Hamptons International – Market update – 9th June 2016

Hamptons International Market update

Good afternoon everyone,

For those of you who are new to these reports I add all my current vendors, past valuations and current buyers to a list of recipients for a regular (roughly once a month) update of what’s really happening in the market.  There’s no sales patter and no pushiness, it’s just an honest and open take on the market as we see it.  As ever, if you want to be removed from the list please just ask.

It is with a considerable measure of sadness that this will be my last market update, as the next one will be brought to you by the newly promoted Tara Sinclair.  As many of you know, my role recently has been increasingly focussed on my various offices rather than on the day to day events in just Battersea.  Tara joined the Northcote Road office a year ago and the intention has always been to make her my successor and so I am therefore delighted to announce that we have now promoted her to be the new Branch Manager of the Battersea office.  Tara is already well known to many of you, She joined the Battersea office last year as the Assistant Manager having been one of Hamptons’ highest performing Associates in the Clapham office for four years. Her customer service levels are exceptional and her structured and tireless approach to being as productive as possible every working day makes her a superb estate agent and, now, manager.  Tara has been doing the vast majority of valuing for Battersea in recent months and has been acting in a managerial capacity for the team for some time so I am confident that she will step seamlessly into this exciting new stage in her career when she formally takes over the reins on Monday 20th June.

I will not be far away however, I still live just around the corner from the office and I will continue as Chairman of the Northcote Business Network so events such as the Summer Fete and Christmas market will still continue to be ostensibly organised and run by the Hamptons Northcote Road team.  Do keep an eye out for the hanging baskets along Northcote Road which should be arriving in the next few weeks – this is the second year we have organised these and many local businesses have contributed to their provision.

So, what’s going on in the world of property at the moment?  In a word, busy.  As I have mentioned in previous updates, we have definitely had to get used to a different way of working.  Sales take much longer to put together as both buyers and sellers tiptoe around offers, each trying to ensure that they end up with the best possible ‘deal’ for themselves. Some buyers will offer low with the intention of holding back for later negotiation, whilst others will make a ‘one and only’ offer and if it’s not accepted simply walk away. For us agents it’s often difficult to discern which buyer is which, so if you are looking to make an offer its always worth spending some time with us to get our advice on how to proceed – after all we only get paid if we sell the property so it’s in everyone’s interest to get you to a point where a sale can be agreed!!

Overall we are almost exactly on budget for the year which, when you consider that targets were set in November last year, is no mean feat. Our viewings to offer ratio has almost doubled and sales overall take much longer to put together, but the result does seem to be that we generally have much more committed buyers and sellers.  On the whole our fall through rate is very low, certainly against the national average of around 30%, however we have had a couple of sales recently where the buyer had negotiated a good price and then simply leveraged this against a different property and pulled out a few days later.  Whilst clearly frustrating for both the vendors and ourselves, we are not the only agent going through this and when it happens it merely redoubles our resolve to re-agree the property to the next buyer.  We are also seeing a significant number of offers being made by buyers with related sales themselves.  It’s somewhat of a paradox that the same buyers who are using the uncertainty of the referendum to make low offers on properties we are selling, and yet are also expecting that their own property will sell at an inflated price and within days!!  If you are looking to buy and have somewhere to sell yourselves then you really do need to get on the market before you go out looking.

Clearly there is much chat around the referendum at the moment (is anyone else as fed up with all the rhetoric surrounding all this as I am?!!?) but all will be over in a few weeks.  Funnily enough, all of our current buyers seem to be relatively ambivalent about the whole thing – I have spoken to many of them in the last few weeks and the most prevalent view seems to be that life will go on, they need to move and there’s a good amount of stock to choose from.  Our Balham office has had more offers in the last week than they had in almost all of May so clearly people are keen to get on with things.  Frequently both buyers and sellers feel that they are making their move based on at least a five year plan, and so what may or may not happen in the next couple of years was fairly irrelevant. If we stay ‘in’ then they will have made the very best of the current fully stocked market and if we exit then they will still need a roof over their heads and they prefer to own rather than rent. It all makes a great deal of sense.

And so on with our usual round up of current stock.  As ever, we look at what is on the market, at what price levels and how long places are taking to sell.  The table below shows all of the fully available (not yet under offer) stock between the commons, from Bolingbroke Grove to Clapham Common and from Battersea Rise to Nightingale Lane (source- rightmove.co.uk):

Type of property No. available Average time on the market
(so far!!)
Average £/sqft No. available last month Average time last month Average
£/sqft last month
1 bed flat 13 81 days £946 15 95 days £984
2 bed flat 37 67 days £908 55 71 days £881
3 bed flat 12 65 days £821 20 95 days £815
House 56 76 days £847 62 99 days £843

The number of one bedroom flats has dropped slightly and asking prices have dropped back by around 4% which is much in line with our expectations.  The number of two bedroom flats has also dropped, as has the amount of time on the market – a clear indicator that the savvy buyers are making the best of the number of properties available and the willingness of vendors to be flexible on price.  The number of three bedroom flats on the market has returned to more normal levels as some developers have made the decision to rent rather than sell for the time being.  We are also starting to see a reduction in the number of houses on the market which in many ways is welcomed, however it’s too early to predict whether the lower amount of stock is due to properties being sold or just the vendors getting frustrated with the market and withdrawing altogether.  The prices in terms of £/sqft have also nudged up fractionally.

And that really is it from me.  It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to have been able to share my thoughts with so many people over the years, when I started these market updates I had no idea how they would be received so when I started getting requests from complete strangers to ‘add them to the list’ it was a complete surprise and I know that various other Hamptons offices have now also followed suit.  I have no doubt that Tara will continue to update you with everything that’s going on locally – I have offered to help her with the first few, and at least they’re likely to be a bit shorter than mine!! In the meantime I look forward to seeing the outcome on the 24th and hopefully catching up with some familiar faces at the Northcote Road Fete on 10th July.

As ever, this update, as well as all of my previous missives is available to view on my blog, which also links to our Twitter feed and can be seen here:

http://hamptonsbattersea.co.uk/

Do feel free to subscribe and forward the site address to anyone you know who might be interested.  If you have any feedback please also get in touch.

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