In an uncertain market, call a good buying agent
7 March 2017
I have been struck recently by how many of the 'old chestnut' houses, several of which have been on the market for years, have found buyers since Christmas. Clients ask whether this is a sign of the market changing gear; we don’t think so although time will tell. It is more likely down to a lack of supply, very often combined with the house finally being realistically priced or packaged in such a way that it now appears attractive to jaded buyers.
In fact I can think of one small estate, which in various guises has been on and off the market for more than four years where the main house and about 20 acres were recently offered separately from the land. This resulted in more than 40 viewings in two weeks, with several bidders as a result. All of this is good news, as houses that have been seen to be sticking finally selling puts heart into buyers but also encourages other sellers to try their luck. This is something that is acutely needed in much of the country where lack of supply is proving a real problem.
It is no surprise that an uncertain market puts off sellers who are thinking of moving for lifestyle reasons, i.e. they don't have to move. Their immediate reaction to a market they don't like the feel of is simply to kick the decision into the long grass until things improve. Whatever the motivation, or lack of, the net result is limited buyer choice.
Now, I must confess that this is the kind of market that buying agents thrive on; after all sourcing those houses not openly available is our raison d'etre. It is no coincidence that the last two transactions I have undertaken for clients have been sourced privately. But generally it forces the attention of every buyer onto what is openly available with the result, perhaps, of a 'false dawn'.
I do not want to be branded as a harbinger of doom but people may still need to be cautious. The full effect of Brexit and general economic uncertainty, combined with the full impact of the changes in stamp duty have yet to be properly felt by the housing market, especially at the upper end. In practice life does and must go on, so if you find the perfect house and are happy with the price, buy it. However, it may be worth seeking good advice about whether the price is right and get someone to do the due diligence; in other words call a good buying agent.