With the summer behind us Nick Churton of Mayfair Office takes a look at how the property market is shaping up this autumn.
Some commentators consider that the property market is still over-valued by up to 20%. And that somehow it is tenously suspended above reality by the slender threads of quantitative easing, very low interest rates and a little market traction generated from central London. These people predict a hard landing. But is that very likely? Although there are doomsayers who predict more falling property prices theirs is an overall view and each region will behave differently: there may well be enough activity to ward off further slippage. There certainly seems enough life in the market generated by those making non-discretionary sales and purchases. If this continues until the banks and other lenders finally sort themselves out and do what they are supposed to do, then another bump should be avoided.
But where is the activity that we do have coming from? Buying and selling property in this market is certainly not the exclusive province of the fortunate: it is the exclusive province of the determined. Few, in any part of the market, who don’t need to move home are doing so. But there seem to be plenty of people whose lives and circumstances are leading them to buy property. It is this group that is keeping the market as buoyant as it is, and these who in time will no doubt be very pleased that they acted when they did, as this is a market of certain opportunity. To all those politicos who insist we have a housing crisis this may all come as a big surprise. They need to accept the fact that what we really have is a crisis of mortgage lending coupled with low confidence - it’s the economy, stupid. In some respects a housing crisis may even be preferable to the perfect storm we have now. Which is why our leaders may be calling it that.
For those determined souls who are coming into the market there are some pitfalls to beware of. Sellers with too ambitious an asking price and unreasonable expectations in the prevailing conditions will really find things tricky.
Buyers should remember that while the market favours them it does not favour them completely. Realistic offers will be treated, at worst, with polite encouragement. Unreasonable offers will not.
But treat buying, selling and others – including us estate agents if you will! - with a little understanding and there really are some great deals to be done, even in this market. If you are determined, then welcome to the land of opportunity.