Roly Matthews, Director at Hinchley Wood
Amidst the rolling news coverage telling us how bad things are, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s time to give up, sell up and spend the rest of your days roaming the land in an RV.
Now, as nice as that might sound to some of you, the reality is that the world is far from ending, properties are selling and people are still moving.
But just as the news agenda seems to tell us everything that’s bad, this isn’t just another estate agent trying to talk up the market up by saying everything’s good; on a national level people are undoubtedly feeling the squeeze, but in Elmbridge, the market is genuinely holding up well.
Of course, it’s important to acknowledge regional variation and appreciate that the South East of England – Surrey in particular – tends to always remain strong during economically challenging times.
Surrey’s proximity to London and the level of wealth that’s concentrated within our county means that we’re always sheltered to a degree. Sadly, this isn’t the case everywhere in the UK and I’m sure that there are many people – homeowners and estate agents – that are struggling right now.
However, when it comes to the Elmbridge property market, we’re seeing a fairly normal marketplace. If anything, the last two years, with rocketing property prices and high demand, have actually been abnormal. The market needed to lose a little of its heat, and this is exactly what’s happening.
Without trying to be too philosophical, nothing lasts forever. Turbulent periods come and they go. People are becoming more attuned to this point, too.
Conversations that my team and I have had with buyers and sellers have revealed that they understand how inflation and higher borrowing costs won’t last forever, but they’re resigned to the fact that it might be like this for a couple of years and they’re not prepared to wait.
Sitting tight and waiting for better conditions is akin to a lover of walking living in England but refusing to walk in the rain. If you’re that kind of person, then due to our inclement weather it’s likely that you’ll rarely get out walking.
It’s similar when it comes to the property market. There’s always going to be a Brexit, or a Covid or some other external variable that’s going to make you think twice about moving. Sometimes you just need to don your waterproof and get on with it. In the case of the property market, that means either borrowing more (if you can) or reducing your budget for your onward move.
Like for like
Against the backdrop of the news, you might be surprised to learn that the volume of sales across our offices is no different from this time last year. Requests for valuations, too, are at the same level as this time last year.
Yes, the time properties are taking to sell might be marginally longer, but nothing like you might expect upon reading the daily headlines.
What does matter in times like this is selecting the right estate agent. In a hot market, where prices are rising at the same rate as demand, some agents may occasionally get away with overshooting on price. But in times like this, an estate agent needs to fully understand buyer demand and get their pricing right.
It’s really not all doom and gloom right now, but to avoid going too far down a road with the wrong agent and costing yourself time, make sure you ask two questions before instructing them. Firstly, find out what they’ve sold over recent weeks. Secondly, get a sense of their marketing strategy. If they’ve sold very little or can’t defend their valuation under scrutiny, then it might be worth considering an alternative.
Thinking of moving? Looking for trustworthy advice from experienced, knowledgeable and local estate agents? Then contact your nearest Grosvenor office to speak with a member of our team or arrange a valuation.