February 5, 2016
Property gossip August 2016

The 29th February only occurs every four years – which is about as frequently as many people used to move house during the heady days of property speculation that sparked the boom market.

Nowadays most buyers and sellers are more level-headed and don’t leap from place to place quite so often. They tend to move for “real” reasons such as a change of job, children on the way, downsizing, debt, divorce etc. These “real” sellers tend also to quote realistic asking prices, as their main objective is to move, rather than simply to sit on the market hoping that someone will buy their property at that flatteringly inflated figure an over-optimistic agent suggested they should quote in order to get the business! Yes, even in this market an unrealistic asking price can cause a property to “hang around” for longer than the seller can afford to wait.

With continuing low interest rates, and spring in the air (by the way what happened to winter, I saw daffodils in a flower bed along Kirkdale Rd last week, in January!!), more sellers might be considering a move early this year. The spring market is usually the busiest season of the calendar year, although it is fair to say current property stock remains low. That said, there will always be those who need to move and we are only a few weeks into the new year so the coming months will be a good indicator on what 2016 has in store for us. If you are thinking about selling your home this year, why not ask for an up to date market and property appraisal from a local estate agent.

If you’d like to discuss your options, please feel free to give us a call on 020 8558 1147 for an initial and confidential chat. We won’t push you, but at some stage we may just help you with making your next leap!

Getting back to interest rates, we are often asked “when will interest rates rise?” Last week we attended a conference held by The Guild of Professional Estate Agents and one of the speakers was a chap from a well-known high street bank. During his talk he spoke about a survey which took place at the tail end of 2015, in which a number of economists were asked “How much will monetary policy change by the end of 2016?” The results were not unexpected with the majority, 72%, suggesting a marginal tightening with rates sitting somewhere between 0.5% and 1%. 22% felt the base rate would remain unchanged at 0.5%. The speaker then produced a slide titled “Probability distribution for Bank Rate after MPC’s final meeting of the year (15th Dec 2016)” which was another set of statistics, one that was put together later than the survey mentioned above – This set of figures looked significantly different. Rates remaining at 0.5% came out at 70% and a rate rise sat at just 6%. Interestingly a “rate cut” came out at 22%, so it just goes to show how quickly things can change. Oil prices, China and the current EU “in/out” debate are all hot topics at the moment and ones which will no doubt play their part when the MPC meet each month to set the interest rate. Who truly knows when rates will move again? We certainly couldn’t say, and we wouldn’t suggest anybody relies on any of the stats mentioned above; it’s more over an example of how difficult a rate change is to predict. I mean who would have thought back in 2009, when the base rate dropped to its current level of 0.5% it would have remained unchanged for 7 years (and counting)?