The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) published their monthly market summary today. Their members have on the whole reported an increase in confidence and in some cases increasing house prices, singling out London and South East as the most robust property markets. Members cited increases in new buyer enquiries coupled with diminishing stocks for the increasing confidence. In fact the situation with regard to houses for sale is at it€™s most acute for years, with the number of instructions to agents down by more than a third compared to a year ago. The chart to the left, produced by the RICS shows the disparity between new instructions and new buyer enquiries.
Our view about London property is similar to his because there has been a great deal of interest and activity from overseas buyers especially in and around London over the last 9 months and there is no sign of this interest slackening off. Activity at the bottom end of the Central London market has picked up significantly over the last 8-10 weeks as first-time buyers, buy-to-let investors and parents of university students have all re-entered the market seeking bargains. At the top end, demand is predominantly from overseas buyers or British Expatriates in our experience. The increase in demand is matched by a shortage of supply in many areas of Central London. With all the main house price indices showing price increases in many London boroughs over the last month or so, would-be vendors seem keen to wait for the elusive €™bounce€™ which many pundits have been predicting for next year.
Although the Bank of England kept its benchmark lending rate at 0.5% this is an exceptionally favourable rate. Any prospective buyer would be well advised to investigate their borrowing power thoroughly and consider a return to interest rates of 5 €“ 7% as the Monetary Policy Committee will increase the Bank rate as soon as there is evidence of a recovery .
If you are looking for an investment or a new home give serious consideration to your move now as time for a favourable price may be running out. London Property Search Agents like us are very busy with overseas buyers seeking bargains and the truth of the matter is that whether it is this year or next that we reach the bottom of the market, most people will miss out.