Janine Stone, 19 September 2019

150 150 Middleton Advisors

Janine Stone asked some of the leading buying agents, including Middleton Advisors, whether the number of prime properties being sold off market is increasing.

According to Tom Hudson “the majority of houses in the Middleton country market are owned by discretionary sellers. They don’t have to sell and, as a result, they tend to ’try’ the private market to see whether their expectations can be met and if there is a buyer out there. This is increasingly the case at a time when transaction numbers continue to fall, and the vendors find valuation using comparable sales very difficult.”

“As a result, we will always have a book of opportunities far greater than any portal and selling agent. There tends to be a quality play here too – for whatever reason, the very best houses tend to be the ones that sell privately.”

“Although this is not always the case, these discretionary sellers are jumpy about friends and invariably staff, finding out that they may be selling. They are keen to avoid ‘announcing’ this to the world if the buyer is not evident.”

As vendors increasingly insist on zero public visibility, the market is being managed by behind the scene ‘brokers’. Middleton’s Adam Buxton, who is most active in the Cotswolds, told DBPR, “…last year (2018) only one property was bought above £2.5m without a buying agent”.

Middleton’s Mark Parkinson said that 10 years ago he would typically speak to approximately five agents for property searches over £25m. Now he will make more than 30 calls to a variety of agents and brokers who are ‘secretly’ active in the market. “The online portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove are missing up to fifty per cent of what is actually available,” he says. “The industry is very definitely changing.”