Jonathan Mills, owner of Parkgate Estate Agents, grew up in East Sheen, attending local schools and playing in local parks. He also claims to have eaten in every local restaurant at least once! For the past 16 years he has worked locally in Barnes, Putney, Richmond and is now finally “back home” in East Sheen, conveniently located next to the Hare & Hounds pub!
Here Jonathan takes stock of the property market in SW14.
“The New Year is a time for optimism but I would like to start by reflecting on 2016. In all my years as an estate agent I have never known such an uncertain marketplace: Brexit, Stamp Duty changes, changes to mortgage availability and new legislation for landlords have all impacted the values of our homes.
Trying to decipher which had the greatest impact is virtually impossible but the statistics would suggest that post-Brexit uncertainty initiated the housing market stutter. The first half of 2016 was buoyant and transaction volumes were up about 60% (according to the Office for National Statistics) and prices were rising sharply, too, with the same source quoting a 13.6% rise in May 2016 compared to the previous year. Even after the additional taxation measures on buy-to-let property were in place we still had a fairly fluid market and this buoyancy continued until the shock of Brexit in late June, which few foresaw as a reality, myself included.
The Referendum put a stop on the housing market. There were limited economic reasons for this but the general uncertainty that permeated the marketplace and the lives of all of us created this sudden stagnation. After all, who makes the huge decision of buying a new property when there are so many uncertain influencing factors? Now, the summer is hardly the most active of times for the property market as we all tend to go on holiday or prefer sipping a gin and tonic in the sun rather than spending our evenings and weekends viewing property. So the immediate aftermath of the Referendum gave little indication as to what the effect the vote would have aside from a slightly quieter market than normal.
Come September, however, the traditional spike in the market never materialised. Buyer enquiries were limited and it appeared that both buyers and vendors were ‘marking time’. Having said this, property did exchange hands and house prices in London as a whole rose a further 1.4% in September. Our experience at Parkgate was that transactions were more limited, the sales process was longer with the added negative that the amount of aborted transactions grew considerably as buyers and vendors changed their minds post-Brexit. This characterised the remainder of 2016 and, whilst some property did move, it was not an easy process and certainly required a lot of effort and bravery from buyers, vendors and agents alike. Ultimately the official statistics show that 84% of properties were sold for less than the asking price last year as the market and agent valuations made adjustments to a post-Brexit world.
Looking forward to 2017 one can be more optimistic. Property prices are estimated to rise between 1% and 5% this year. Although we are not likely to experience the double-digit growth of previous years, there is an understanding that the simple supply/ demand factors are still in favour of price rises and property is still a stable investment.
We have obviously only just started 2017 but the initial signs are positive with buyer enquiries up and those active buyers appearing to be shopping with more conviction and our viewings to offers ratio at this point has gone from 14 viewings per offer to just 8 per offer. The data pool for 2017 is, of course, small but why refuse the chance to look ahead with optimism?
If you would like a realistic assessment of your property value or just want to chat through your options Parkgate are always available to assist with professional advice.
Parkgate Estate Agents, 218 Upper Richmond Road West, London SW14 8AH | 020 3758 4433