The London sales market – October 2019

The London property market is once again seeing enquiry levels increase, with demand particularly strong from first time buyers keen to take advantage of a slower than usual sales market, the financial advantages offered by the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme and continuing low interest rates (currently 0.75%), keeping down the cost of borrowing.

As a result, the number of new mortgages being approved is increasing – Bank of England figures reveal that 67,306 mortgages were approved in July – a two year high. With all these factors having a positive effect on the market, demand has been picking up over the last few weeks and the market is busier now than it has been for some time.

House price growth shows a small increase

We publish a quarterly Market Index Review based on data from the top four existing indices and our latest statistics for Q2 2019 show that the average London house price is £512,193, an increase of 1.5% over the previous quarter and the first positive quarterly price growth in a year.

And while the change over the last year is still downwards at -1.6%, this most recent quarterly change does perhaps indicate a slightly more positive outlook for sellers, even if this is still modest, and maybe more movement in the market generally. But of course, subdued house price growth remains a real advantage for first time buyers.

The Help to Buy Scheme

Without a doubt, the Help to Buy Scheme is proving vital in helping first time buyers (and existing homeowners who want to buy a new build home) onto the first rung of the property ladder and fuelling demand for smaller, affordable properties in particular. It provides part of the equity needed to buy a property in the form of a loan which means the buyer needs to borrow less from a mortgage company and also needs a smaller deposit. The Government will lend buyers up to 40% of the purchase price of a home in Greater London. The buyer must put down a 5% deposit on a new build property valued at up to £600,000.

New homes for sale

First-time buyers

The success of Help-to-Buy not only means that there are increasing numbers of first time buyers actively looking for their first home but also, crucially, that they have higher budgets as a result of the scheme.
We work extensively with Tier 1 developers so we have access to many developments across London where buyers can use funding from the scheme to assist with their property purchase. We can provide expert advice on suitable areas and developments, including apartments in Zones 3 and 4 priced from £300,000. Please get in touch to discuss the different developments available at the moment, plus those that are completing soon.

Investors in London Property

While generally, overseas buyers continue to hold back until after the October 31st Brexit deadline, recent events in Hong Kong have further highlighted London’s status as a safe haven for investors.

An upturn in enquiries from Hong Kong buyers

With the political unrest in Hong Kong, we are seeing a dramatic increase in enquiries from buyers there, in fact, there has been a 100% increase in enquiries from Hong Kong investors wishing to buy London property over the last month alone. Demand from Hong Kong buyers is for properties across the board, at all price points, and is now at its highest than at any time over the last two years. Our Managing Director Anita Mehra will be visiting Hong Kong between  20 – 25 November and conducting one to one meetings with investors – email us for more information.

If you are planning to buy your first home, or if you are an overseas investor considering the purchase of a London property, please get in touch with our London property sales office on 020 3280 6400 or email them at sales@benhams.com – our team can help you with all aspects of your purchase.

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About the Author

A board director since 2001, Marc oversees the company’s London rentals operation as well as marketing and developing strategies for new business. He has been instrumental in the company’s expansion, working closely with managing director Anita Mehra to develop its core services and frequently co-hosts property seminars for investors in many international locations. Read more about Marc von Grundherr here - Read full profile

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