Signs of recovery as real emotion returns to the housing market

The number of respected agents and commentators calling the bottom of the housing market is steadily increasing. But if there is a sure sign that the housing market is really turning a corner, it is the return of ‘real emotion’. We have noticed that buyers are getting angry again because they not always getting what they want. While this can be stressful for agents who have to bear the brunt of it, in many ways it is something to be celebrated as it is a sign of market recovery.

At Nicolas Van Patrick, we are having uncomfortable conversations with buyers, the like of which we haven’t had around Knightsbridge for five years. We are used to having such discussions with sellers, along the lines of: ‘the price is too high and given that there are not many buyers out there, you have to price your property accordingly’. Until now, vendors have reluctantly accepted offers in order to secure a sale, and such deals have been largely unemotional.

There has not been much impetus to spur on the buyer but recently we have seen a change as more buyers come to the market. For example, we had a buyer recently who felt under pressure because while a vendor had accepted his offer, there was now another offer from another buyer on the table. Of course, estate agents are obliged to pass on all offers to the vendor but in recent times there haven’t been that many of them. However, lack of supply, several agents calling the bottom of the market, and Zoopla reporting a 1 per cent rise in London property prices year-on-year in October following a period of year-on-year price falls, suggest something is beginning to change.

Buyers who have been sitting back and waiting are now coming to market. The general election result has provided some clarity, which is encouraging people to get on with things. Our message to buyers is that this is the best buying opportunity in a decade but don’t be too relaxed as the rug may be pulled out from under you. London remains an attractive place to buy and comparatively cheap with prices correcting quite significantly in some areas. Just try not to get too worked up about it.

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