Date Published 14 March 2016
PART III – THE PROPERTY MARKET: THE BIG PICTURE AND EXTERNAL FACTORS THAT CAN AFFECT IT.
One of the questions we are always asked by clients is ‘When should I sell?' The factors affecting that decision are always broken down into two areas:
b) External factors over which we have no control
School Holidays are a big factor.
No one wants their property on the market when young children are at home (sometimes tearing around at the speed of cartoons) and similarly, buyers are less likely to come when they have to bring their own children with them. The school holidays are almost a 'starting gun' for the family house and larger apartment market. Smaller properties are similarly affected, but less so.
Time of Year is always important
Approaching family holidays and up-coming school exams must be taken into account.
When the property looks best
Should be always be taken into consideration. In general, a garden coming out into flower and bloom will leave a greater and more positive impression on potential purchasers than a hibernating winter garden, although well-deigned outdoor space is an asset all year round.
When considering a launch date, your Agent should always train his telescope on the horizon to spot what unavoidable factors could affect the process. Some less secure agents may simply advise their clients to launch their property immediately come what may, but the more measured and professional approach should be to examine these external factors and discuss if there is any advantage to be had from holding off. These factors traditionally include Politics, the Economy, City Bonuses, International buyer trends and capital flight.
All General Elections have the effect of slowing the market in the run-up, and other important elections can do the same. This year we have the London Mayoral Election which might slightly slow the market. Of course, EU Referendum is more likely to have an affect. The market usually reacts to uncertainty with a reduction in volume, as we are currently experiencing
Changes in Legislation
The chancellor's recent announcement to increase Stamp Duty for second homes and investors is hardly surprising and should not have a long lasting effect on the market – especially when you consider that by comparison to other investment destinations around the world, London is still only about half way up the list in terms of property acquisition and holding costs
Current conditions are the perfect example of how the market reacts. The UK economy is one of the few economies in the world which is growing as a result is attracting overseas investors. The recent fall in oil prices is likely to fuel more investment into the relatively safe haven of the London prime property market, and the Shanghai stock market turmoil could produce the same effect, with over £740million of Chinese investment in London real estate in the last year alone.
The City usually pays bonuses in February or March, and an agent with their finger on the pulse should have a pretty good idea how good or bad they are going to be in any one year. The FT reports that the City is predicting bumper bonuses this year.
International Buyer Trends & Capital Flight
We have seen a slow-down in buyers from China and Russia but we there has been an uptick in South American buyers and London is still well-known for being the 'sixth biggest City in France'.
Capital Flight also plays a huge role. There have been many recent examples of this – Italy, Greece, Syria. Whenever there is instability around the world, investors frequently look to move their money to a safe haven – and Central London Property is a popular choice.
The Big Picture
The very big picture for the London property market is fairly simple. London is one of the most attractive and popular cities in the world for a high quality work/life balance. It has more multi-millionaires than any other city in the world and is ranked third on the Billionaire's List. London is the financial and language capital of the world. It offers an excellent infrastructure, political and fiscal stability, a transparent judicial system and superb lifestyle choices in terms of education, culture and entertainment. I t will always attract plenty of highly paid people with families, who will want to live in a lovely home with direct transport links to the City and the West End. Property in Kensington, Notting Hill and Holland Park provides all of these and also has an absolutely finite number of houses.
Whatever the political future hold, there will always be plenty of high quality and reliable purchasers for Central London Property, and the houses in Kensington, Notting Hill and Holland Park are among the most attractive to be found.