|'Stalemate' Reached in Chiswick Property Market|
Turnover reaches lowest levels seen since records began
The number of property sales in the Chiswick area appears to have fallen to the lowest level since records began.
In the final quarter of last year just 90 properties were reported to the Land Registry as being sold in the W4 post code area meaning that less than one home a day was changing hands. Sales volumes have fallen below the levels that were seen during the financial crisis and although more transaction may yet be reported it is unlikely that the position will be significantly changed.
Local estate agent Andrew Nunn of Andrew Nunn and Associates said of the current situation, 'In the world of chess you might say the property market is skirting around “stalemate”. Many buyers believe prices to be too high (along with buying costs such as stamp duty) and so are inclined to wait and see rather than compromise on the wrong property. On the other side many sellers can afford to wait for a “good price” because the cost of debt is so low and they have no plan for the equity once they sell.'
This is the fourth (six year) property cycle that Andrew has operated in and he believes that in the first 3 or 4 years capital growth makes prices unaffordable to the majority of buyers and this leads to stagnation for maybe 2 years until wage inflation kicks in. However, wage inflation generally means higher interest rates so he is cautioning sellers about holding out for a higher price down the line. He describes this outcome as less likely than Leicester City winning the Champions' League this year.
Andrew says the majority of properties coming onto the open market are ex-rental which haven’t really been looked after and by definition aren’t ideal for owner-occupiers. The more hostile tax and regulatory environment for private landlords means there are fewer buyers for this sort of stock.
Demand does seem to still exist for good quality, well located family homes that are sensibly priced and there is still activity at the top end of the market with several properties selling for over £2 million during the most recent period including a four bedroomed house on Grove Park Road that went for £3million. Andrew says homes like this can sell within a couple of weeks but such properties only represent about 10% of the stock coming to the market. Buyers for these homes generally are taking a long term view and taking advantage of the low fixed rate mortgage money available.
Although low volumes make it harder to determine price trends, the average level of a property sold in the W4 post code area in the last three months of 2016 was almost unchanged from the same period last year hovering just below the million pound mark. Generally speaking house prices seem to be holding up better than flat prices but any fall in the latter appears to be marginal.
The Office of National Statistic's House Price Index is showing that the average price of a home sold in England and Wales was £219,544 in December 2016 up by 7.2%. Having been consistently above the levels seen in the rest of the country prices in London are now rising less quickly than the overall average and now stands at £484,000. This is the first time home values in the capital have underperformed the rest of the country since the financial crisis in 2008.
The number of property sales in England in October 2016, the latest figure available was down 34.5% year on year.
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Roughly speaking the post code sector areas are as follows:
1 - Bedford Park and the north side of the High Road
2 - The south side of the eastern end of the High Rd down to the river at Corney Reach
3 - The Grove Park area and over to Strand on the Green
4 - The west of Chiswick between the A4 and Chiswick High Rd - (a high concentration of flats)
5 - The north west of Chiswick - Acton Green mainly