Thu 14 Sep 2023
More people are working from home and nowhere is this more apparent than in the boroughs where London’s creatives live and work, such as East Finchley. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Evening Standard that buyers looking to make the move should budget around £550,000 for a two-bedroom flat in East Finchley, rising to just over £1m for a three-bedroom terrace: ‘A lot of buyers are people who are disaffected by the prices and lack of choice in Muswell Hill or Highgate.’
Sellers must readjust their expectations as prices fall. Jeremy Leaf told Mail Online: ‘A growing expectation that inflation and interest rates are nearing their respective peaks, combined with continuing strong employment, are all helping to underpin activity. Affordability is still a concern, especially for those on tighter budgets, often buying smaller properties so the market remains price sensitive.’ He added in The Independent: 'Nevertheless, sellers recognising the importance of proceedable buyers and that the illusive golden offer may not be achievable, are taking advantage.’
House price growth dipped to 1.7 per cent tin the year to June, according to the ONS. Jeremy Leaf told This is Money: ‘The ONS figures are particularly interesting as unlike other housing market surveys, they include cash transactions. We have certainly found in our offices in recent times that it is the cash purchasers who continue to make best use of their bargaining power, often seeking smaller properties in more affordable locations to avoid recourse to mortgage finance. Although this is a little dated, it is clear that activity overall is holding up perhaps better than expected as buyers and sellers shrug off the mortgage mayhem of the last few months. With inflation thankfully stabilising at last, confidence will slowly improve, although the threat of interest rates staying high for longer due to sharp wage growth will restrain many.'
Asking prices slipped in August, according to the latest numbers from portal Rightmove but this hasn’t necessarily boosted sales. Jeremy Leaf told City AM: ‘Despite a larger-than-expected drop in aspirational asking prices as opposed to selling prices, in many cases this hasn’t generated an increase in sales agreed, which remain disappointingly low.'
Should you ever pay more than the asking price for a home? Jeremy Leaf told Ideal Home: ‘It might sound as if it’s going against the grain to pay above the asking price but an asking price is just that. It could be aspirational on the sellers’ part or set quite low to generate interest. Buyers shouldn’t be too fixated on it; your own research should tell you what an appropriate price is to pay, which is usually below the asking price but not always.'