The London Magazine: Top Agents Welcome Cooling Prices
Sat 01 Nov 2014
Correction needed after "bonkers" first quarter, reports Zoe Dare Hall.
London's house prices are falling for the first time in four years - and it's about time, say leading estate agents in the capital. A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows a slight fall over the previous three months to September and predicts a similar pattern in the following three. While the enws may mean vendors must adjust their expectations and asking prices, a correction is precisely what the market needs, according to Peter Rollings, chief executive of Marsh & Parsons.
"The first quarter of this year was bonkers. Buyers were waiting for our doors to open to ask how much over the asking price they should offer to get the property. Now the froth has come off, there are 40 percent more properties on the market, thank goodness, and buyers have choice again," says Rollings.
Ed Mead, director of Douglas & Gordon, also welcomes correction in London house prices, with his agency's figures showing first quarter growth in London at 6.5 percent, second at 2.5 percent and third at 0.1 percent. "To see property values plateau is encouraging," says Mead. "Buyers are saying no to what looked like endless price increases over the past few years."
The turnaround begain in April in prime central London and is now happening across the capital, including in "outer prime areas" such as Clapham and Balham. "These areas have outperformed prime central London for eight quarters, but that's now ending," says Rollings. "We're back to the trading prices we saw in late 2013 and the market is incredibly price-sensitive again, particularly around the 1m and 2m mark. It's now much more of a buyers' market than it has been in the past three years."