Birds of a Feather

Date Published 27 March 2017


The housing market is often thought of and described as one entity by professionals and punters alike, and it's either up or down, bullish or bearish, a good time to sell or time to hunker down and wait for better times. The reality of course is a little different. It's perhaps more useful to think of it as like birds flocking - thousands of individuals twisting and turning, synchronised to appear as one but on closer inspection more haphazard.

We have recently had a large number of enquiries from buyers wanting what on the face of it should be a fairly straightforward requirement for the area – a four storey, family house with a garden for somewhere between £4 - £6 million. At any point in the last twenty odd years there would be a choice of at least perhaps 3 or 4 house s on the open market to match the above description. However, at the moment there are simply no houses that match that requirement. Clearly, the birds are all flocking in the same direction, and would-be vendors are keeping their houses off the market based on the assumption that things are tough, and an appropriate price won't be achieved.

Things are tough – there's no denying that the seismic political events of the last 18 months, coupled with historically high stamp duty charges, have had a dampening effect on the market. Uncertainty about the effect of Brexit on City jobs (and bonuses) is likely to remain until we know the ink is dry on the deal to extricate ourselves from The European Union. However, the rules of supply and demand still very much apply, no matter what the market is doing. Supply – especially of the typical Holland Park and Notting Hill houses described above – is incredibly low, if not completely gone. Demand is there, and if there are a good number of buyers searching high and low for something that isn't there, when it does appear, its owners will be rewarded.

The flock will turn – it always does. But while it takes time for the whole entity to manoeuvre, there are always a few individuals who will buck the trend and lead the way, and do very nicely out of it too.