Thursday, 30 July 2015

Fewer people are moving house in Epsom

The dust has settled from the General Election thankfully, we can get on with a more normal property market, or that is what the London based ‘Fleet Street’ journalists would lead you to believe. I have been talking to other property professionals in Epsom (solicitors, conveyancers and one of the best sources of info – the chap who puts all the estate agent and letting boards up in Epsom and all of them, every last one of them told me they didn’t see any change over April in business, compared to any other month on the lead up to the Election itself.

I am now of the opinion that maybe in the upmarket areas of Mayfair and Chelsea, the market went into spasm with the prospect of a Labour/SNP pact with their Mansion Tax for properties over £2,000,000, but in little old Epsom, there has only been four properties sold above £2,000,000 mark in the last 5 years.

In a nutshell, the General Election in Epsom didn’t really have any impact on people’s confidence to buy property. As I write this article, of 625 properties that have come on to the market in Epsom since the 2nd of April, 281 of them have a buyer and are sold subject to contract, that’s over four in ten (44.96% to be precise).

I think that things are starting to change in the way people in Epsom (in fact the whole of the country as I talk to other agents around the UK) buy and sell property. Back in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, the norm was to buy a terraced house as soon as you left home and do it up. Meanwhile, property prices had gone up, so you traded up to a 2 bed semi, then a 3 bed semi and repeated the process, until you found yourself in a large 4 bed detached house with a large mortgage.

Looking into this a little deeper like I have referred to in previous articles, Epsom people’s attitude to homeownership itself has changed over the last ten years. The pressure for youngsters to buy when young has gone as renting, not buying, is considered the norm for 20 something’s. This isn’t just an Epsom thing, but, a national thing, as I have noticed that people buy property by trading up (or down) because they need to, not because ‘it’s what people do’. This does mean there are a lot less properties on the market compared to the last decade.

A by-product of less people moving is less people selling their property. My research shows there are a lot fewer properties each month selling in Epsom compared to the last decade. For example, in February 2015, only 49 properties were sold in Epsom. Compare this to February 2002, and 72 properties sold and the same month in 2004, 102 properties. I repeated the exercise on different sets of years, (comparing the same month to allow for seasonal variations) and the results were identical if not greater. So what does this all mean? Demand for Epsom property isn’t flying away, but with fewer properties for sale, it means property prices are proving reasonably stable too. Stable, consistent and steady growth of property values in Epsom, year on year, without the massive peaks and troughs we saw in the late 1980’s and mid/late2000’s might just be the thing that the Epsom property market needs in the long term. For more advice and opinion on the Epsom Property Market, keep ceking this blog or email Ian at ian@directresidential.co.uk

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