructions from homeowners planning to bring their properties to market in January. So as our stock levels edge upwards, we hope to have a greater choice of properties to show buyers. We do still need more new instructions though.
What are buyers’ priorities now?
The last couple of years have seen homebuyers’ priorities change significantly due to the pandemic and new working practices. And these trends are here to stay. Working from home means a larger property is on most people’s wish lists while some outside space, or at least proximity to a park, is a ‘must’ for most buyers.
A realistic asking price is key
As ever, accurate pricing and a real understanding of the local property market is key to achieving a prompt sale. While the ‘race for space’ is an important trend, value for money is always at the top of buyers’ priorities!
Unmodernised properties being snapped up
Another trend we’ve been seeing over the last year is the popularity of unmodernised properties. Pre-pandemic, many buyers preferred a smaller property that had already been refurbished, leaving them little or no work to do. This has been changing recently and more buyers are looking for an unmodernised property where they can carry out any refurbishment themselves. Not only does this make the property cheaper than one that is already ‘done’, but it also means that any work can be carried out to their own taste and they can make the property into a space that works for them.
A good example of this is a beautiful, three bedroom, Grade II listed but unmodernised house in Flask Walk, Hampstead Village. The property requires complete refurbishment but is a little gem, and will make the new owners a stunning home. And by completing the work themselves, they will have a stunning, historic property in a prime location, that suits their taste exactly.
Mansion flat snapped up off-market in Goldhurst Terrace
And in Rosslyn Mansions, in Goldhurst Terrace, South Hampstead NW6, we recently sold an unmodernised apartment off-market because it fitted the buyers’ requirements perfectly – and being unmodernised was an advantage. They wanted a flat in this particular building but they preferred a south facing property to offer more light. Doing some work to the property didn’t faze them at all. The advantage, they told us, was that they weren’t paying for someone else’s taste – they could refurbish the flat themselves from scratch to their own design. We managed to source a perfect property for them through our experience and local connections, which the owner was not contemplating selling, but as with most situations, timing was perfect.
Request a free market appraisal for your property
If you are planning to put your property on the market in Hampstead, Highgate or any of the surrounding areas, please do get in touch with our Sales team. We have many potential buyers looking in the area who are keen to move in January and February.
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