So, farewell to 2018 and a cautious hello to 2019. I cannot remember a time of greater uncertainty in our West End or the wider London property market. Uncertainty breeds caution and that has been the dominant characteristic from both buyers and sellers over the last year.
So, farewell to 2018 and a cautious hello to 2019.
I cannot remember a time of greater uncertainty in our West End or the wider London property market. Uncertainty breeds caution and that has been the dominant characteristic from both buyers and sellers over the last year.
I have been looking at local patterns signalled by the research produced by the main portals.
Total transactions for all agents for WC1, WC2 and our Fitzrovia part of W1 are about half what they were a few years ago and completion prices are some 15% to 20% of the frothy 2015/16 highs. One thing that is noticeable is the agents who are actually achieving sales are the long established local ones with highly experienced and competent sales staff. No Surprise there.
It is also noticeable that the agents with the least sales on our patch tend to be the corporates. They have the highest number of price reductions and longest time on market. A business model that works in a rising suburban market will fail when faced the challenges we are dealing with.
In any market and especially this one you need an agent who tells you the truth. It is also useful that he knows what he is doing, has seen it before and is not under pressure to get the listing on at any asking price.
Deals have to be brokered and put together intelligently. Your buyer will have to stay committed during the six or so weeks to exchange during which time any news items or “helpful friend” advice may derail the deal. It is very important that when a price is agreed, both sides feel comfortable. We will always strive to get the best price for our selling clients, but we have to get buyers who will stay the course.
My predictions for 2019 are suitably vague. The political and economic Brexit outcome may well be one that has yet to be thought of. Until we get a bit of clarity and certainty and a lessening of financial market volatility I suspect we are in for more of the same.
The better news is, that there is still an active needs-driven market and this will continue into 2019 come what may. Most of our participants are aware of the environment and work with us to secure a fair result. Opportunists are easy to spot and rebuff.
Where buyers, sellers and agents can work together there are deals to be done and this is what we will be here to do throughout 2019.
However, lets not lose track of the real Christmas message. It is about the birth of a child and the hope that that brings.
So, wherever you find yourself this Christmas we wish you and your families a happy and peaceful holiday with hope for all that 2019 will be an easier year to navigate than 2018.