Spring 2024 Market Comment

2024 saw the Prime Central London Property market display resilience with an impressive level of activity across all price ranges despite a backdrop of evolving international political and economic uncertainty and a looming UK election.

At Haringtons we have not seen a slowdown in the domestic and international clients who continue to come to us for advice on buying property in London, seeking stability as well as the lifestyle London is famous for. That said, with recent changes to non-dom status and talk surrounding further taxes on foreign investors from a likely Labour government this has raised a few questions, the most common being ‘will there be major price falls, there must be some desperate sellers, is now a good time to buy?’

As ever though, we continue to say that we do not foresee the substantial market fluctuations that less-experienced buyers are expecting and London continues to be perceived as the safest global city in which to invest. Our governments, even while dealing with a wide range of challenges, are stable and we have the rule of law. No government, whether on the left, the right or centrist would risk de-railing London – the closest to any brush with instability was the Truss/Kwarteng government and the markets were impressively quick to respond.

Furthermore, the generation of asset-rich, cash-poor owners of Prime Central London property has largely faded away and their property has passed to their children. They have substantially built on their parents’ success and have far higher expectations of quality, luxury and value.

High Net Worth buyers looking in Prime Central London appreciate that the markets are bubbles within bubbles. There are only a certain number of flats on the best streets, only a very few houses in the best squares. The key in this market of highly sophisticated sellers who know the value of their assets and wealthy, equally sophisticated buyers is unlocking the opportunity at a price which both sides consider to be fair.

Our London clients include buyers from the UK, US, Middle East and Europe and all are looking for homes for the next 5 years +. They appreciate there will be less quality stock on the open market in the lead up to the election and they know that sourcing the best of the best requires persistent detective work, an unrivalled network across all property professionals and deep local knowledge. 2024 will inevitably have the speed bump present in every election year, followed by a post-election bounce-back so we see significant opportunities ahead – those opportunities will be quietly available only to the most qualified buyers and they will always be those who understand the importance of professional buying advice.

As the proverb goes ‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight, red sky in the morning shepherd’s warning’.

We can’t remember seeing either so far this year and no doubt the shepherds will have been having a very damp time during the lambing season. Farmers across the country have been struggling to sow spring crops thanks to waterlogged fields and winter seems never-ending. As ever, the weather is having its say on the country property market.

Whilst discussing the weather is a favourite pastime of the British, whether it is the weather or the looming general election, housing stock and availability of land remain extremely tight in the countryside. For country houses around good schools there remain a queue of buyers lining up to pounce on anything that comes available. Even with the increase in the cost of debt over the last year or so, this leaves the best houses immune from potential price drops and competitive situations still exist in certain circumstances. Whilst the general theme of data from the analysts of the major housing price indexes shows price falls, it must be remembered that this is looking at the residential market across the whole country and is not a fair reflection of individual markets, especially prime country property.

Supply of farmland is also short and remains attractive for no other reason than that there are few asset classes that can absorb a significant amount of wealth in a single entity that remains blue chip, secure and with potential tax advantages. As a result, prices being achieved for farms and estates remain on an upward trajectory. Recent data from Knight Frank’s farmland index show average price for land at £9,250 per acre. However, there are countless examples of higher prices being achieved, especially when a neighbouring landowner is involved.

Whether the late Spring or inevitable hindrance of a general election – even if the result is a forgone conclusion – life rolls on. Properties will continue to be traded and we remain on hand to advise our clients in the best possible way, to add value and to transform their property wishes into a reality.

For buying advice in either London or Country, please do not hesitate to contact one of the team.

Read more here – Haringtons – Spring Market Comment 2024

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