London Property Finder

Summer Market Update

London Property Finder

Summer 2021 Market UpdatE

Landmark Month for Perrygate 

Perrygate recently had its best month since opening in 2018. In the space of 30 days, we transacted on just shy of £6m of prime London property with significant savings achieved on all purchases. While these are no doubt modest numbers compared to larger buying agents,  it felt like a milestone for our small family business. We are delighted with how clients are responding to our approach and the results we are achieving for them in a complex marketplace.  

It is always a privilege to be entrusted to oversee what is typically one of the most important purchases in someone’s life. To better reflect our ethos to “treat each purchase as if it were our own”, this year we reduced the number of clients we work with at any time from six to four. In the coming years, Perrygate will remain a boutique firm with a first-class network to deliver the best service possible for a small handful of clients. 

The London Market – Contrasting Fortunes 

It’s no secret that the UK property market is experiencing a boom. Nationwide recently reported annual house price growth at 13.4% – the highest level in seventeen years. 

In London, however, the picture is less clear with average house price growth at 5% and significantly lower in Prime Central London – around 0.3%. The lack of international buyers is being felt keenly in central London,  especially for £1m+ one and two bedroom flats. Our searches for smaller central flats have been notably less frantic than for family homes in ‘London Villages’ such as Dulwich and Hampstead.  When international buyers, students, domestic workers and tourists return to London, we expect to see the performance gap between central flats and family homes start to narrow. Several clients are taking the same view and are looking to take advantage of a quiet market to acquire compact but very well located London homes.

Relative Underperformance of London Flats vs Terraced Houses (Source: Land Registry

The Stamp Duty Holiday in Context 

Many have attributed UK house price growth to government stimulus via the Stamp Duty tax break. The SDLT Holiday has clearly boosted sentiment nationwide but we would argue its partial end will not have a huge impact on the market.

Knight Frank reported eleven countries, including the US and Canada, outperformed the UK last year. It is fair to infer that while the Stamp Duty Holiday has clearly had an impact, low interest rates and people reassessing their living situation during Covid are the key driving factors. 

Property – The Ultimate Inflation Hedge?

There is increasing scrutiny of the Bank of England’s assessment that the current inflation spike is “temporary” and a small increase in interest rates may not stem the tide.

Historically, property has been an excellent hedge against inflation. Rents tend to increase in line with inflation and at a time of devaluing currencies, housing remains a tangible and limited commodity. 

This year, we have worked with several clients wary of frothy equity markets and looking for a safe long-term haven for their capital. As a further hedge, some clients able to pay cash are opting to mortgage at low fixed rates. A prolonged inflationary period will erode the real value of the debt but of course figures should be stress-tested against a potential change of course from the BoE’s rate setting committee. 

The Rise of Off Market but Buyer Beware

Hamptons International recently reported more off market transactions in the first quarter of 2021 for any period since 2007. It makes up a significant part of our business, especially at higher budget levels. 

While there are exceptional off market properties, much like the open market, there is also a lot of poor stock. If you peak behind the curtain, you may sometimes be underwhelmed! From our experience the best off market listings come from vendors mindful of privacy and not those testing the market’s reaction to speculative asking prices. 

Going the Extra Mile

Since starting the business, Lara and I have always prided ourselves on building long-term relationships with clients and being on hand well after completion. We frequently work with clients at no extra cost for months after our success fee has been paid.  

In the last few months, Perrygate’s complimentary aftercare services have included:

– a two month process of organising design meetings, sourcing architect quotes and defining the scope for a full renovation of a family home in Hampstead.

– conducting a rental search under time pressure for clients who have successfully used our Buying Service. 

– sourcing an interior designer for a large lateral flat a client purchased in South Kensington. Assisting with numerous other personal affairs for the same client. 

– assisting an overseas client set-up their tax and financial affairs in the UK post-completion. 

We hope our approach will allow us to build long-term relationships with our clients and continue to rely on word-of-mouth referrals for new business. 

If you are looking to buy in London in 2021 or beyond or simply have any questions about the market, don’t hesitate to get in touch on +44 (0)208 0880 522 or [email protected]

London property market update

Spring Market Update

Spring 2021 Market Update

A Budget to Support the Market 

Rishi Sunak’s Spring Budget was a positive one for the property market.

Throughout Q2 and Q3, the government will continue to support the housing market with a range of measures. It clearly sees doing so as central to a sustained economic recovery. 

The extension of the current SDLT holiday until June, after which point it tapers off, will support transaction levels throughout the UK. Of course, a maximum saving of £15,000 has a far smaller impact on central London but it does appear to be supporting market sentiment. 

The introduction of 5% mortgages through a government backed Mortgage Guarantee Scheme and the emergence of 40 year fixed mortgage products will further bolster demand. 

It was perhaps most notable what wasn’t in the budget. There was no mention of Capital Gains Tax on residential homes or any form of property wealth tax.

Such news combined with the performance of the market has seen Savills revise their market predictions. Over the next five years, they now foresee 21.6% capital growth in Prime Central London. Our personal view is that PCL, compared with much of outer London, now represents real value. Retained clients with intimate knowledge of the top end of the market in other global cities are taking the same view. Knight Frank reported that ultra high-net-worth individuals bought more property in London than any other city last year.

New Non-Resident Tax 

One tax deadline not extended was the introduction of a 2% surcharge for non-UK tax residents on April 1st. 

Perrygate completed on purchases on both sides of the deadline with offers factoring in whether the 2% was payable. While this surcharge is an inconvenience, it only places London’s international tax regime in line with other global cities. We do not see it being a long-term deterrent to overseas buyers. However it will likely have a greater effect on the prices in the PCL’s apartment market – particularly in the £2m+ range.  

Successful Remote Purchases

For obvious reasons, there are few international buyers on the ground in central London. It is unclear whether they will be able to return in full force this year. 

At a time of limited travel, a buying agent can gives clients off market access and first-mover advantage. In addition to our work for domestic clients, we have recently secured properties for remote buyers in Hong Kong, Singapore and the US. In each case, our attention to detail and expertise gave them the confidence to proceed. No matter a client’s budget, there is no perfect property. A good buying agent will outline the downsides of a property so clients have a full picture and know if it is the right one. 

Several clients have taken advantage of a quieter market and purchased remotely.

Prime Central London – A Two Speed Market 

Our clients naturally want the best their budget can afford and we search for best-in-class properties for any budget. Particularly in Prime Central London, there is a very clear distinction between such properties which are achieving close to asking price and struggling stock languishing on the market for up to a year – often reappearing in various guises with different selling agents. 

While we are certainly not in a universally ‘hot market’ – there is some gazumping for excellent properties which are in short supply. Part of a buying agent’s role is mitigating this risk. 

As the FT recently reported, the capital’s various house price indices are all flawed in some way. A buying agent on the ground who is putting forward offers on a weekly basis and accessing live price information can give clients the confidence to know they are not overpaying in a fragmented marketplace. 

Diverging Sales and Rental Markets 

The key theme of London property post-Covid has been the differing fortunes of the rental and sales markets. While London house prices have grown over the past 12 months, the rental market is volatile and struggling overall.

Nevertheless, we have recently secured properties for several investor clients.  To ensure our clients clearly understood any opportunity, we provided conservative rental estimates reflecting what was happening in the market. Our due diligence extended to investigating the flexibility of rental asking prices on comparables in the same neighborhood right up till exchange of contracts. 

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If you are looking to buy in London this year and would like to discuss your search, contact us on 0208 0880 552 or [email protected]