Yes, according to a report in last Friday’s Times property pages (paywall, probably) , spotted by a sharp-eyed neighbour (thank you, Fred!).
After 19 consecutive months of price falls — down 2.9 per cent in Greater London since a peak in July 2017, and 15.7 per cent in prime central London since a peak in 2014 — there are signs of life in the market again. It’s probably too early to talk of “recovery” but there are real signs of life in the not-so-quite central areas, because of their relative affordability. A London estate agent quoted in The Times says “Most banks are only willing to lend 4.5 times wages. Even if you’re a couple earning £100,000 combined, there are only a few pockets left in London where a normal person can afford to buy.”
Candidly, one might think that Herne Hill, at least, no longer offers many bargains for people seeking to trade up. It may be less expensive than, say, Dulwich but ‘affordability’ isn’t a word that springs to mind, most would say.
Meanwhile property experts say that even if the market is showing glimmers of recovery, it’s hard to believe it will return to the heady heights of 2017 any time soon, when affordability is still such a problem. “We have had a resetting of prices that was well overdue,” one says. “The idea that double-digit annual house-price inflation is somehow a good thing is peddled by knaves and fools. What we want is a stable housing market.”
The relative ‘hotness’ of housing markets is measured by a new seller’s advisory service, Prop Cast™., whose chart is shown above. Their basic service appears to be free. It measures buyer demand levels to help predict how quick and easy or slow and hard it will be to sell your home. It tells you whether your market is hot or cold, and puts you on the same page as reality ‘so you make smarter decisions about your sale’.
Should we call the architect?
There’s a word of warning in all this. Maybe “potential” isn’t what people are looking for. One estate agent says family houses are selling better and faster because of a lack of decent stock.
“Middle-class millennials want to buy a house that’s already done up, they don’t want to do the work. If you’re prepared to do work, there’s a lot more choice,” he says.
Time to raid the savings?