This is an uncertain and frustrating time for buyers looking for prime properties. The pandemic is distorting markets across the south of England, meaning people have to spend more time than ever sifting through an overwhelming and confusing number of stats, market reports and opinions.
A large part of the problem is the current paucity of supply of quality properties. Whether this is the ‘new normal’ remains to be seen, but given the chaotic way some ill-advised buyers have structured their searches over the last year, it is likely that in the next 24 months there will be a number of people new to country house ownership who will decide that life is, in fact, better in the city and as a consequence will put their hastily purchased house back on the market.
The other crumb of hope is that many of the prime houses coming to market every year are owned by downsizers, which is a move you put off for as long as you possibly can. The last 18 months have provided a perfect excuse for a procrastinating downsizer to stay in properties where they are perfectly happy; they may well have been hosting extended family over the summer months, proving that a large house they know they really should sell still has a use.
However, when the pandemic starts to feel more under control, these downsizing sellers will come to the market. Next Spring we may well see two years’ worth of downsizing supply in addition to the normal market levels.
Market confusion is not limited to the prime country market, there have been some equally complex scenarios in prime central London. There has been a flight to properties with good gardens in sought after areas, and those close to large parks, all of which are now viewed as essential. Houses in some streets in Kensington & Chelsea are now more expensive than Mayfair. It is difficult to believe that this is a clear upward trend and is more than likely that this is also a ‘moment in time’. Buyers should question their motives for looking on a particular street if there are equally as good alternatives in the wider area.
The biggest advantage an advisor like us can offer buyers is the benefit of experience. Having operated through several market cycles over the last 20 years we have learned to adopt a long-term view, especially when faced with a crisis. In the famous words of Douglas Adams: Don’t Panic!
– Managing Director, Mark Parkinson