Garrington Property Finders search consultant Katherine Watters shares her overview of the current UK property market.
Today’s UK property market is undeniably still a mercurial and turbulent one. Whilst some properties are achieving 10 – 20% over their asking price in competitive scenarios, others are languishing for months on end and are the subject of multiple vigorous price reductions.
There are many frustrated buyers in the UK property market who have been in rented accommodation for several years and are increasingly keen to invest capital in a purchase rather than continuing to rent. A slower start to the Spring market and low levels of quality property stock have simply expanded the bottleneck of frustrated and lacklustre buyers. Sellers have been reluctant to launch their properties for fear of not finding an onward purchase and the Jubilee Celebrations meant that the usually buoyant months of May and June fell rather flat.
Today’s buyer must be ready to act swiftly and to think laterally. Historically, a buyer was seen to be in the strongest position if they were a cash buyer and able to exchange and complete quickly. In the current UK property market, vendors are happier to see a cash buyer who offers a quick exchange but a delayed completion. This way the vendor has the comfort of a sale but also the safety net of enough time to source their onward purchase.
All of that said, a good property at the right price will attract a good level of interest and often result in a competitive bidding scenario, however correct pricing is paramount. Priced too high, a property will fail to create interest amongst very specific buyers and result in eventual price reduction, at which point many will have discounted the property in their minds; in addition it doesn’t help a property to be the subject of numerous price reductions in the journey to finding its true value. Buyers should also err on the side of caution as many properties are still habitually overpriced.
A noticeable trend Garrington Property Finders have witnessed recently in transactions is that after terms have been agreed for client’s purchase – every single transaction needs nursing through due to low levels of trust from buyers and sellers alike. Banks and mortgage lenders are also cautious, with many deals falling through due to lower than anticipated valuations. It is proving imperative to maintain clear channels of communication between the various agents, lenders, solicitors and clients in order to achieve a successful outcome.
Not only are we seeing a huge rise in enquiries from frustrated purchasers looking for that elusive property, but also those who may have found the right property but need help in the negotiation process, as pricing continues to be uncertain and vendors often appear unwilling to actually commit to a sale. In addition we are also seeing a rise in enquiries from frustrated vendors, confused by the market and needing advice on their next steps.
Whilst we all hope the Autumn UK property market will prove a good hunting ground for all, I feel it is far more likely that broader economic factors will ensure that a sticky market and low levels of stock remain the norm.