London property news: housing market back with a bang as buyers flood back after election

london’s property market has sprung spectacular back into life with buyers flocking back in record number after a three-year “Brexit freeze”

Agents across the capital have reported “unprecedented” volumes of registrations since Boris Johnson’s decisive election win over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

Leading firm Knight Frank said last Saturday was its “busiest ever” for viewings, with new buyer registrations in the second week of January almost double the level of 2019 and 2018.

Christopher Burton, head of Knight Frank’s Dulwich office, said: “Interest has exploded at the start of this year.”

Sellers have also returned in huge numbers, with the total value of London properties being put up for sale since polling day already above £10 billion.

Ian Springett, chief executive of OnTheMarket said: “We have seen a higher than expected 91 per cent increase in the number of sales leads over the first seven days of January 2020 compared with the same period last year.”

There are early signs that the dramatic upsurge in interest has started to feed into prices.

Rightmove said today that the average asking price rose by 2.1 per cent, or £12,320, to £600,145, in the month to January 11, the biggest monthly jump ever recorded at this time of year.

The recovery has been particularly strong at the higher end of the market where buyers and sellers have been in “property hibernation” for more than half a decade.

London agents Nested said “For Sale” signs have gone up outside £4.5 billion worth of homes priced at £1 million or more since the election, a 39 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Chief executive Matt Robinson said: “This year has started with a bang. We’ve received double the number of enquiries than in the same period in 2019 and on Saturday we had a record number of viewings.”

Across the market as a whole, Merton, Ealing and Lambeth have seen particularly strong increases in instructions from sellers.

Meanwhile, agents Savills said more £5 million-plus sales of London homes went through in December than in any month for five years.

Lucy Pendleton, managing director of estate agents James Pendleton, said there was growing evidence of “green shoots” since the risk of a Corbyn-led government was removed. “All of a sudden it is not unusual to have multiple offers and to go over asking price.

“The average selling price has been 98.3 per cent of asking over recent weeks, before the election it was down in the low nineties. There’s no gazumping going on yet thankfully — but who’s to say that it’s not far away,” she said.

She added that in the week commencing December 16, the agency agreed 14 sales worth a total of £12 million, the highest number for the week before Christmas in five years.

Simon Gerrard, managing director of estate agent Martyn Gerrard, said: “There more optimism in the air. We have felt for some time that all the market needed was some kind of political resolution and stability for buyers and sellers to return.

“The definitive election result has meant even more people are now looking at their plans for the future and feel they can confidently get on with them.”

A spokeswoman for online broker Habito said: “Our data found that Google searches for the words ‘mortgage in principle’ were up 63 per cent in the first six days of January, while searches for ‘mortgage advisor’ were up 80 per cent compared with 2019.”

Ed Mead, founder of the online property viewings portal Viewer, also said appointments are up 50 per cent since the election.

Marc von Grundherr, director of London agents Benham & Reeves, said: “The coal that fills the furnace of the UK property market is market sentiment and it doesn’t matter what your stance is on Boris, even the slightest inkling of returning stability has been enough to reignite the fires for both buyers and sellers.”

Original article by Joanna Bourke, Jonathan Prynn – Homes & Property