The property market appears, to me, to be as polarised as it’s ever been. I’ve read plenty in the press about plummeting prices and some doomsday scenarios. Yet I’ve had conversations with selling agents who are having record years. At Middleton, we are as busy as we’ve ever been since opening our doors 10 years ago.
There is certainly an appetite and demand for prime property. But, as has been the case for several years, supply is very limited – probably at its lowest level since the Lehman collapse. And it has given rise to several counter-intuitive trends.
With any prime property purchase, there will be certain concessions a buyer is willing to make. So, for example, if they have a wish-list of 10 features, they might be willing to compromise on three. In a demand-rich, supply-poor market, logic would dictate that buyers would be willing to compromise more. Yet, the opposite is often true. With so much contradictory economic data around, buyers – I believe – are nervous of making a mistake, and need advice as to when to commit and when to stand back.
Secondly, buyers like competition. If you are the only person bidding on an expensive acquisition, it’s understandable that you might wonder what the others know that you don’t. But if your advice is sound and the pricing is accurate, surely it’s better to have the road to yourself?
Thirdly, in the scramble to win business, some selling agents can be generous with guide pricing. When the price is pegged back to its more realistic level, this can give the impression of a falling market, increasing nervousness.
At Middleton, our robust trading is based on the ability to give clients confidence when so much data, so much commentary, so many anecdotes, are contradictory and unsettling. Our watchwords – focus, independence, trust, diligence, knowledge – apply more than ever.
Tom Hudson, director
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