There is a lot of scrambling going on at the moment. Scrambling for university places, scrambling to recover from riots, and scrambling to handle trading, employment, banking and international currency difficulties.
On the surface there is no such scramble in the property market. But don’t be deceived. Under the surface there is a great deal going on. Sellers are scrambling to sell and buyers are scrambling to buy. For buyers the pendulum seems once again to have swung in their favour. It is another good time to buy. This is particularly so in the middle market sector. Not perhaps so much for first time buyers beset with mortgage deposit challenges, but even in this sector buy-to-let investors are benefiting from a very active lettings market with rentals on the rise. In some circumstances it is now cheaper to buy than rent.
Yet some sellers are just not scrambling enough for their own good. They still believe that market conditions are a lot better than they are - this illusion is fuelled by press reports that the central London market is thriving. But this has a great deal to do with foreign buyers moving international currency. In fact, of the twenty most expensive houses sold in the UK recently, only two weren’t sold to foreign buyers – and Bernie Ecclestone bought them both! The result is a super micro-market in London that is out of step with the rest of the country.
For sellers outside London there are some warm property spots. But in the main those anxious to sell for whatever reason should accept that they will only find a buyer quickly through competitive pricing. Location, location, location is no longer enough. Today it is location, location, location, price and presentation that separate the movers from the stayers.
Perhaps sellers should learn from school-leavers who have cancelled their longed-for gap year to avoid higher university costs. Needs must as the devil drives.
So sellers should scramble to get their houses in order and buyers should scramble for a great opportunity. We are all entering a new age with a shifting economic axis and an uncertain future. But what is very certain, despite these difficult times, is that we all need somewhere to live and we always will.