A few months ago, when we were in lockdown and there was a lot of speculation about what it meant for the housing market, I said the market was just on pause. Using the same analogy, it’s now on fast forward.
At Arnold & Baldwin, we work primarily in London and the South East and the market here is incredibly busy. I’ve just been to see a mansion flat in need of full refurbishment just a stone’s throw away from Victoria station in London that was sold for £1.75m before it was even taken to market. The buyer, who made an offer straight away, did have some concerns about the future of the London market and whether homeworking would impact values in the city centre, but also took the view that this was a good property in a beautiful building in a great location, and there will always be demand for strong properties.
There is a lot of demand for properties across all levels of the market at the moment. Terraced houses and semi-detached houses are all selling well and selling fast. It seems that gazumping has returned to the market and we have had a couple of clients who have had to cancel their survey because their offer on a property was gazumped. And it’s not just in London. I have spoken to estate agents in other parts of England and in Wales who are all reporting that they are very busy.
The lesson here is that it’s really important to act quickly and get all of your ducks lined up in a row. Make sure that you have all of the right professionals in place and ready to go – surveyor, solicitor and mortgage broker. For professionals involved in the homebuying process, now is a good time to establish strong working relationships with other professionals, such as surveyors, if you haven’t done so already. These partnerships can help your clients to move forward more efficiently and can, of course, be beneficial for your business.
The current rush of demand hasn’t just come from homebuyers, but also property investors, and our experience is that landlords are back and looking for opportunity to invest. There is particularly high demand from landlords for more expensive properties and the £1m - £5m market is very active at the moment. I’m even working on one investment property currently worth £29m, which is let out for £17,500 a week – that’s £910,000 a year!
There is still some uncertainty around the economy and what impact unemployment may have on the market and, of course, Brexit is just around the corner. But for now, the property market is a very busy and vibrant place to be and there are no signs of this changing in the immediate future.