Activity in the central London property market picked up in the second three months of 2019 following two slower moving quarters, according to the latest market update report to be published.
Overall asking prices fell by 3% but sold prices increased by 2% compared with the second quarter of 2018.
Sales soared by 20% compared to the first quarter of 2019, but compared with the second quarter of 2018, transactions were down by 16%. ‘The market saw a boost in transactions after the Brexit deadline passed at the end of March when home movers decided, despite no further clarity on the country’s position in leaving the EU, to abandon the wait and see approach that many had adopted for so long,’ the report says.
‘As a result, buyers have become more determined to secure the property they want and are taking the buying process seriously, with more viewings and realistic offers being submitted, and subsequently more sales,’ it adds.
There was also saw an increase in the number of off-market deals taking place and that this improvement in sales activity can be attributed largely to a correction in prices. ‘Buyers may have become more serious about securing a deal, but only where a property is priced realistically. Those properties whose values haven’t corrected in line with the market may result in a longer and more complicated sale,’ it explained.
‘As such, and as predicted, asking prices have come down, but our transactions, sold prices and overall price achieved have all increased. In fact, more than a fifth of our properties sold for the asking price or above during the second quarter,’ the report also says.
Overall, the report suggests that the market is still very much driven by needs based buyers, so as uncertainty surrounding Brexit continues, market activity should be steady albeit with low levels of transactions for the remainder of the year. Furthermore, the prospect of a cut in stamp duty, as proposed by the new Prime Minister, could also result in more people holding off their property purchases.
It also explains that as many asking prices are not in line with the current market and, by reducing prices to be more realistic, properties can attract more serious buyers and in doing so, increase competition, driving achieved prices up.