Come to market now… but choose a boutique agency to do so
After a tricky few years, the housing market got off to an encouraging start in January, with Rightmove reporting its busiest month ever and estate agents witnessing a significant uptick in new buyer registrations. With rumours of a 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge to be imposed on foreign buyers in next month’s Budget, there is certainly an impetus and opportunity to buy now, and we have seen renewed interest from overseas purchasers as a result.
There is still a lingering hope in some quarters that the Chancellor will reduce stamp duty in the Budget. Indeed, the Conservatives flirted with this in their manifesto. But stamp duty on residential property raised £8.3bn for the Treasury in 2019, and it’s unlikely the government wants to sacrifice any of that income. What’s more, there were 5,300 £1m-plus sales in the final quarter of last year, debunking the myth that stamp duty is having a negative impact on transactions at the top end of the market. The other issue is that if stamp duty was reduced, it would be of most benefit to those in London and the south-east where property values are higher, at odds with the government’s focus on the north.
The real issue for the housing market remains the supply drought. Given the lack of stock, there is a lot to be said for bringing your home to market now. There are more buyers willing to transact, for one, with offers coming in at asking, or even above asking, price. Many buyers seem to feel that it is the right time to step back into the market, with prices for some properties lower than at any time in the past ten years.
Choosing the right agent to bring your home to market is an important decision. Why do so many vendors choose an independent Knightsbridge agent like Nicolas Van Patrick? After five years operating in SW7, we have the numbers to prove that we punch well above our weight. We are the only independent agency in the top ten of agents operating in the area by market share. More importantly, we have, by far, the highest listing to exchange percentage of any agent in the area at 59 per cent. The reason why many trust their home to us rather than one of the bigger agencies is that when we agree a transaction, you are in the hands of professionals. We usually get a deal through – we have the diplomacy and know-how to do so. We know what we are talking about, our clients acknowledge that we make sense.
It is why we started Nicolas Van Patrick in the first place – we felt there was a place for an agency which stood for quality rather than quantity. Those vendors who give us the opportunity to sell their home find themselves in very good hands. Every instruction is important to us. We are equipped to give it the time it needs, which is of paramount importance to our clients. Buyers respect that we are not just trying to do a deal at any cost, so there is confidence from both sides. If problems arise during a transaction, we are able to solve them.
So, the message is: don’t wait, come to market now, take advantage of the ‘Boris Bounce’ and beat the rest of the competition. There is no point waiting for stamp duty cuts which are unlikely to come; indeed it is more likely there will be increases. Knightsbridge is looking undervalued compared with the rest of PCL – we had one buyer approach us the other day who had shifted her attention from Holland Park to Knightsbridge because the former has become too expensive.
And when you do come to market, choose a boutique agency to ensure your instruction gets the time and energy it deserves.