Signs of recovery in prime central London property market

There are signs of renewed activity in the prime central London residential property market, particularly at the upper end of the price scale, it is suggested.

So far in the first quarter of 2017 pent-up demand, the effects of sterling’s fall and more realistic asking prices have combined to trigger a rise in sales, according to independent property buying agency Black Brick.

There has been a return to competitive bidding with the upper end of the market, which has been subdued due to stamp duty changes, and properties that are priced to attract buyers are selling, said Camilla Dell, managing partner of Black Brick.

She gives as an example a flat in Queen’s Park came on the market for £750,000. There were other flats in the area of the same size but these were overpriced, so attracted little interest. With a realistic price, the flat sold within four days for £785,000 and there were four competitive bidders all of whom offered over the asking price.

Not only is some property attracting competition, but the firm has also seen a return of gazumping. It recently secured a flat in Canary Wharf for a client at £1.48 million. The initial offer of £1.44 million but was gazumped by another buyer who offered £1.5 million. The firm managed to re-agree the sale at the original asking price as the client was a cash buyer.

‘It can be very difficult for buyers to know where the value lies especially in new developments were there can be a wide range of asking prices. To understand the market, a buyer needs to do their research,’ Dell explained.

‘Understanding where and how much property has sold for can help but with new builds, prices do not get entered onto the Land Registry database until the project is complete. Therefore, buyers need to be very cautious, or take advice about where such properties should be priced,’ she added.