Looking back, 2013 was a year of change. It would now appear the consensus is that we are looking forward as an economy, focusing on growth as opposed to covering the gaps. The UK economy has grown consistently, the housing market is buoyant, inflation has finally fallen to the Bank of England’s 2% target for the first time in four years and confidence is rising. Whilst we are not completely out of the woods yet, the outlook is much more optimistic.
The property market in 2013 turned out to be the most active year since 2007 with transactions likely to have exceeded the one million barrier for the first time in six years. Prices in London and the suburbs saw dramatic rises with demand outstripping supply in many areas.
Many commentators are saying growth is likely to slow in the coming years across the capital and this would seem logical. Growth at close to 10% year on year for the wider housing market is unsustainable, but should interest rates rise and the cost of borrowing increase; it is likely we will see prices and growth move to more sustainable levels. I feel that 8% over the year is in accord with many other property indexes.
The early part of 2014 should see more people deciding that the time is right to move and there is definitely a higher feeling of confidence in the economy. I believe we will continue to see strong demand from buyers with low interest rates and an easing of mortgage restrictions and Anthony Cusack, our mortgage advisor, echoes this.
Anthony comments: “There is a level of panic amongst buyers in the sense that they want to move quickly. Buyers are aware that we are very much operating in a sellers’ market and that there is no point offering below the asking price if they want to secure a sale.”
The CML have just reported that there was a substantial rise in the number of first time buyers last year and this again concurs with our own findings where we have seen approximately a 20% rise in first time buyers. This clearly demonstrates the desire of young people to follow the UK culture of home buying despite rising house prices.
The encouraging outlook makes our job of keeping potential sellers’ feet on the ground, that much more difficult. Last year the market was strong, but nationally we’ve seen evidence of a big gap between actual selling prices and asking prices. Using the internet, buyers can learn so much about a property before they even call the agent – and many buyers won’t even waste their time to look at your home if it is too far out of their price range. From our experience at Northfields, the market is too good to worry about your agent “under-selling” so why restrict people who can genuinely buy your property from ever stepping inside by asking an unrealistic price? If the price of your property is not over-inflated and the marketing of your property is high quality enough it will attract high numbers of buyers who will realise they are competing in a tough market and offer competitively, making sure you achieve the highest possible price for your property.
Here at Northfields we have been achieving some of the highest ever selling prices for our clients and we anticipate 2014 will show a similar pattern. Ealing is a fantastic family area with good schools and, with Crossrail on the horizon, the excellent transport links are about to get even better.
The lettings market remains very robust and confidence amongst landlords is strong. The private rental sector looks set for another excellent year with capital growth and good net yields leading to further investment by many.
For those of you who are wondering whether now is the right time to sell or let your property, it certainly is. January is when changes happen and many buyers and tenants are looking to start the New Year in a new home!
Our five sales and lettings offices across West London work closely as a team to ensure speedy results and the best match for our clients. To experience our award winning service, feel free to pop into your nearest branch or call us on 020 8740 6622. We look forward to helping you move.
The first quarter of 2014 will be a period worth watching with intrigue, but the signs are that the train won’t be stopping anytime soon.
If you have any questions about the property market you can tweet me directly @northfields We’re here to support you however, and whenever you need us.
Wishing you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2014 from everyone at Northfields.