Prime sales and rental market in central London robust, according to agents

London market robust

The prime property sales market in central London remains strong with continued interest from international buyers and the lettings market has experienced a frenzy of activity, according to a new report.

Void periods for landlords are below three weeks for desirable properties, according to the latest report from W A Ellis that has seen completed lettings up by 50% year on year.

‘The Central London property market has continued to confound pundits despite the huge volatility within stock markets across the globe and the continuing debt crises throughout the Eurozone and the United States. Thankfully, the widespread rioting does not seem to have had an impact on people’s appetite for London property either,’ said Richard Barber, partner in residential sales.

‘The level of interest in high quality flats and houses remains strong. Whilst we have experienced the usual slower period throughout August particularly with Ramadan diminishing Middle Eastern interest, we have continued to agree sales, and contrary to the statistics of national websites, have not experienced sales falling through or dramatic reductions in asking prices. With 70% of overseas buyers completing on purchases in prime Central London, international wealth continues to underpin values,’ he explained.

The lack of high quality stock is still obvious, the report points out. ‘Home owners are seeing capital growth of around 10%, and with volatile stock markets and low interest rates, it currently makes sense to hold on to property. A client of ours who owns two extremely good properties occupying one as his principal residence, has decided to continue to let the other property as the yield, compared to other investments, is still good at approximately 3.2%. This is, I am sure, a commonplace occurrence amongst potential Central London vendors,’ said Barber.

‘There will always be vendors with property to sell and whilst the traditional drivers of the market have been death, debt and divorce, we are now faced with the relatively new phenomenon of the discretionary seller. This is effectively a vendor who has no need to sell but could be tempted by a ground-breaking offer and if he or she is lucky enough to be the owner of a highly desirable special property, they may well receive one, or in some cases, two such offers, a scenario we have witnessed on several occasions recently,’ he explained.

‘Whilst it would be foolhardy to make rash predictions against the background of continued financial turmoil, it would appear that good quality Central London property remains a relatively safe haven in these difficult times, so those who do put their property on that market are likely to achieve a good price,’ he added.

According to Lucy Morton, senior partner and head of lettings at W A Ellis, demand continues to outweigh supply. ‘We not only have those tenants who are forced to rent for financial reasons, but also the frustrated purchaser who is simply unable to find a suitable property to purchase due to the lack of stock. In addition, High Net Worth students arrived in London in their droves this month, together with the late comers into the family market who have left it to the last minute to get settled,’ she said.

‘This has led to heightened demand in the rental market and as such, bidding wars are commonplace. It is increasingly very much a landlord’s market with landlords dictating the terms. Void periods are well below the three week mark on a desirable property presented in first class condition and tenants are paying substantial increases to stay in their current homes,’ she explained.

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