Cluttons has given its market snapshot for the sales market in central London - and it’s echoing the familiar story of stock shortage but gentle recovery.
James Hyman, head of residential at Cluttons, says limited stock – much of which is either incompatible with sellers’ requirements or over-priced – is hampering the market.
“Where pricing is more in line with public perception deals can be done, but unless a property has unique features that make it desirable, vendors must get more realistic on pricing” he says.
He says more stock will come on to the market at the end of the year as vendors start to accept values may not bounce back to past highs; meanwhile more freedom to travel might mean international owners looking to sell if they need to raise capital on the home front.
He says that in Prime Central London annual price growth of 4.5 per cent was recorded for Q3 by LonRes, with transactions up 10 per cent over a year ago and stock levels being six per cent lower.
Cluttons says some 72 per cent of properties have been on the market for over three months and 43 per cent have been reduced in price, suggesting there is still a gap in expectations between buyers and vendors.
Hyman says any property type priced in line with where the public's perception of the market is currently transacting, is generating strong interest.
“We have numerous recent examples of vendors who have agreed to reduce their prices, they have instantly had multiple viewings and their properties have successfully gone under offer. Vendors who don't act on their agent's instruction and reduce their prices now are going to come unstuck in the next few months when more stock comes to the market” he warns, suggesting that many properties are about four per cent adrift of where the market actually lies.
He says there’s been a noticeable trend of the return of the pied-a-terre buyer, taking up the demand lost from first-time buyers.
“Buyers who have moved their families to the country during the pandemic but now must return to the office are finding that soaring hotel prices and train fares back at pre-pandemic levels are making owning their own London bolthole increasingly attractive” he adds.