|Chiswick Proves to Be Oasis in Property Market Desert|
W4 not seeing the evaporation of demand happening in nearby post codes
As much of London sees a collapse in the number of residential property sales particularly for newly built flats, Chiswick appears to be the one place still attracting buyers.
The latest data release from the Land Registry shows a sharp drop in transactions from already historically low levels in areas such as Putney, Brentford, Ealing and Wandsworth. Most notably there appears to have been a complete evaporation of demand for new flats with not a single one being sold in some of these post code areas despite hundreds of units currently being marketed and thousands in the pipeline.
Chiswick seems to be weathering the property storm, with a much less dramatic fall in sale volumes than other London areas and a re-emergence of interest in new local developments.
Buyer incentives and clever marketing by developers of new flats appear to be attracting most interest and local agents say that buyers are finding that they can afford to snap up a brand new flat which might have been hitherto out of their reach.
This continuing demand for new-build flats in Chiswick is reflected in a figure of 14 sales at the 500 Chiswick High Road development. And while sales at the larger Chiswick Gate development near Hogarth Roundabout were slower, the developer sold seven flats and three of the houses during the second quarter.
Horton and Garton's Chiswick Sales Director Paul Cooney says that that ramping up local advertising by new build developers has definitely had an affect on their ability to attract the pool of active buyers.
"They've realigned their 'premium pricing' to be more in line with what you'd be able to purchase a Victorian or Edwardian period property for here in Chiswick. That extra ten percent that you'd expect to pay for a new development prior to Brexit isn't there anymore so buyers are now able to snap up a new build without the premium price tag and that is definitely tempting them away from period homes and towards the shiny new homes with extended guarantees in place."
Overall, volumes remain at levels well below peak, but unlike other parts of London the number of transactions in Chiswick seems to have not declined over the last year. There were 99 properties sold in the second quarter of the year according to the Land Registry which is down by 6% on the same three months of last year but that number is likely to be revised up as some sales will have been reported late.
The average price of a home sold in Chiswick during the period was £926,861 which is down by 7.9% over the year but much of this fall can be attributed to the recovery in the sale of flats which tend to be lower priced.
Mani Sheibani of Featherstone Leigh says, "There is a lot of pressure on agents to ensure accuracy in their marketing in order to hit the ground running, generate decent appointments and achieve the current values in the open market. There is simply too much information freely available to do otherwise.
"It is interesting and challenging times for sure but we have more sales agreed now than we’ve had all year. I feel that the low volume of transactions (comparatively) is principally down to the expectations of buyers and sellers at the moment among other obvious reasons. Sometimes even the smallest movement in headline price to reflect our current perception of the market can make all the difference with viewing numbers and increase a buyer’s confidence in offering rather than 'insulting the vendor' so to speak."
Demand also continues at the top end of the market with buyers still to be found for larger family homes which remain in short supply. The top price paid over the quarter was for a semi-detached house in Priory Avenue, Bedford Park which went for £3,740,000. There also seems to have been a recovery in interest in terraced properties, sales of which are 40% higher than the same period last year.
Paul Cooney added, "Many willing and able buyers are still waiting to see what happens with the London property market. All of us were expecting more clarity on the Brexit agreement by now which isn't there yet, so several buyers who are perched on the fence aren't climbing down and into the active Chiswick market yet. The sellers who are ready to list their homes are also waiting before launching their properties on the market."
The latest House Price Index data published by the Land Registry shows that London prices are the only ones that have fallen over the last year (to May) with the average now £478,853.
Figures for July from the Nationwide House Price Index show that the average price of a home in the UK rose by 2.5% to £217,010.
The was before the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will increased rates at their next meeting at the beginning of the month from 0.5% to 0.75%.
There is not a high degree of concern that the rise in interest rates will have much impact on the property market. Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said, “Providing the economy does not weaken further, the impact of a further small rise in interest rates on UK households is likely to be modest.
“This is partly because only a relatively small proportion of borrowers will be directly impacted by the change. Most lending on personal loans and credit cards is fixed or tends to be unaffected by movements in the Bank Rate. Similarly, in recent years, the vast majority of new mortgages have been extended on fixed interest rates.”
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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