Wow, what a start to the year we’ve had, not just in Battersea but right across London! Whist January is usually a quiet-ish month and activity doesn’t normally pick up until mid-February, it seems like the floodgates have opened and released a huge amount of pent up demand. 2016 was a year of uncertainty and shock with the referendum and US election unsettling the financial markets – which has a knock on effect on the London property market, especially with so many of our buyers and sellers working in the City – but now that Christmas and New Year is out the way, the sentiment seems to be “let’s just get on with it and buy now”.
Even the top end of the market, which slowed to a trickle after the increase in stamp duty, has started to see a bounce-back in activity this year with several sales of houses £2m+ already being agreed through our local offices.
However it’s the flat and small house market that has been the most buoyant so far. First time buyers seem to be back in strong numbers as reported by Rightmove this week and this is certainly what we’re experiencing across our network of 34 London offices. New buyers registering and viewing numbers are the highest we’ve seen since October last year here in Battersea.
What is worth noting is the return of chains (related sales) as the slight price realignment following the uncertainty of last year has seen the gap between flat and house prices become more achievable. However, although that jump up may now be within reach you still need to be in a position to move forward, so do get in touch here if you would like an up to date valuation to get things kicked off. It is also apparent that there is currently a slight lack of stock in the house market and with these flat sellers becoming our house buyers it is worth trying to beat the spring rush where you could become one of many people selling.
In line with the above is the migration out of London to the country, with reports that the number of Londoners leaving the capital is the highest it’s been for nine years. In 2016 Londoners alone bought 74,000 homes outside the capital, 11,000 more than 2015. This brings me nicely onto one of the great advantages of working for a big company like Hamptons, which is the access to different markets, both in London and further afield. We work closely with our country offices and with so many house sellers moving to the country we are trying even harder to bring town and country offices closer together. We have created a dedicated team of ‘country practitioners’ who will be able to liaise with London sellers and advise them on all manner of things related to a country move, so do come and join us at our annual Country Roadshow event we are holding on Saturday 4th March if you are starting to think about moving out. To book in click here and note the area and time you would like to attend and I can reserve a slot with the right practitioner.
As ever each month we take stock of exactly what is on the market, at what price levels and how long things are taking to sell. The table below shows all of the fully available (not under offer) stock between the commons, from Bolingbroke Grove to Clapham Common and from Battersea Rise to Nightingale Lane:
|Property||No. Available||Average time on the market so far||£ per square foot||No. Available last month||Average time on the market last month||£ per square footage last month|
|1 Bed Flats||8 live||115 days||£942||13 live||107 days||£927|
|2 Bed Flats||32 live||112 days||£862||44 live||109 days||£869|
|3 bed + Flats||9 live||43 days||£802||12 live||60 days||£822|
|Houses||26 live||129 days||£839||33 live||127 days||£838|
What is most apparent from the above numbers are the lower stock levels across the board and the increased number of days it is taking to sell. This matches up with the fact January has been fluid on the sales side and although the correctly priced stock has been going under offer there has not been much new stock to replenish this with. However with so much information available online and the market being price sensitive the average time on the market has gone up, showing the importance of correct pricing if you want to sell. This is especially noticeable when looking at the £ per sqft as the stock left available is at a similar level to the month before, however when I looked over physically sold stock prices we are seeing a different picture with houses in particular settling around the £750 per sqft level.
The level of house stock is especially significant as there are 28 properties less than this time last year, often the case when a market place gets a little tougher as unmotivated sellers withdraw from the market until things start picking up. Further backing up my thoughts on getting on the market sooner rather than later to beat the influx of property launching in the Spring.