Director’s market update

October 25, 2023

Ed Mackenzie Smith, Director, offers his own summary of how current asking prices are slowing down property sales.

“With hindsight, Covid proved to be a catalyst for the housing market. Lockdown made people really consider where they wanted to live, either to exit a town or city for a move to the country or seaside and the type of property they lived in. Estate agents were one of the first group of businesses allowed to return to work in the middle of May ’20. Some key market metrics were already in place.

Firstly, despite the turbulence that Covid initially caused, fall-through rates were minimal; most sellers and buyers stuck with their sale or purchase. Secondly, underlying demand continued to strengthen and on our return property sales quickly gathered pace. Cue the government stepping in with a stamp duty holiday and the market started to take off with unprecedented demand, coupled with low supply, resulting in rapidly increasing house prices.

The economy was protected by the government’s furlough scheme, bounce-back loans, and business rate relief. None of these exist now. The marketplace is operating amidst much higher interest rates, with inflation reduction as the primary target.

The good news is that despite pressure from higher mortgage rates, demand remains robust in terms of activity.

Buyers are still keen to purchase property in our local areas right now. They just need to see realistically priced property to reflect the market conditions. When priced accurately and marketed correctly, offers tend to happen quickly. Buyers recognise value when they see it."

“If you are selling, then accuracy with your asking price is very important. We’re often asked whether this might mean a lower price, but this is not our experience. In fact, the opposite is often the case. A correctly priced property often achieves a higher price as more buyers end up competing for the same property."

“A very good example of this is a recent successful sale by our Fleet office. Originally asked to market a home for £460,000 offers were difficult to obtain. The owners took a proactive approach and reduced the asking price to £395,000. Significant interest was generated with a sale being agreed at £425,000. So why wasn’t the offer received when asking the higher price? Because value for money talks and buyers will increase their offer if they really want to secure your property. Asking less can often generate more."

“There is more property available now, not because more property is coming to the market, but because sales are slower due to over-ambitious asking prices. Get this right and it won’t take long to get your property sold, convert yourself from a seller to a buyer, and secure the move you planned."

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