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Market Update | How is the property market really?

Some of my best school chums know to avoid the question ‘how’s the market’ as I get asked so often at bus stops around the streets of Kensington and Chelsea…they ask it even more of course because of this! My answer to them is often wildly creative just to vary my general response to this query which has been rather monotonous in the last 7 years on a genuine level. Flat, plateau and comme ci comme ça have basically made up the summary of the opening sentence. We had a well-documented boom here in 2014 and since then, it’s just been a bit doldrumatic (yes, that’s one of my ‘wildly creative’ words).

 

Well, it turns out, I’ve been dramatically lying for the last 5 years on the whole. Not intentionally, but it does seem, according to the statisticians at Lonres.com, my pants have been on fire (not in a good way) since 2016. I asked the tremendous team at Lonres to provide me with a 10-year review of both sales prices and sales volumes in Kensington and Chelsea during the last 10 years last week, and the results have been very sobering in the main but also reveal more than a glimmer of hope for the not too distant future for the prime London property market.

On average, the report states that prices are up by 23% in K&C in the last 10 years but over the last 5 years, prices are down across the borough: Earls Court down 15%, South Ken 22%, Chelsea 8%. Even more staggeringly, sales transactions (not including last year, which had an uplift due to the June stamp duty holiday) are down 50% at least. In Earls Court, 222 flats sold in 2011 vs only 102 in 2020; In South Ken (SW7) 324 vs 157; In Chelsea (SW3) 337 vs 133.

These are all slap in the face, wake up call stats for vendors, including me, who have all been thinking prices have been holding their own in the last 5 years. Why has this happened? Well, for a long time, I kept telling people Brexit wouldn’t have a massive impact, as there would still be a massive demand for property in London’s Royal Borough…but it seems I was wrong.

I think the other reason for the fall, which no one ever seems to talk about, is the fact that rents have remained the same for the last 20 years. Whilst capital values in that time have gone up incredibly: in SW10 flat prices are up 43% in only 10 years, rental prices have truly (I’m not lying this time!) stayed the same. This then makes tenants more reluctant to take the plunge and get on the ladder as their rent is so comparatively cheap. This of course, along with high taxation, has also meant the attractiveness of buying rental investments has diluted and we have all but lost a fundamental 50% of buyers from our registration roster.

But don’t get too depressed gang! In the last year, prices are only down 1% in Earls Court, they’re up 4% in SW7 and up 12% in SW10. This tells me that we are now at the bottom of the curve: the great rise and fall of the ever ebbing and flowing property market graph, has reached the sand of the sea floor. The other question I’m always asked, is ‘when is the best time to buy?’ Well, at the bottom of the market of course…but when is that? Until now, that question has always been within the crystal ball…However, thanks to our friends at Lonres.com it does seem, NOW is the time to buy….Will you?

Contact our wonderful sales manager Toby C and our caring and courteous sales negotiators Luc and Elodie to help you find the right property.

I’m never too busy to take your call too.

Toby Brown

P.S. Do email me if you would like a full copy of all the stats and facts for the last 10 years in K&C on toby.brown@tlclondon.com.