Well the dust has settled and the General Election seems a distant memory, we can get back to a more normal property market, or that is what the London based ‘Fleet Street’ journalists would lead you to believe. You see I have been talking to many fellow property professionals in East Dulwich (solicitors, conveyancers, and one the best source the chap who puts all the estate agent and letting boards up in East Dulwich), and all of them said they saw little change in the property market in April , compared to any other month on the lead up to the Election itself.
I am now of the opinion that maybe in the upmarket areas of Mayfair and Chelsea, the market went into spasm with the prospect of a Labour/SNP pact with their Mansion Tax for properties over £2,000,000, but in East Dulwich, there has only been one property sold above £2,000,000 mark in the last 7 years.
In a nutshell, the General Election in East Dulwich didn’t really have any impact on people’s confidence to buy property. As I write this article, of 319 properties that have come on to the market in SE22 since the 2nd of April, 114 of them have a buyer and are sold subject to contract, that’s just over one in three (35.74% to be precise).
I think that things are starting to change in the way people buy and sell property. Back in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, the norm was to buy a terraced house as soon as you left home and do it up. Meanwhile, property prices had gone up, so you traded up to a 2 bed apartment, then a 2 bed semi and repeated the process, until you found yourself in a large 4 / 5 bed house with a large mortgage.
You could say that people’s attitude towards home-ownership itself has changed over the last ten years. The pressure to buy when young has gone as renting, not buying, is considered the norm for 20 something’s. This isn’t just an East Dulwich thing, but, a national thing, as I have noticed that people buy property by trading up (or down) because they need to, not because ‘it’s what people do’. This does means there are a lot less properties on the market compared to the last decade.
A by-product of less people moving is less people selling their property. My research shows there are a lot fewer properties each month selling in East Dulwich compared to the last decade. For example, in February 2015 (using the latest Land Registry Data), only 25 properties were sold in East Dulwich. Compare this to February 2002 when 52 properties sold and the same month and in 2004 59 properties. I repeated the exercise on different sets of years, (comparing the same month to allow for seasonal variations) and the results were identical if not greater. So what does this all mean? Demand for East Dulwich property isn’t flying away, and with fewer properties for sale an upward pressure on house prices is likely. How that pans out for the rest of 2015 remains to be seen but current growth remains subdued with Zoopla reporting only 2.09% house price growth in SE22 over the past 12 months. The press like to talk about the growth in asking prices but what matters at the end of the day is what a property actually sells for. Feel free to give me a call if you want to speak about property matters in SE22.