Changing buyer dynamics and caution for next spring

Jessica Simpson

The number of buyers moving out of London and from abroad has increased markedly from Spring 2016 as reported by Private Property Search, independent buying arm of National estate agent Strutt & Parker. Jess Simpson, Head of PPS and specialising in Farm and Estate purchases says ‘ during the months leading up to the Brexit vote new buyer numbers dropped significantly, with buyers moving from London and abroad especially cautious.  Those still active in the market were domestic purchasers, typically living in the area and looking for a long term lifestyle change or family upsize. Post referendum, those domestic buyers have continued searching, now alongside a strong influx to the country from London dwellers or internationals looking to make the most of a weaker pound’. It is anticipated that as a result of yesterday’s shock USA election result we may see an increase in returning British expats from the USA, or “safe-haven investors” however with instability at home in the UK it seems too early to predict the direct ramifications of Trumps presidency on our domestic property market. The weak pound against the dollar will inevitably make UK property look very good value.

The London / Country price divide remains at its greatest, sellers of prime London property have faced a difficult summer with press and buyer confidence at a low. Those who have transacted are still seeing good value in rural property and values that this summer have proved to be less venerable to immediate fluctuations. Not surprisingly, the number of properties launching to the open market has recovered from 2015 (as shown by latest House Price Index) which has given buyers more choice, and therefore at times more negotiating power.

What does this mean for the rest of 2016? Private Property Search predict continued strong activity from their clients across the South of the UK, but caution vendors from having high expectations. ‘Our clients are well educated on market movements and any comparable sales in the area, unless the property is exemplary or there are other interested parties they are unlikely to be purchasing at the guide price’. Simpson went on to say ‘We anticipate a drop in stock levels during the winter before further uncertainty on the triggering of Article 50 in the Spring and the outcome of other key European elections affecting the future of the Euro. Vendors looking to sell before next summer should seriously look at their options and market their property attractively, being flexible when the potential buyer does materialise.’  Advice for buyers out there looks positive, so long as they are erring on the side of caution when looking at asking prices and any compromises the property may have.

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