Musings of a London Property Search Agent
There seems to have been an upswing in talk of ‘green shoots’ in the property media recently and certainly some estate agents are talking more confidently than they were 6 months ago. As Property Search Agents such as ourselves, we have been involved in the purchase of some superb bargains and advised Clients to walk away from over-priced homes, where someone else is prepared to pay significantly over the odds for homes which are frankly, not worth it.
So it was with interest that we read Rightmove’s latest house price index which was published today. The data, which reports initial asking prices as opposed to purchase prices, shows that nationally, asking prices have risen since January. Interestingly every region in England bar London shows average asking prices have increased between March and April, however London asking prices are down the least of any region year on year, falling just 4% since April 2008. According to Rightmove, asking prices in the South East are down 7.6% year on year.
As we have said in pretty much every post on house prices though, the situation is very different in different boroughs. The credit crunch seems to have completely by-passed many vendors in Kensington and Chelsea for instance: asking prices there are up 32% since last year according to Rightmove, which is completely unrealistic apart from truly superb houses. That said, Property Search Agents are very common in those areas and I have certainly had offers accepted at 40% below the asking price in Chelsea, Kensington and Belgravia so it is all relative.
In Westminster, which includes Mayfair, Marylebone and parts of Kensington, Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Notting Hill, asking prices are up 13% year on year. Other boroughs boasting ambitious vendors are Harringey, Camden, Brent and Richmond. Even in Islington, which was one of the first locations where Estate Agents really lost their nerve in 2007, asking prices have jumped 0.7% year on year.
So why the optimism in the Royal Borough?
Firstly, as I said above, offers 40% below the asking price are not unknown and may well be accepted if handled sensitively by a good negotiator or the vendor really needs to sell or they just want to get on with their lives or the property is ridiculously over-priced.
Boringly, this data is not seasonally adjusted and although anomalies are excluded, if vendors in certain areas routinely base their house price on 5% over what their neighbour’s house was advertised for, long-term trends can emerge, even if the prices are realistic.
Thirdly, there are certainly buyers out there who are paying well over the odds for property. In our experience, overseas buyers leap immediately to mind, as for those buying in a currency other than sterling, property has been significantly discounted given the collapse of sterling. And guess what? Kensington and Chelsea is a favourite for the well-heeled, if not well-advised overseas buyer.
If you need a canny Property Search Agent who knows Kensington and Chelsea, we would be happy to oblige!