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News: Demand for property may have intensified, but pricing remains sensitive

Tue, 15 Sep 20

The post-lockdown rebound in buying momentum looks set to continue in and around London as we head into Autumn, according to a new survey from Savills.

The estate agency reports that there are a high number of buyers and more properties coming to sale, amid greater urgency in the desire to move home. 

The survey of 1,400 registered buyers and sellers revealed greater urgency in the desire to move than an earlier survey mid-lockdown.  

Demand is driven by a desire for the right home to suit new lifestyle expectations, with more space the key driver, suggesting that Covid-19 will leave a lasting impression on the market. 

A net balance of 21% of respondents are now more committed to a move within the year, up from 9% in April but below the 32% net balance recorded in June. In London, a net balance of 25% of respondents want to move within the year.

Frances Clacy, an analyst at Savills, said: “Since the housing markets began reopening on 13th May, the top end has rebounded particularly strongly, as it is underpinned by equity. 

“The stamp duty holiday is providing additional impetus, and when combined with the experience of lockdown, is bringing forward purchases that may otherwise have happened in two or more years’ time.”

Despite high demand levels, the market remains price sensitive, the Savills survey suggests. 

More than half - 56% - of respondents are prepared for property prices to fall in the next year, but over two-thirds anticipate price increases in the next five years and 47% think they will rise by more than 5%.

“The uncertain economic backdrop and the finishing of the furlough scheme at the end of October, means short term price expectations remain cautious, though buyers are willing to take a longer term view on pricing,” added Clacy. “That is underpinning activity across the prime markets.”

 

Buyers are now far more determined not to compromise on lifestyle factors, with 62% saying that the amount of garden or outside space had become more important, up from 49% in the firm’s April survey, and rising to 71% for those in London.  

Over three quarters of those with pre-school or school aged children now place more importance on the amount of outside space available.

“Many Londoners are looking to upsize to leafier prime areas such as Chiswick, Wimbledon and Wandsworth where viewing levels in the past four weeks have been up to two and half times higher than they were in the 10 weeks pre-lockdown,” said Clacy.

“This has translated into competition for the best properties and peak prices being paid for large family homes. We already know that a home with a good garden can come with a price premium of up to 16% in parts of London and we could see that premium rise further still,” he added.

 

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