It’s all a bit confusing at times


An article published this week by The Guardian suggested that property prices are to fall 20% over the next two years.

A statistician called Andrew Brigden, of financial research group Fathom, agreed that homeowners should expect a rough ride for a while. Fathom reckons house prices are 20%, perhaps even 30%, too high in relation to average wages.

“I think the correction will come at some point, even if interest rates stay where they are, but if rates go up, that will hasten it,” he said.

However, he believes there is another possible scenario in which it could be possible that prices will remain flat for many years to come, while wages gradually catch up – Well that’s got that covered then!  Property prices either fall, or stay pretty much flat, for ages.  However I agree about the wages, as average house prices are now a staggering 5 times the average salary!

Meanwhile Rightmove reported a 4.2% increase over the past month in London, though adding that transaction levels are likely to remain very low (meaning the asking prices are being raised but they aren’t actually selling for this) – It seems that with many first time buyers priced out of getting on the property ladder by requirements for 25% security deposits this will influence the entire market somewhat.

Elsewhere reading a report produced by RICS at the end of 2010, I read “Whilst exceptional properties are still commanding high figures the more mainstream market is beginning to weaken with less demand and over-ambitious pricing” and “The continual negative press comments are beginning to impact on purchasers’ confidence – sensible pricing is therefore the key to a successful sale”.

So what really is going on?

Are sellers still dreaming of getting an unrealistic price for their property?  And what is fuelling this rationale?  Perhaps having little equity and large mortgage debts is blighting the average seller and affecting their needs?

Maybe estate agent agents are over-valuing property? Remember that many sellers are guided by the agent as to the marketing price and likely sale price.

Many property owners are actually giving up trying to sell and looking at becoming a landlord instead.

So what is it going to take to sell your property?

Firstly make sure your asking price is realistic.  Buyers will not pay over the top especially with talk of price falls on the horizon.  Research very similar properties in the immediate area, and if you are given what seems to be a high valuation, make sure there’s a reason for it and ask for supporting evidence of other properties sold, otherwise your property is likely to get over-looked and/ or you’ll risk having the valuation lowered when surveyed even if you do manage to find a buyer.

De-clutter your property.  Make sure a buyer can visualize living at your property.  Check property magazines and imitate.

Get remedial decorating done.  If you can afford it, clean the carpets, re-touch paint where required and attend to obvious and potentially off-putting defects.

Make sure your property marketing is perfect.  If your property is being advertised on the web, then show it off as best you can.  Check the quality any potential agent’s property advertising.  If it’s not up to scratch, then don’t expect an abundance of viewing requests.  Remember first impressions really count when looking for a property on the web.

With the number of new sellers increasing by 21% year on year (according to Rightmove research), you have a lot of competition looking to claim a buyer.  Make sure your property stands out for the right reasons.

Fishneedwater offer a free RICS valuation carried out by a chartered surveyor and professional photography including cutting edge elevated photography as part of our online packages for sellers throughout Greater London.  You can save as much as £8,348 compared to a more traditional agent’s fee.