Last year was interesting in London’s property market, to say the least. It was challenging, with flat or falling prices in many market segments, limited stock, and high transaction costs, dampening activity and making it a true buyer’s market. For committed, well-advised purchasers it was, and remains, a great time to be buying, particularly for overseas buyers who can take advantage of the weak pound. However, with limited stock on the market, it has taken hard work, perseverance, and excellent connections to unearth opportunities.
Over 2017 to the end of November, we helped acquire a total of £89,333,300 of properties for our clients across London. Interestingly, 27% were sourced entirely off market. This compares with 33% in 2016, illustrating the trend towards discretion and placing greater emphasis on market intelligence and connections for serious buyers. Last year we were also able to save money for our clients – an average of £257,258 off asking prices, representing 5.9% of the total transaction value.
Looking to the year ahead, January is a time for fresh starts, with a sense of optimism for what the New Year will bring. Indeed, we can be optimistic. Activity in the London property market will pick up in 2018. We saw a marked upturn in business towards the end of 2017, and that pent-up demand will continue this year edging us back towards business as usual.
We see the market in 2018 as being more confident, with more competition, but certainly no bonanza. For those hoping for price rises of the past, however, unfortunately expert forecasts won’t bring much cheer. Most predict flat prices, with Chesterton Humberts, JLL, Savills and Strutt & Parker suggesting 0% growth. Only Knight Frank and Cluttons are in positive territory at 0.5% and 0.7%. Certainly, we would agree that there is little cause for significant price growth over the next 12 months, given the continued economic and political uncertainty.