On the Market - Barnes, Autumn 2012
Thu 20 Sep 2012
The autumn property market always encourages a flurry of new instructions and a plethora of enthusiastic buyers. Kelly Stafford gives her advice on making the most of this window of opportunity.
Following a bumper spring market, the house market entered into its annual summer slumber. The number of buyers per property dropped from 27 in the first quarter to 23 in the second quarter with Barnes sellers wanting to enjoy the summer months or escape to some far off shore for the summer holidays.
As we go further in the traditionally busy autumn market, weve seen a 6.5% increase in buyer registrations for the first week of September compared to the same period last year, but with more property on the market, buyer demand now sits at 21.4 buyers per property. We have many buyers who are still looking from before the summer the difference now is that they are a lot sharper, having lost out on other properties during this time and ready to battle hard for anything suitable that comes on to the market.
Indeed, autumn always brings a flurry of new stock to the market but with such a large number of buyers now exclusively looking in Barnes, smart sellers have been quick to act to take full advantage of this activity. They, like us, know that in reality there are only a few weeks left until Christmas and every year, as soon as December 1st arrives, everyone (apart from us!) starts to wind down, including solicitors and the banks.
For example, we have just sold an unmodernised property on Lonsdale Road. After just two days, we attracted 33 viewings and multiple offers resulting in the property selling for 7% above the 1,699,000 asking price. And on hearing of our success, the next door neighbour then decided to market her house and within 24 hours, we had sold this too once again, in excess of the asking price.
Key to selling however is sensible pricing. Despite the high level of demand, serious buyers are generally in tune with the market, specifically in their areas of choice remember many of these people have been looking for a while! Similar to Michelin Star restaurants, the best properties continue to achieve top prices, however those that dont tick all the boxes have to be priced competitively to even get speculative buyers through the door. There is a fine (constantly changing) line between enough and too much, making it imperative to market a property at the true market value, rather than a value designed to flatter the seller; if the latter approach is adopted, any chance of achieving the best price is doomed.
Property prices in Barnes and indeed in prime London, have steadily increased this year, but as we enter a busier season, these rises should calm slightly. Property values will almost certainly not come down, there is still too much demand, but the significant price rises we have seen over the past 18 months have now started to level off, which in my opinion, is healthy for the market as a whole.
Contact our Barnes Sales Team on:
T 020 8563 8333
Sophie Levy discusses how the Barnes lettings market will move on from a golden summer
As always at this time of year, we have seen a significant increase in activity in the Barnes lettings market, with more available property and equally, a rise in tenant demand. This demand is across the board, including families, corporate relocations, sharers and professional couples.
Ordinarily, at this time of year, we would expect a slow down in tenant enquiries from the family market. However, despite the school term being well under way, there are still many families searching for rental property in Barnes, who waited until the Olympic torch had long been extinguished before starting their search. The most popular style of property for this demographic are the three and four bedroom houses in Little Chelsea, which always let very soon after coming on to the market.
In recent weeks, we have noticed a significant increase in the number of relocation agents searching in Barnes, with more relocatees simply seeking a new life with their partner or family in London (as opposed to relocating with a company), which is particularly true for the large number of Swedish and American families attracted by the great schools including The Harrodian, The Swedish School and St Pauls. We also work directly with a number of London based, international companies via our Corporate & Relocation Services department, many of which placed a three-month embargo on London relocations in anticipation of high rental hikes and challenging moving conditions during the Olympics. The lifting of this embargo would almost certainly account for the increasing enquiries from relocation agents in the capital, looking to secure property on behalf of excellent corporate tenants. Indeed, in the last week, we have let property to corporate tenants from Shell, the MoD and BMC.
Barnes has always been a firm favourite with the family market however, in recent years it has become increasingly popular with young professional couples. They are adopting the try-before-you-buy approach and temporarily renting while they decide if the area is right for them long-term. Many have already sold their property in more central parts of London, particularly Chelsea and Fulham, and moving to Barnes to get more space and perhaps start a family. Others are first-time buyers priced out of the central London market; they know that if they want to get on the property ladder, they need to consider alternative areas, but with an easy commute into the City and Barnes is very often the perfect solution!
Traditionally, our typical landlord has tended to live locally in Barnes or slightly further out of London. However, more recently, the sales team have sold plenty of property to buy-to-let investors both domestic and international. These properties are then coming straight on to the lettings market, sometimes before the transaction has even completed (with seller permission of course)! The investors are enjoying low mortgage rates, excellent rental yields and can be confident that their investment is comfortably appreciating all the time. As a result, we have also noticed more and more second or third time buyers keeping their property in Barnes as a rental investment and moving further out of London.
Whereas earlier this year, there was a stark shortage of property to let and vast tenant demand, there is now a much more healthy balance of both property and tenants. Landlords can expect an average increase of 2.5% on a renewed contract; a figure lower than the rental increases achieved earlier this year, but when you consider the 15-20%, on average, rental rises in the last two years, it is still a great time to be a landlord.
Contact our Barnes Lettings Team on:
T 020 8563 8333