Date Published 17 November 2015
As everyone with an opinion is telling us, the Central London Property market for anything over £2m in to the west of Hyde Park is currently suffering. The increased Stamp Duty is the single biggest hurdle, but there are other issues in the background and together they have dampened demand for larger flats and family houses.
Despite this, the market below £1.5m and especially below £1m is very busy. In the area from Westway to the River and Fulham to Park Lane we have seen roughly 400 different properties sold in the last quarter in this price range – almost exactly the same amount as in the same period last year (source: Lonres).
There have been several knock-on effects of the top end of the market slowing down, one of which is that investors and developers are shying away from more expensive properties where they are less sure of the market growth and are embracing the more affordable properties instead. Occupier demand levels at this price range have been maintained and the results are plain to see. By comparison to the more expensive properties, prices are holding their own, activity levels are still good and buyers are not having to write eye-wateringly large cheques to the Chancellor just for the privilege of buying a home.
No-one is saying it's a boom market – far from it. Demand levels are down on last year and realistic pricing has also become more and more important as buyers have become increasingly price sensitive, but there is frequently competitive bidding in this price range and buyers are quick to make decisions.
Mortgage finance clearly plays a larger role at these price levels and shrewd buyers will have done as much as possible to put their funding arrangements in place before starting to look. There are plenty of cash buyers around with whom they may have to compete and speed is always attractive to the seller.
The bottom line is that sellers in this price range are frequently seen reading negative property headlines with larger grins on their faces than you would expect to find – and now is a good time for them to sell with a window of activity running until the market slows down for Christmas in mid-December.