I always knew the Olympics would be the greatest ever marketing campaign for London however; the positivity and general goodwill that has flowed from the Games has been extraordinary and far surpassed anything I expected.
London has been a spectacular sight to behold and with hundreds of millions of people from all over the globe seeing our fantastic city as a backdrop to the Games, it can only be positive for London as a destination to invest in bricks & mortar. I was concerned that there would be gridlock on the streets of London however, if anything, the roads have been quieter than usual (and it’s usually pretty quiet at this time of year) and getting around London to show our clients’ properties has been a breeze.
Whilst it’s true to say I wasn’t expecting a huge amount of activity in the sales market during the Olympic period, I’m surprised by the great quality of the buyers currently looking for London property. I thought people would be glued to the television, at the Games or out of town. Actually, there is a good number of highly motivated, well organised buyers, both British and overseas, who have decided it’s a good time to buy and rather cleverly anticipated the opportunity to enter the market just before the inevitable surge in buyers that always occurs around the beginning of September – ‘the early bird catches the worm’ as the saying goes. At the time of writing, I compared the data available for August so far with exactly the same period last year and I’m delighted to find that agreed sales are up by 170% despite there being a 20% fall in buyers registering. Additionally, in the lead up to the Games, July was the busiest month of the year so far, for properties exchanged.
Whilst the ‘corporate’ lettings market has been hit by the Games, with many international companies enforcing a ‘no fly’ policy during this period, there has in fact, been the normal busy summer period for the London rental market with the majority of our offices registering a large number of both tenants and property.
My view of the sales market for the remainder of the year? I expect a surge of activity at the beginning of September and into October and then the market will settle down to normality for the remainder of the year. In the lettings market; some prices at the top end have softened however, the corporate renters will enter the market in force from September and prices will start to rise again thereafter.