ESTATE agents Knight Frank in Henley has sold more houses priced more than £2m in the last eight months than they have done in the preceding three years
ESTATE agents Knight Frank in Henley has sold more houses priced more than £2m in the last eight months than they have done in the preceding three years with a number selling “off market” mainly to buyers from out of the area.
Nick Brown of Knight Frank’s Henley office said: “The property market has been through a torrid time in the last few years.
“We can identify the height of the market being the end of the summer of 2007 although the market did not get into real difficulty until the following year and the months from September to December of 2008 the market fell dramatically.
“Since then we have seen some growth and recovery in certain areas of the country, notably in central London and in the home counties.
“In Henley we have had a very pleasing run this year with strong sales across all sectors. There have been some notable sales in the town from a Victorian cottage on Harpsden Road to Oxford Lodge and Willow Cottage at Northfield End.
“The villages close to Henley have also seen some positive activity including South View at Northend.
“The view is that without the distractions of the Olympic Games and a Royal Jubilee, as well as hopefully settled weather, we will see the market maintain its momentum. The main advice to potential vendors is to take good well-grounded advice based on many years’ experience in the area and a proven track record.
“Do not be too bold on pricing and listen to what the market tells you. We have seen the success we have had because clients have taken the correct advice when given.”
As last year drew to a close, national estate agent Strutt & Parker looked forward to what is in store for the property market this year. Its agents predict an increase in migration to counties outside of London as sellers in the capital take advantage of one of the widest price gaps between London and the country in history.
The expected influx of foreign investment in London, particularly from France and Italy, whose own national housing markets are looking less and less stable, will keep prices in the city high. Some of the eye-catching prices that city sellers will be able to obtain next year, compared to the relatively low prices in the country, will be too hard to resist for those who have been considering making the move.
Last year Strutt & Parker predicted the “year of the great North South divide” in 2012, however this materialised into a more fragmented picture across the whole of the UK with hot-spot areas that are doing well and other areas where the market is less resilient.
James Mackenzie who heads up Strutt & Parker’s country department explained: “We are heading into 2013 with an increase in viewing numbers and new applicants registering.
“This has lifted estate agents’ spirits and vendor and purchasers’ moods have lightened. There is a general murmur in the market place that there may never be a better time to move to the country in terms of value for money, and I believe next year we will see even more families flocking to the countryside, especially in commuter belt areas.”
The economic outlook remains challenging and forecasts for growth are still sluggish for the next two years.
This inevitably impacts on the residential housing market. It is hard to see any significant short term economic boosts for market growth across the UK, however as confidence creeps up, so too will activity.
Mr Mackenzie believes the steady improvement in market figures is down to realistic pricing as buyers and sellers aim to find common ground in the market.
He added: “Buyers are not fools. They are educated, wise and know exactly what the last three comparable properties sold for because they most probably saw them.
“Vendors are realising that if they quote an asking price which sets the bar above reason, potential buyers won’t even come and see it.”
Demand for refurbishment projects has weakened steadily during 2012 and this looks set to continue into 2013.
Strutt & Parker now see most buyers showing far more interest in properties that are offered in excellent condition leading to a bottle-neck effect on green, modern and open-plan living homes.
Mr Mackenzie added: “Environmentally friendly, modern homes that require no work are replacing the Old Rectory as the new ‘dream home’ as people’s priorities change.
“Eco-sensitive houses and properties that are extremely cheap to run with new energy-saving systems in place will do particularly well in 2013. We will see increased demand from both ends of the market — down-sizers looking for the perfect home to move into with no additional costs, and families looking to move up to the next rung of the ladder.”