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19th Jan 2012
With over 53 years’ experience of the local scene Ronald Preston, founder of leading local property group Preston Bennett, gives us an insight into the current state of the market and what he feels is likely to happen in the near future.
In spite of negative projections in the press over the last few months, the local market has not suffered to the same extent as various areas out of London. Indeed, The Times recently remarked that even out of London, prices have not substantially reduced.
As to the market in Stanmore, Edgware, Bushey and Hatch End, there is often competition to buy the most sought-after properties that are available. To some extent this is due to the lack of stock in the market as people are not moving because of the economic uncertainty.
Having said that, the market in sensibly-priced houses across the board has remained quite firm and at the lower level, prices have stabilised. Where vendors have taken our advice on valuation, in most cases we are achieving the asking price and where there is competition, above it.
Our monthly rate of residential sales has continued at around the same figure throughout the year, which is testimony to our spot-on valuations, keen database of potential buyers and our effective marketing programmes. As the local ‘agent of choice’ at the top end of the market, we have also had great success from the low-key marketing that we undertake for clients that prefer a more discreet approach.
Our new homes business is also extremely active, especially from ‘buy-to-let investors and downsizers who want to move sooner rather than later. Although mortgages are still difficult, funds are available for good purchasers and in this area we find many buyers who are able to provide more than the minimum requirement to obtain a mortgage.
Whilst we do not expect substantial increases in prices this year, we think that there will be some increase because of the shortage of stock, for both residential sales and new homes. In the latter case, developments remain delayed because of planning difficulties but as soon as they come to the market off-plan sales are being snapped up.
Although the market has been difficult we are still maintaining our leading market share. Our confidence for the future will soon crystallise with the substantial investment in a new corporate identity, new website, revamped offices and state-of-the- art computer system to even further strengthen our No.1 position.