Wednesday, 25 March 2015

What properties are actually selling in Epsom?

Prices up, prices down, prices stable.... the newspapers are full of good news, bad news and indifferent news about the Brit’s favourite subject after the weather... the property market. The thing is the UK does not have one housing market. Instead, it is a patchwork of mini property markets all performing in a different way. At one end of the scale is London, which has seen average prices grow in the last twelve months by a shade under 19% (and again that is an average because some Borough’s in London have risen by 26%) whilst in the land of Daffodils , by contrast, Wales only saw a 2% increase in property values (although in the Merthyr Valleys they dropped by over 11%).

We cannot ignore the rest of the UK, and we can’t forget that the Chancellor’s Stamp Duty reforms have polarised the London property markets above £1,000,000 because at the top end of the market, punitive Stamp Duty charges will dampen demand further. While the Bank of England warned of the growing London property price bubble in the Spring of 2014, even talk of a recovery in some areas was premature. In 2015, irrespective of where you are in the UK, one story will unite the patchwork quilt of markets – really slow property value growth.

But what about Epsom? Well, we haven’t had the December figures from the Land Registry yet, but the last few months’ activity and prices achieved would suggest neither house price growth nor drops. In fact, most sellers are buyers anyway, so if you need to take less for yours, you won’t have to pay as much for the one you want to buy ... and that is good news for everyone as most move up market when they move. This is even better for landlord investors, as they can bag a bargain as well.

The question you should be asking though is not only what is happening to property prices, but which price band exactly is selling? I like to keep an eye on the property market in Epsom on a daily basis, as it enables me to give the best advice and opinion on what (or not) to buy in Epsom.

If you look at Epsom and split the property market into four equally sized (into terms of households) price bands, each price band would have around 25% of the property in Epsom, from the lowest in value (the bottom 25% ) all the way through to the highest 25% (in terms of value). Over the last two months (63 days to be precise), in the lowest quartile, (those with asking prices under £300k) 85 properties have come onto the market in Epsom and 51.7% of them (44 properties have a buyer and sold stc. The next quartile, between £300k-£440k of the 124 properties that come on to the market, 49.1% of them (61 properties) have a buyer. The £440k-£585k price range has seen 116 properties come on to the market, and 31% of the properties have a buyer (36 properties). The most expensive 25%, the £585k plus range, has seen 21 of the 120 properties that came on to the market find buyers (17.5%). Fascinating don’t you think?

The next three months’ activity will be crucial in understanding which way the market will go this year and I honestly believe we will not see any house price growth or drops this side of the election. Election or no election, people will always need a roof over their head and that is why the property market has rode the storms of Oil crisis in the 1970’s, the 1980’s depression, Black Monday in the 1990’s, and latterly the Credit Crunch together with the various house price crashes of 1973, 1987 and 2008.

And why? Because of Britain’s chronic lack of housing, this will prop up house prices and prevent a post spike crash. ...there is always a silver lining when it comes to the property market!

As always, if you would like to discuss any aspect of buy to let in the Epsom area, please feel free to email me at ian@directresidential.co.uk or keep reading this blog.

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