Analysis of Land Registry sales data has revealed that 30 per cent of properties have either matched or exceeded their owners’ expectations.
Although this means that the 70 per cent of buyers have managed to haggle their way to a discount, the research also found that the average price being paid was just over 98 per cent of asking price — indicating that while there are deals to be done in places London’s market is far from a fire sale situation.
Nationally, the hottest market in Britain is Yorkshire and the Humber, where almost half of all properties have sold for on or over their asking prices.
Within London the strongest demand since the advent of Covid-19 has been for spacious homes, with outside space. Demand for inner-city apartments, particularly those without balconies, has flagged.
Carl Burgess, a director of Winkworth in Shepherd’s Bush, has seen little in the way of the competitive bidding and gazumping which is being reported in other parts of the country as buyers fight over the best homes.
“Zone 2 has not seen the same craziness as in other areas,” he said. “Prime Central London and less green areas of London have not done as the suburbs and the home counties, because people have been moving out, not in.”
“We have had the odd one which has gone for over asking price, but nowhere near 30 per cent,” said Burgess.
In Dulwich, however, Gareth Martin, owner of Harvey & Wheeler estate agents, is seeing strong interest, particularly for family houses.
“Anything priced from £2.5m to £3m and up will get very strong demand indeed,” he said.
“Buyers are coming from the local area, and we are also getting a lot of people moving out from Clapham and Wandsworth, and a lot of European buyers who have been living in central London.”
Beyond London agents are also being kept busy buy a stream of buyers moving out of big cities.
In Cambridge, Bruce King, a director of Cheffins, said that the number of deals he has done over the last six months to nine months has been higher than in previous years – in part because with Christmas 2020 more or less cancelled the traditional December buying hiatus did not materialise.
“As buyers moved out to the regions in their droves we saw a frenzied market, with properties coming to the market selling within only a matter of days,” he said.
But despite the strong suburban and country market Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property, warned owners against trying their luck by asking inflated sums for their homes.
“If your property is priced too high at the beginning it will stick out like a sore thumb as buyers will compare the asking prices of similar properties in the same area,” he warned.