Notice how the reports on the housing market seem to change from day to day at the moment? How do you sort fact from fiction? Well, maybe the more important question to ask when considering whether now is the time to buy, sell, rent or let property is “How do you separate emotion from fact?” Because the fact of the matter is that when it comes to the property market emotions can run very high for many people.
The questions I get asked the most often is “Is now the right time to sell/let/buy/rent?” People always want to know whether the market is busy, quiet or indifferent. But for me, the matter is highly individual and is difficult to sum up with national figures that may not relate to your local market or your situation.
Asking prices in Ealing have risen 1.2% since last month
When I’m asked my opinion on the state of the market I could tell you that asking prices in Ealing went up 1.2% when compared to last month, putting the average asking price of a property in the borough at £577,674. Annually, Rightmove reports that Ealing’s prices have gone up by 12.5%. However, it is important to remember that these are asking prices and not sold prices.
Beware property statistics that may be out of date
What makes it frustrating for many people is that sold prices actually achieved are not made publicly available by the Land Registry until three months after the sale, by which time the figures are obsolete, particularly in a market like we are experiencing now that changes day to day. The latest figures we have from Land Registry are from June 2014 and show that Ealing has been continuing to experience strong upward pressure in prices.
House prices in W5 reach an all-time high
The Land Registry figures indicate that the W5 area has reached a new all-time high surpassing £600,000 for the first time in the second quarter of this year. That puts W5 at a 6.1% increase when compared to the same period last year.
W13 house prices break records
Meanwhile in W13 prices according to the Land Registry in June were also breaking records with an average sale price of £575,849, amounting to an increase of 17.2%.
The Land Registry figures show that flats have had the highest number of transactions in Ealing. They have seen double digit rises in price compared with the first three months of the year although in W5 flat prices have fallen compared with the same period in 2013.
The average home in Acton worth over half a million pounds
The average home in Acton still costs over half a million pounds according to the latest official figures.
While the Land Registry showed that during the second quarter of 2014 residential property sales in the W3 post code area showed a marginal fall when compared to the last three months, with an average price of £502,638 but the figures also show a 10.5% rise when compared to last year.
What’s happening on the ground right now
Given all of that, we are seeing a cooling of activity from buyers. Mostly because people are so unsure of the market.
So when I’m asked what the market is doing I always ask for their opinion first. Although the responses vary, the sentiment is always the same – hope and confusion
It goes without saying that most buyers want to be ahead of the curve - buying property before prices rise. This can be difficult as it takes nerve of steel to predict the exact right moment when so many factors are involved. I am sure it is safe to say that if we knew everything we knew today, we would have behaved differently in the past and I am sure this statement is no different when trying to buy, whether as a home-owner or as a landlord.
That is why it is my opinion a longer term view must be taken.
Here are 4 basic questions that I recommend you ask yourself when considering if the time is right for you to buy:
1. Do you think prices will rise in the next 3 years, stay the same or fall?
Most people I talk to in Ealing, Acton and West London say they believe prices will increase.
2. Do you believe the changes being made to the local area will improve, make no difference or hinder the saleability of property in the area?
Most people believe the plans for infrastructure in Ealing and West London, such as Crossrail will have a positive effect on the area.
3. Do you believe home ownership will be more desirable, the same or less desirable in the future?
With a growing population and not enough homes being built, it is well-known that demand far outstrips supply for housing and Ealing remains a hugely popular family destination with areas like Acton seeing increasing interest as it becomes an overflow area for Chiswick, Shepherd’s Bush and Ealing – meaning that those who buy in W3 will get more for their money.
4. Do you believe the economy is growing, stagnant or receding?
Indications point towards growth and as a result consumer confidence will or has improved. As people feel safer in their employment they are willing to take bigger risks which often means people move up the property ladder or look to invest their capital.
The point I make is that home ownership is a long term investment and that long term views should be considered. Although the immediate feelings of buyers and the individual demands of very specific micro-markets should also be considered - the facts point towards overall positive predictions.
Having said that, it is not our prediction that prices or investment purchase are going to provide guaranteed increases, but the evidence supports a better outcome than the negative.
It will be interesting to read this September 2014 West London Market Report three years from now and see whether my predictions were correct or not and how many people were able to benefit from my advice to make the move now.
Want more advice tailored to your specific situation and your local neighbourhood in West London? Call us on 020 8799 3371 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d be happy to provide you with a free, no obligation, up-to-date valuation of your home. It’s no fuss, it’s free and it will only take 20 minutes.