As such, there are currently very few transactions at the top end of the market.
There is also a distinct shortage of arable land, prices have now stabilised and indeed, seem to be on the rise again with figures of around £5000-£5500 per acre now being achieved, up from their low of £4500 per acre at the beginning of 2009.
Land is selling well to a variety of purchasers; traditional farmers, lifestyle buyers, international buyers and investors, all of whom see land as a wise investment for now and for future generations. Although yields are fairly low at around 2-3%, they are significantly better than the current bank saving rates and stock market returns.
In addition, agricultural land can be highly tax efficient with the ability to pass on the asset free from Inheritance Tax.
In Prime London there is a huge imbalance between supply and demand – buyers are returning to the market, but with little supply, many are chasing the same properties which is creating a sense of urgency.
That said, properties do have to be priced correctly to achieve a sale and there is room for negotiation. The Buying Solution said it recently negotiated 20% off the asking price of a property in Knightsbridge for a client. The offer was still appealing to the vendor because the team ensured the buyer was immediately able to proceed, and put forward a strong case on his behalf. The ability to act quickly with all finances and solicitor in place is imperative when trying to negotiate a good deal, and lessens the chance of being gazumped.
Meanwhile, the Home Counties market has been busy with Russian, Middle Eastern and British buyers – particularly those who want to move for schooling purposes. As with all regions, there is a distinct lack of supply – stock is down around 60% year on year, which means that good houses are attracting buyers and achieving their asking prices. The supply shortage is likely to continue into the summer months as vendors are still unlikely to sell unless forced to. Selling agents will need to demonstrate successful sales to kick-start the autumn market.
The tide has turned a little in the lettings market across London and Surrey. Properties are starting to move back across to the sales market, although there is still more supply than a year or so ago.
In turn, landlords are catching up with the market and bringing prices into line, so tenants should beware of making unfounded offers. It is still a good time to be a tenant, there are some great deals to be had, particularly with riverside apartments which are in good supply and therefore, offer value for money. There remains a lack of good quality family houses on the lettings market.
Philip Selway, Managing Partner, The Buying Solution said: "The shortage of supply means that buyers must be able to proceed quickly in order to secure the property they desire, therefore, presenting a strong case to the vendor has never been so important.
"The return to competitive bidding in some regions is creating something of a ‘false dawn’ – the recent house price increases have been fuelled by the lack of supply throughout the sales market.
"Vendors who don’t need to sell are not putting their properties on the market, so activity is likely to wane again in the summer months. As we head into the autumn more supply is needed to maintain the current momentum in the market. It has been suggested that banks will release a number of repossessions on to the market in the autumn, which could open up the market."
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