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Paramount Properties

London's housing market: an inside view

by Oliver Gorman

“So…what’s the market like at the moment?”

This is a question I get asked on 90% of the viewings I attend by interested applicants looking for an insight on whether or not now is a good time to buy a property.

There is so much doom and gloom surrounding the property market at the moment. With an unexpected result to the referendum vote, the market was turned on its head last June and we renegotiated almost all of our ‘in-hand’ sales.

We noticed a cooling in the market. Not necessarily a drop in housing prices but most certainly a reduction in the number of people registering with us to buy a home or investment.

Here at Paramount, we have experienced a changing of the tide in the past few months.

Several buy-to-let investors have returned to the market since increased stamp duty rates for second home purchases deterred them last year; many of them being foreign investors reviving their interest in London due to the strength of foreign currency against the pound. However, the majority of new interest has come, unsurprisingly from first-time buyers.

If you’re spending £1500 per month on rent in the capital and are fortunate enough to be in the position where you do have a deposit for your first home, why wouldn’t you buy?

With the Bank of England base rate at a record low, money is relatively ‘cheap’ to borrow and it’s actually making financial sense for many first-time buyers to take the plunge and purchase instead of continuing to rent.

In West Hampstead and the surrounding area, we are finding that properties up to £700,000 are attracting a lot of interest within the first week or so of marketing. We have been able to agree on several sales within a percent or two of the asking prices.

Properties in excess of £750k are a little trickier, with fewer people looking for this product at this stage. This, of course, leads to an influx of property at this level with supply outgrowing the demand.

That’s not to say that these homes aren’t selling; many are, those which are priced properly.

There is no doubt that we are currently in a buyers’ market. Gone are the days of our popular ‘Show Days’ at properties where we would show 20-30 buyers a home on a Saturday and be negotiating with 4-5 offers for a seller on a Monday. Buyers have the luxury of viewing several homes now before making a decision. Those properties which are currently selling, are those which are priced correctly.

Whilst we go through this stage of registration levels being lower than previous years, it is now more important than ever to advise prospective sellers that this market is extremely price-sensitive. If you do want to sell, there are good buyers out there willing to commit…at a fair price.

“So…what’s the market like at the moment?”

My simple answer is “buoyant!”











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