Political uncertainty never helps property markets, and it is with a sense of some relief that we entered 2020. The General Election and its clear mandate, as well as greater clarity on Brexit, have paved the way for the release of some of the pent-up demand that has built in recent years. The extent to which this translates into transactions will depend on the size of the pricing expectation gap between buyers and sellers.
The broad trend we are witnessing is a willingness by both buyers and sellers to proceed with their plans, and to put their best foot forward.
Evidence of this is seen in a number of ways.
For example, the number of new prospective buyers registering with Knight Frank in London rose to its highest weekly total in more than 15 years in the second week of January as buyers looked to capitalise on this new degree of certainty. The figure was 92% higher than the equivalent week last year, and 95% up on 2018.
Outside of London and across our nationwide network of offices, Knight Frank conducted more property viewings in the first two weeks of January than in the equivalent period over the past two decades. The figure was in fact 14% higher than in the same period in 2019.
Simultaneously, a healthy number of exchanges are happening, many by sellers who agreed their sales in the latter part of 2019 and who have now committed to completing their transaction.
We believe the outlook for the coming months is positive.
The quality of the offering for sale will remain important, as will be marketing at the correct price.
Further, buyers continue to be fundamentally aided by interest rates remaining at historically low levels, and competitive mortgage rates bring widely available. With such promising numbers emerging from the woodwork, it seems a good time for sellers to take advantage of the upturn in activity in the market.
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