'Worst Ever' Chiswick Property Market Grinds to a Halt

Transaction levels below those seen during lockdown and financial crisis

A house on Rusthall was the most expensive sold recently at £2,630,000. Picture: Rightmore

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April 14, 2024

New official figures suggest that the end of last year could have been the worst ever for the Chiswick property market in terms of turnover.

The number of transactions recorded in W4 between October and December was below that seen even at the height of lockdown and during the financial crisis in 2009. One local agent described it as a ‘death and divorce’ market with the only sales being made forced on the vendor.

The Land Registry has reported that 62 homes were sold during the three months which is fewer than the number seen in the second quarter of 2020 when Covid-19 restrictions were in place and the first quarter of 2009 when the banking system was thought to be at risk of collapse.

The data is confirming the impact that high interest rates are having and seems to indicate that it they have had a much bigger impact on areas like Chiswick where property prices are high and people may need to take on more debt to enable purchases.

Christian Harper of Harpers of Chiswick confirmed that there was a dramatic fall in the number of transactions in the fourth quarter of 2023. He said, “So much speculation around interest rates, general election speculation and talk about a recession made practically everyone reluctant to ‘push the button’.

“This year has started with little to no quality stock but as the months have passed stock levels have improved and good quality buyers are transacting.”

Mateo Asminian who works in sales at Andrew Nunn & Associates echoes the view that the market is slowly improving in his firm’s quarterly market report.

He said, “The year got off to a promising start in the Chiswick property market following news in December that the Bank of England would not increase base rate from 5.25%. January saw many lenders cut their mortgage rates, stimulating buyers and giving confidence to vendors. However, these cuts were short lived. Experts’ predictions of a base rate decrease around May were pushed back to August following news that inflation had crept back up to 4% and, with school half terms drawing closer, the market appeared to cool in February – not atypical. But sentiment changed once again heading into the last month of the quarter as we saw inflation cool and mortgage rates settle once again.”

An agent from the Chiswick office of one of the larger chains told us, “Amazing as it may seem, we were seeing less activity in the office at the end of last year compared to a time when people were literally confined to their homes terrified of catching a fatal plague. The only good news is that my Minesweeper times are now pretty incredible. I’ve been in this lark for decades and what we have seen recently is the worst it has ever been. It remains mainly tumbleweed through this branch but a bit better in the last couple of months.”

The average price of a property in the W4 postcode area in the fourth quarter of last year plummeted to £859,066 down 22.3% on the same period in 2022. However, given the low volume, this is unlikely to be an accurate reflection of the trend in prices and agents say that they are seeing no significant falls although the general movement is slightly down.

There are still transactions going through at high prices for larger family homes with three Chiswick houses selling for over £2million in recent months including ones in Park Road, Barrowgate Road and a semi-detached six-bedroom property on Rusthall Avenue that changed hands for £2,630,000 nearly double the price it was bought for in 2006.

Flats in Chiswick continue to struggle both in terms of price and demand although the worst may have passed. Mateo Asminian says, “In the two years leading up to 2024, we recorded a consistent downtrend for flat values, with the average value for flats of the previous 8 quarters (or 2 years) sitting at £772/sq ft. It appears, however, that this correction is reaching its conclusion; not only did more flats sell in the first three months of this year when comparing with 2023, but the average value of flats that sold sat at exactly £772/sq ft! What’s more, the amount of flats needing a price reduction before going under offer was down from 38% in Q1 2023 to just 22% this year.”

He believes that continued rent increases are encouraging more first-time buyers to enter the market particularly now interest rate expectations have stabilised. He added, “We have especially noted excellent demand for well-presented properties that fall within the two key tiers for first-time buyer stamp-duty relief - £425,000 and £625,000.”

Data from Katherine McDowall in his firm’s lettings department shows that average rents for flats have increased by 9.5% year-on-year with 1-bedroom flats now commanding £1893pcm, a 10.5% increase, and 2-bedroom flats a hefty £2459pcm which is 8.2% up on a year ago. This increase, supported by fewer applicants, has been driven by the 27.6% reduction in the number of flats coming to market.

Chiswick Property Prices - (October to December 2023)
Area Detached Sales Semi-
Sales Terraced Sales Flats/
Sales Overall Ave Total Sales
W4 1 0 0 2290000 2 1383203 7 692250 8 1164731 17
W4 2 0 0 1470000 1 859200 5 458571 7 690462 13
W4 3 679000 1 0 0 1196250 2 485000 2 808300 5
W4 4 0 0 2043250 2 0 0 523617 9 799914 11
W4 5 0 0 0 0 920451 8 535187 8 727819 16
Total 679000 1 2027300 5 1078842 22 550355 34 859066 62
Change in Quarter -75.5% -87.5% 5.4% -81.5% -19.8% -66.2% 5.7% -42.4% -29.0% -61.0%
Change in year -74.4% -85.7% 10.0% -80.0% -15.7% -55.1% -2.5% -51.4% -22.3% -58.9%
Change in three years -68.6% -80.0% 2.0% -79.2% -14.8% -62.1% 4.2% -63.8% -14.4% -65.7%
Change in five years -66.6% -88.9% 27.4% -68.8% -6.4% -50.0% -2.4% -53.4% -10.0% -56.3%
Change in ten years -71.9% -50.0% 26.2% -83.3% -4.3% -69.4% 9.8% -64.2% -5.9% -68.8%

Source Land Registry

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

The latest information from the Land Registry shows that average house prices in the UK decreased by 0.6% in the 12 months to January 2024 with prices in England down by 1.5% to £298,575. London is currently the worst performing area in the country with prices falling by 3.9% to £517,726 over the year although they have risen from levels seen in December.

Figures from the Nationwide for March of this year seem to confirm some level of recovery with the London average at £519,505 up 1.6% so far this year but still down 2.4% compared with a year ago.

Provisional estimates by the Land Registry for the number of transactions in England in November 2023 show them more than halving to 31,246 from 69,759 in November 2022.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said, “Activity has picked up from the weak levels prevailing towards the end of 2023 but remains relatively subdued by historic standards. For example, the number of mortgages approved for house purchase in January was around 15% below pre-pandemic levels. This largely reflects the impact of higher interest rates on affordability. While mortgage rates are below the peaks seen in mid-2023, they remain well above the lows prevailing in the wake of the pandemic. “

If you want to receive regular updates on the Chiswick property market with informed comment from the best local agents sign up for our weekly e-mail newsletter.

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