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Choosing the Right Time When Buying and Selling Houses Consider the Borough in London

The property market remains as fickle as ever at this time of change and uncertainty.  We recently reported a drop in house prices that impacts on detached 4 bedroom and above and larger properties.  Meanwhile, some country and coastal areas remain unaffected with prices continuing to rise as demand outstrips supply for quality homes.  Choosing the right time when you have a house to sell is a difficult decision, so arm yourself with as much information as possible.  The latest statistics released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are for the year to June 2021 so don’t take into account the recent slump.  However, when these percentages are in millions of pounds it makes interesting reading.

These figures show that some London boroughs are showing average decreases to prices of as much as 13.2% when compared to the previous year.  If you have property or a house to sell in one of the affected boroughs, this is not good news.

This is the change that we forecast months ago as Londoners seek properties in other locations with more space inside and out.

Until the recent dip, house prices were growing at the quickest rate for more than seventeen years.  Country and coastal properties were showing the biggest rise as people moved out of cities and larger towns.  You will also see that some areas in the outskirts of London have seen significant rises.

Let’s take a look at the five boroughs showing the largest drop in property prices:

  • City of London
  • City of Westminster
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Southwark
  • Hackney

 

City of London  drop 13.2%

The hub of the financial district, the City of London has until recently historically attracted high property prices.  The slump is said to be driven by the changes in working practices.  Less time spent in the office and more time working from home means that financiers no longer feel the need to be close to their workplace.

City of Westminster drop 7.9%

Westminster has a large population of around 250,000 and is one of the most prestigious boroughs in London.  There is a range of properties that include the family homes in St John’s Wood and Maida Vale and the townhouses of Mayfair and Marylebone.  The City of Westminster is where Buckingham Palace and the government homes in Downing Street are located.  The borough has plenty of outside space with its four royal parks.

Kensington and Chelsea drop 4.8%

The smallest London borough and one of the most densely populated with wealthy homeowners vying for the convenience of the proximity to Knightsbridge and royal neighbours.

Because Kensington and Chelsea borough is where some of the most expensive London homes are, the 4.8% drop equates to prices that are lower by figures in the millions.  An example being that the 4.8% drop equates to £7M on one property sold recently.

Southwark drop 1.7%

Southwark is centrally located just south of the River Thames, making it a convenient location for London attractions and shopping areas.  Having several prestigious universities Southwark is also a location of student accommodation.  Possibly a reason for the drop is more university study going online and residents wanting to escape the central location.

Hackney drop 1.6%

Hackney is in North-East London whilst still being relatively central.  The borough has the benefit of its proximity giving easy access to the Essex coast and Hackney enjoys several green spaces.

London as a Whole

Despite the downward trends in some boroughs, across the whole of London it is still the most expensive place to buy property in the UK.  Annual growth overall is the lowest for the seventh consecutive month.

Bucking the downward trend in the rest of Kensington and Chelsea is Notting Hill.  Notting Hill sees prices continuing to rise.  Dubbed the ‘Instagramers Dream’ the much photographed area with colourful houses famed for Portabello Road and its famous street market on Friday and Saturday every week, the Notting Hill area has significantly boosted the price drop percentage for the rest of the borough. Without Notting Hill, it would look considerably worse.

So when you have a London house to sell when is the right time?  With Millions at stake in some instances, it is essential to keep in touch with local estate agents who know the market in the area well.  Don’t just take the word of one agent either, keep in touch with two or three.  If you are keen to move or sell a rental property let agents know that you are interested in cash house buyers who can move quickly.

Other Central London Boroughs

Then there are other centrally located boroughs with a different story to tell:

Prices continue to rise in some boroughs:

Greenwich prices continue to rise by 9.2%.

Wandsworth saw prices increase by 7.6%

Lambeth prices up by 5.7%

Hammersmith and Fulham increases of 5.1%

Tower Hamlets up by 4.2%

Less Central Boroughs

The biggest rises were out of central London with Harrow to the North West seeing rises of 16.7%, Bromley to the South East 14.4% and Enfield in North London 11.5%. These large increases show that it might be the right time if you have a house to sell in one of these boroughs.  However, the same advice applies as before, keep in touch with local estate agents who know the local market and know the situation for buying and selling houses.

There is further advice when buying and selling houses from our advice pages, see our buying and selling houses options. You should also check the government website for up to date legalities: https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home The Home Owners Alliance have plenty of advice for those buying and selling houses in London and elsewhere in the UK: https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-buying/how-to-buy-and-sell-at-the-same-time/

For general advice when you have a house to sell the American website https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/home-seller-mistakes-selling-house.asp may be helpful too, but remember not all of it is applicable to those buying and selling houses in England, Scotland and Wales.

Frequently, the advice is there is never a right time when you have a house to sell!  The decision of when to put a property on the market is particularly difficult in London.  The decision is one that only you and your family can make, but an informed decision regarding a house to sell is a more comfortable place than having no idea that prices are rising or falling or however the situation is within the borough.  After all, it’s not Monopoly money.