The second and third quarters of last year were some of the toughest faced by the London property market for a few years, with less people buying and selling as they adjusted to the referendum result and took time to digest what it meant for them and the country. However, this pause in market activity seems to have been only very temporary as Chestertons’ 32 branches all saw a considerable uplift in activity in the last six weeks of the year, with more buyers registering and more sellers looking to sell.
That activity has pushed through in 2017 giving us a very strong start to the year with the number of sales up 15% from this time last year, which is even more impressive when you remember that there was a gold rush by investors looking to complete on purchases before the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge was introduced in April last year. As well as stronger sales, there are also more deals being agreed than this time last year, which shows that the buyers currently in the market are more active and prepared to make offers in line with vendor’s expectations.
Having personally talked to many people over the past few weeks, there is a definite sense of ’Brexit Boredom’ from buyers that are fed up with putting their home move or investment decisions on hold while trying to make sense of the endless speculations on the Brexit impact. Having now rationalised the potential impact many buyers returned to the market in the last few months of last year and are now active looking to transact.
In terms of prices, the low activity levels reported in the middle of last year resulted in some sellers reducing over-ambitious asking prices, in line with market activity. Where this has happened it has generated considerable interest and often offers at, and even above, asking prices - showing that correct pricing is more essential than ever.
In summary, there is a real feeling that London’s property market will not only survive, but actually thrive on the various uncertainties across the world, from our own triggering of Article 50 through to the medium and long term impact of the Trump presidency and the various elections across Europe which have the potential to severely test the strength of Europe as we know it.