Rightmove’s latest house price index suggests that sellers have been accepting 3.7% less than they were asking, an improvement on 2009, 2010 and 2011 when they were typically paid 4.9% less. I’m not one to brag as you know but in 2012 my clients typically paid 20% below the original asking price!
When we talk about the housing market it is usually from a sellers perspective. Rising prices are thought to be good which of course they are – for those selling homes. However every seller needs a buyer and in an uncertain market doubt creeps in and with doubts come opportunities – for buyers!
Earlier this year I agreed a deal for a client who wanted to buy a neat flat near Swiss Cottage. The original guide was £1.65m. With patience, good humour and a knowledge of the market we tied it up at the price the estate agent had originally said his client would never take. £1.3m (a 21% saving) is a fair price but I acknowledge that it’s not a steal and who knows, perhaps we should have held out for more.
Another client will be spending their first Christmas in their lovely new home we bought in the country. It was first marketed at £2.6m and many months and a couple of dis-instructed agents later we paid just £1.85m (around 28% less) for it.
As I am fond of reminding people, a third of homes on the market have had their guide price reduced only one in three homes actually sells! According to Rightmove average asking prices are 1.4% higher than they were a year ago despite sale prices across England & Wales being 11% below the peak – reached in November 2007. Even in the seemingly red-hot London market 64% of deals are done below the agents asking price according to ever-helpful Lonres.com.
During this year I have found homes for BBC talent moving north to Salford Quays and rented a home in the smartest part of London for £20,000 a week. I’ve looked for development projects in the South East, for modest pied-à-terre’s and for investment projects in London. I’ve worked for Brits, Brazilians, for Italians and a Russian. It’s been an exciting twelve months.
Demand from new clients for ongoing help – preparing their property for sale, monitoring the redevelopment of a house or helping prepare a portfolio for the market has led me to devise The Pocket Agent, a service costing just £150 a week but that brings access to the expertise and connections that only a career in top end property can bring.
2013 will bring more chances for those looking to buy. As I have said in my predictions for 2013 although it seems crackers I still expect a modest rise in prices and in transaction volumes but as the old property sages used to say, “you make your money when you buy, not when you sell”. Next year some people will lay down the foundations of what will no doubt become their property fortunes.