Residential Market Comment Q3 2023

The prime West London property market in Q3 has seen an extremely mixed set of market forces driving both sales and lettings, supply and demand.

The prime lettings market continues to be dominated by the scarcity of quality stock which has seen rents continue to climb to record level and stay there. Some of this can still be attributed to the post Covid 19 re organising of the market, many tenants are still outside the traditional lease term paterns that usually dictate when the market is busy, such as spring/summer and September. Usually as large numbers of applicants enter the market at these times the stock arrives to meet them, this is still not the case for large numbers of properties. This type of market dislocation will inevitably wash through the system as the normal cadence returns to London.

London continues to be a top seasonal destination for many tenants choosing to summer here in order to avoid hot domestic summers and also to enjoy the world class shopping areas that London has to offer. With movement and flight restrictions no longer a barrier to these individuals London has once again seen the market for its ultra prime property boom.

Interest rates and regulation continue to put upward pressure on rents. Higher interest rates will make some landlords look to other asset classes for their pensions or savings pots. The ever growing regulatory interference from the government continues to make the prospect of being a land lord less attractive and financially burdensome. As a result of this the lack of lettings stock does not appear to be easing any time soon.

The prime central London sales market has also seen many competing pressures driving the rhythm of the market throughout the year. Landstones have seen a flurry of activity in the family house market with many families having outgrown their current properties during Covid and are now looking to make a move over this summer. The top priority for many families is still access to good schools and this makes a lot of moves of this type time sensitive. Again, lack of stock is the key factor here and many price records have been broken in late 2023.

Going into the September and autumn markets Landstones is predicting unsatisfied demand and lack of quality stock to be the main driving factors. Inflation seems to have been stemmed by the governments policy of raising interest rates and banks are now looking to pass new lower rates onto borrowers. Global elements, such as the Ukraine war, extreme summer heat levels in many countries, and unstable domestic currencies continue to bring overseas buyers to the capital, while concerted ‘’Return to Work’’ policies along with greater financial opportunities are bringing domestic buyers and tenants back in large numbers.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your property requirements please get in touch with our knowledgeable and professional team who would be happy to help.

Residential Market Comment Q1 2023

The prime central London property market has seen a steady increase in the level of activity across all sectors in the first quarter of 2023. The most significant market trend is still the lack of rental property and the subsequent rise in prices due to the supply constriction.

Although we are seeing a slight increase in lettings stock, demand still far outstrips supply and we are not anticipating this to change. Many landlords are still looking to other sectors for their savings pots. The landlords who remain in the market are reaping the benefits with many Landstones clients receiving record rents at present.

The mortgage market has recovered from its initial turmoil with interest rates currently at 4.25% and indications the government is positioning to reduce rates as soon as its confident inflation has been capped. Mortgage Lenders have begun to expand product availability giving buyers better choice of products and better rates further fulling activity in the property market.

The prime central London market has remained strong, despite the uncertainties associated with the post pandemic. Economy. There has been an increase in demand for luxury properties in prime locations and this trend is likely to continue throughout the year. Prime central London is still seen as a very safe haven for foreign investors and overseas money which drives an underlying level of demand for prime luxury homes all year round. Buyers have been moving into the market with US dollars to take advantage of the weaker pound with many large family houses going to American buyers.

Family houses have been selling very well in the early part of 2023 and we anticipate this trend to continue into the spring and summer as the better weather brings out families after work to look at outside spaces and gardens.

In conclusion, the Q1 property market has been growing by the day. The lettings stock is still low, but increasing, while record-breaking lettings prices are being achieved. The mortgage market is stable, and the prime central London market remains strong. Family houses are selling very well.

If you have a property to sell or would like our advise on your rental portfolio please do get in touch with the team at Landstones, we would be delighted to help in any way we can.

January 2023 Property Review

london in spring

As we move into 2023 and put thoughts of Christmas behind us, we’re already taking stock of January and how the property market has kicked off.

The lettings market has continued in much the same vein as it finished in 2022. A huge lack of stock across the board from one-bedroom flats to five-bedroom houses has forced tenants into mass competition for the best properties. Rents have risen at record rates from the bottom of the covid depression up to all-time highs across prime West London.

The government’s policy to burden landlords with ever greater tax and regulatory obligations in order to drive stock from the rental market onto the sales market has done nothing at all. It’s constricted lettings property supply, driving rents up and resulting in tenants paying more for less choice, less overall confidence and stability.

We predict the current fundamentals of the lettings market to continue for the foreseeable future. Landlords will be in the driving seat, a position they’ve not found themselves in for some time. It’s important to use this advantage to secure not only the best possible price but also the best possible tenant.

Banks have begun to adjust longer-term mortgage rates as they continue to compete to attract new customers. The turmoil in the mortgage markets following last year’s mini-budget seems to have now flushed through the system leaving behind an average additional 2-point uptick in overall rates.

As with the end of 2022, the prime central London sales market continues to be starved of good quality stock. Pent-up demand for best-in-class family houses will see the first vendor to the market in early spring inundated with viewings and may well result in several large sales coming very early this year. Expect prime properties to be going to sealed bid situations.

Landstones has a positive outlook for the market, and for landlords.

If you’re thinking about selling or letting your property, please get in touch as we’d love to help with your property needs.

Our favourite spots in Notting Hill

Kensington park road london

Notting Hill, London is famous across the world. Perhaps due to the romantic comedy, Notting Hill, but also because of the things to do, things to do and the recognisable, Stucco-fronted houses on every road.

Here are the spots we recommend you have a look at when you’re in town.

Portobello Road Market

This is a treasure trove of antiques, oddities and pretty much anything you can imagine. Lining Portobello Road, this is a world-famous market you don’t want to miss out on.

The Churchill Arms

This is one of London’s most famous pubs. And yes, it really does have a £25,000 yearly flower budget. It’s really something to behold and the perfect photo opportunity.

The blue door from “Notting Hill”

The widely-known blue door from the movie, Notting Hill is the second door on Westbourne Park Road, number 280.

Lancaster Road

If you’re in need of a photo spot or just fancy basking in a rainbow, Lancaster Road is for you. You’ll no doubt have seen this road online before, it’s simply beautiful.

Grab a coffee

Our favourite coffee spots in Notting Hill are Sally Clarke and Hermanos. And we visit daily.

Street food market

Tucked away at the top of Portobello Road, Acklam Village Market offers cuisines from across the world.

Electric Cinema

For the cinematic experience, head to Electric Cinema. Or more specifically, one of their double beds, preferably with a nice blanket to huddle under.

The Distillery

The Distillery boasts three boutique bedrooms overlooking Portobello Road. This hotel also offers two bars, The Resting Room, and a cocktail spot, The Malt Floor.

Notting Hill Carnival

Every August bank holiday, the streets of Notting Hill are flooded with a remarkable dancing parade and people really go all out on the costumes.

What are your favourite spots in Notting Hill?

Looking forward to 2023

bridge in london covered in snow

Closing out 2022, many of you in the property industry would be forgiven for feeling a little punch drunk.

2022 seemed to be disaster after disaster. We emerged from a global pandemic, saw Ukraine enter into a war, witnessed our shortest ever-serving prime minister in Liz Truss, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, our longest-serving monarch, and finally, the inevitable conservative leadership race to select a new prime minister, the third in as many years.

Despite this, there are plenty of positives to take into the New Year.

We’re going into the New Year with a progressive government and a business-friendly prime minister who’s stated getting Britain back on its feet and providing a platform for businesses to thrive is a priority. We’re also hopeful to see a positive conclusion to the war in Ukraine. The knock-on effect of this is the falling of energy prices, helping to control fuel-based price inflation. As well as lowering interest rates and stability in returning to the mortgage market long term. Buyers were reluctant to purchase at the end of 2022 due to uncertainty around mortgage products, hobbling the sales market for several months while banks repriced their offerings.

2023 will be positive but there will remain headwinds in the marketplace. Interest rates will take their time falling as the Bank of England wrestles with inflation, and mortgage products could take even longer.

The UK economy may fall into a recessionary cycle as business and output growth slows. Inflation will still be a factor for households as higher prices erode savings and wage inflation doesn’t keep up with the real cost of living. For the property market, the effect of inflation could be upward pressure on prices. As the incentive to save is diminished, many people will look to transfer their savings into tangible assets.

We expect 2023 to start as 2022 left off with regard to prices and stock levels. We’ve seen historically low levels of stock for the last six months, prices in the lettings market are close to 40% up on the lows of the pandemic and sales prices remain strong on the back of a lack of available property.

Our advice for 2023 is as always quality, quality, quality.

If you’re thinking of investing in a buy-to-let property, always purchase the best property your budget allows. This may seem obvious, however, many fall into the trap of buying a compromised property for the extra space thinking bigger is better. This isn’t the case. When it comes to void periods and property liquidity, a premium one-bedroom apartment on a good floor will always outperform a compromised two-bedroom property on a poor road or lower ground floor, for example.

If you buy premium, you will always do well.

We’ve seen a period of a weaker currency, making London a good value investment for overseas inventors. London continues to be a world financial capital bringing companies and employees to the capital each year. The English capital also boasts five of the world’s top educational establishments, this brings thousands of students from the far east and across the world into the city’s rental market.

At Landstones, we’re bullish on the long-term outlook for property in prime central London.

Property Spotlight: The not-so-Ugly House

living room from house in north london

From the outside, this inconspicuous house in Kensal Rise isn’t one you’d double-take at. You wouldn’t think it’s any different from its neighbours. But how wrong you’d be.

The exterior of this Thirties terraced home in North London has remained the same but the interior is awe-inspiring. Full of light and reclaimed materials, architect to the stars, Andy Martin, has created every interior designer’s dream.

Walking through the front door, you’re greeted by the open plan ground floor. Looking through, you can see the south-facing, serene garden, smart swimming pool, grass-topped studio and sauna.

The ground floor is bright, contemporary and perfect for family living. You’ll immediately notice the black-painted, wooden feature wall behind the wood-burning stove which is made up of the property’s original floorboards. The kitchen is lined with second-hand steel units, wooden shelves and a white marble countertop.

The floor-to-ceiling doors at the end of the kitchen bring the outside in beautifully. Making this the perfect entertaining space throughout the summer months. Or even the winter months if you fancy a dip in the heated pool.

The first floor is home to three bedrooms. All flooded with light, the bedrooms offer a simple design and share a bright white bathroom.

The converted attic is now a bright master suite. With an egg bath under the window, this is the perfect sanctuary at the end of a busy day. Ample storage and an entirely glass-walled en-suite complete the master bedroom.

The result is an effortlessly-chic family home in an area renowned for its quick transport links into the city and beyond.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, when asked why this house, Andy Martin said, “[Thirties houses] have good, roomy proportions that are easier to work with, fewer chimney breasts, and good ceiling heights. This one was south-facing. It was a no-brainer.”

Explore The Ugly House further by clicking here.

Residential Market Comment Q3 2022

A lot has happened in a short space of time. The global marketplace has reeled from one shock to another. We could not have predicted as we entered a global pandemic that we would go on to see, the sad passing of a monarch, a war in the Ukraine, a global energy crisis, ravaging inflation and a change of prime minister.

As we enter the Autumn season and prepare for Winter, recent data continues to show the market is rebalancing after a period of dramatic supply demand imbalance with more properties coming to the market and demand from buyers remaining strong (up 18% on pre pandemic figures).

With the proposed capping of energy bills, we do see one of the headwinds in the housing market being tackled. So, the simplicity of demand and supply is overruling other concerns about interest rates, inflation and the cost of living, for the time being. Needless to say, there will be testing times ahead where we will all have to reassess how we live and use energy in the most effective way we can.

The new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced a mini-Budget on the Government’s economic plan to drive down inflation and cut taxes to boost growth. The Chancellor hailed “a new era” and stated he wanted to “get Britain building.. unleash the power of the private sector… and encourage a nation of entrepreneurs.”

There was positive news for the property market, with the immediate cut in stamp duty on the first £250,000 of a property purchase, instead of £125,000. First time buyers will be pay stamp duty on homes over £425,000, up from £300,000. Relief for first time buyers has been raised to properties up to £625,000, up from £500,000.

The Chancellor announced reforms to the planning system with a new Bill to be introduced to simplify planning processes.  There will also be a sell-off of surplus government-owned land to help boost the supply of homes. Investment Zones will be introduced, with relaxed planning and tax incentives for commercial and businesses creating new jobs. These are thought to be planned for the West Midlands, Thames Estuary, Tees Valley, West Yorkshire and Norfolk.

There were several initiatives to encourage business growth. Next year’s planned increase in corporation tax has been cancelled and will remain at 19 per cent. The bonus cap for City bankers has been removed to help “reaffirm the City’s role as a world centre for finance.” There will be an extension of the Enterprise Investment Scheme and pension fund investments will be unlocked to allow investment into targeted growth projects.

Landstones has a very positive outlook for the market and for landlords. If you are thinking about selling of letting your property please do get in touch as our team would love to help with any of your property needs.

Residential Market Comment Q2 2022

After a difficult period for landlords the tide is really turning. Lettings prices have been increasing across the board, mainly driven by a severe lack of quality stock in all ranges. Prices for the average weekly rent have risen up to 15% over the past six months. Over the same period year on year the available listings have dropped over 25%. Coming out of the global pandemic the sun is really starting to shine for landlords. Our advice at Landstones is to use this advantage to find good quality tenants and lock them in.

Best in class stock remains highest on the priory list for both buyers and tenants, prime central London has always been a haven for investors and people seeking to retain value in property. If you are looking to buy or looking to invest as a landlord you will never go wrong with a top quality asset. You can find best in class in all price’s ranges, from 1 bedroom first floor apartments with outside space up to 5 and 6 bedroom houses on communal gardens. Spend some time looking for what you want, Landstones agents are always here to advise and guide you through the process.

The sales market is still very busy, buyers out number available stock 25 to 1 in many areas. With inflation starting to tick up we may see interest rates follow so it’s a great time to secure a long term mortgage at a very good rate. Rates are still at historic lows and banks and building societies have a wealth of great product out there for all buyers.

Residential Market Comment Q1 2022

The beginning of 2022 started with great hope and optimism in all our lives and the wider economy as a whole, if not tinted with a little hesitation. The end is now in sight, and we are all hoping to return to normal as quickly as possible. Huge numbers of workers have started returning to offices across the capital and the trickle has swollen to a torrent of life pouring back into central London.

More people can only mean on thing, demand, demand, demand. The lettings market has been the first to take off like a rocket. Best in class properties were the first to go as eager tenants snapped up the last of the Covid priced flats before the market adjusted and began to catch up at pace. Since January 2022 residential lettings prices have been increasing across the city at the fastest rate since records began. At the time of writing the stock available on the market is being offered at between 10 to 15 percent higher than pre-Covid levels. The combination of lack of fresh supply and properties clogged up with artificially elongated tenancies left over from Covid lockdowns have had a major constricting effect on available property.

There is mounting pressure on the chancellor to act swiftly and decisively to alleviate the constriction on supply of homes. Specifically, the 3% stamp duty surcharge on buy to let properties. According to analysis by Capital Economics, scrapping the stamp duty surcharge would boost housing market activity by encouraging investors to invest in properties and that would in turn help meet the growing demand for rental homes and drive up transaction levels. The economic consultancy believes that removing the 3% levy would see almost 900,000 new private rented homes made available across the UK over the next ten years.

Overall house price growth in the capital remains strong with average house prices hitting record highs. Towards the 4th quarter of 2021 London found itself lagging behind the country as a whole in percentage growth rate as the effects of the Covid exodus were being felt. While London remains the weakest performing area of the UK, its annual house price inflation has accelerated for a third straight month now standing at 4.5% – the capital’s strongest performance in over a year – as people returning to the city, a strong labour market and affordable mortgage rates combine to heat the residential housing market in prime central London.

With the Bank of England’s interest rate hike to 0.5%, there’s been speculation that this may affect the market or any further growth. However, the level of demand we are continuing to see this year, currently 34% higher than this time last year and 71% higher than in 2019, only intensified by the city returners and favourable market conditions, suggests the rise will unlikely dampen the motivations of those looking to move.

With the world now embroiled in wider conflict that only 3 months ago was not even on our radar we see investors rushing back to the safe and stable currencies of the pound and the US dollar. Property and gold have always done very well as asset classes in times of turmoil and stress in the economy. The outlook for London’s housing market for both owners and landlords is extremely strong for the near future.