The Great British Stand-off

Published Jan 31, 2019 – 3 mins read

I had the pleasure of sharing the day with my fellow Garrington property finders from across the UK yesterday and as is usual for these meetings, we shared our views of the property market within our respective regions. This is always a fascinating insight into our nation’s property market diversity with typically, one reporting property market mayhem as others report more subdued activity. Indeed, despite what the media headlines like to suggest, England’s property market is made up of a series of ‘micro-climates’ that only local property expertise can unravel.

Yesterday, however, a common theme ran through all our reports – yes there are still differences on how the prime, investment and second home sectors are performing but, in all regions, there are signs of a buyer/seller stand-off.

What’s happening in Rutland and Stamford?

My report to the group was that despite the Brexit uncertainty there is still healthy demand from Buyers to look for property, but the shortage of for-sale stock is frustrating many. Most agents are reporting that they have continued to be invited by homeowners to value their properties but afterwards there is a frequent reluctance to ‘sign on the dotted line’ and list their homes.

Of those who do decide to put their property on the market, a significant number of homes are being advertised at over inflated prices and as a result of this, we are seeing regular price reduction advertised on Rightmove.

Where properties are being launched at a realistic price, the healthy demand from buyers in the area is leading to some deals being agreed. Indeed, last week a prime property was launched on the internet and within 24 hours had a close to asking offer from a cash buyer.

Where is the property stand-off happening in the Rutland and Stamford property market?

At the top end of the market (£1m-£3m), there are several properties which have been on the market for some time but remain unsold. From keeping close tabs on these prime properties, I understand that they have received quite a lot of interest and viewings but have yet to shift. The reason for this is often the buyer/seller stand-off.

Recently, I have experienced a downright rejection of an offer with no subsequent invitation to negotiate because the sum did not match the value perceived by the seller. Some would say that we were acting as ‘typical’ buyers chancing our luck in an uncertain market, but this would be an unfair reflection of the amount of time and thought we dedicate to forming a fair and realistic offer.

When comparing properties, we look at price per square foot, the relative locations, the amenities on offer, and the general market price for these sorts of homes.

It is in-depth stuff and I always try to balance of buyers’ frequent wish to pay the lowest price with a view on what the seller could realistically be looking to achieve.

In the case mentioned above, there remains a determined stand-off. Understandably, given the uncomfortable political news and gloomy ‘if the worst happens’ statement by the Governor of the Bank of England that UK house price could (but are highly unlikely) to drop by up to 30%, our clients are not feeling bullish or inclined to significantly increase their offer. On the other side, we have a seller who thinks his property is a rare find in a market that is short of stock so is worth a lot more.

This stand-off is understandable, but properties don’t get bought without negotiations and in this instance, we have left the ‘door open’ but moved on to look for alternative properties.