14th February 2019

Green shoots

One of the (few) pleasures of February, the darkest month, is watching for the green shoots of Spring. The banks of snowdrops I see as I drive around the lanes are a constantly cheering sight and birds are now singing in earnest as the days lengthen. It is all very encouraging and a promise of things to come.

So much for the natural world, what about the country market? It would be stretching the truth to say there are green shoots there as well but all is not doom and gloom. There is a feeling of pent-up energy as we  wait expectantly to see how things progress with Brexit. Quite what people think is going to happen on 29th March I am not sure but let's hope that the anticipated resolution at least brings a crop of new houses to the market.

The price adjustments happening in London - are the recent spate of uber big deals a sign of people calling the bottom? - have taken the reason keeping people in Town away. In recent years people have questioned why they would sell an asset in London that is increasing in value, in order to buy a depreciating asset in the country. Now this is no longer the case, we are seeing a growing interest in moving to the country.

The paradox has been a diminishing supply of country houses and who can blame people for kicking the decision to sell into the long grass with all the uncertainty around? Result: an imbalance between supply and demand. Under any other circumstances this would result in a much snappier market but buyers are understandably cautious and driven  by two things; quality and value. If a property satisfies these criteria it sells remarkably well but one with a flaw or that is optimistically priced is passed over.

As we go into this Spring we sense an appetite for property and see demand generally being better provided. Of course, this depends on whether as a country we don't find yet another banana skin to slip on. Fingers crossed..