The Primelocation.com Prime Index recorded a slight dip of 0.7% in Prime property prices in January, as the country’s cold snap prolonged the seasonal lull in activity. Prime prices in London were down 1% in January, and other regional price shifts including -0.3% in the East of England and -1.5% in the South East.
However, demand is escalating, with Primelocation.com traffic up 25% in the first ten days of January compared to the same period last year and a high level of inquiries being received from City workers anticipating their bonus pay cheques.
Buyers from the UK and abroad who have their finances in place should consider buying now to take advantage of the more affordable prices before the competition picks up.
Andrew Smith, Head of Research at Primelocation.com, said: "Prime property prices have fallen slightly over recent months and the cold snap gripping the country has dampened activity, hindering or preventing many property viewings. However, all evidence shows that the demand is there and anyone able to buy now should consider doing so, before the market hots up.
"Conversely, potential vendors should consider beginning to market their Prime properties to take advantage of this rise in demand.
"We are expecting two waves of demand to boost prices through February and into the spring. Those who have instant access to equity are likely to start looking in earnest over the next couple of weeks in order to take advantage of the current lower prices, before those waiting for the confirmation and receipt of their bonuses add to the competition.
"Many bankers’ bonuses have been moderated and delayed this year, as firms reacted to the Pre Budget Report bonus tax. However, payouts remain vast and this group will form the second, greater surge in demand, which is expected to buoy prices and even push them up in key locations.
"Prestigious townhouses and investment properties in central London and large family properties outside of Zone 1 will be particularly affected, as will popular locations for family homes in the commuter belt. Hotspots for second homes in the country, such as Exmoor, the Peak District and the Lake District – locations currently inaccessible due to ice and snow – are also expected to see an activity boost.
"The anticipated General Election is unlikely to stall transactions in the prime market, as it should have little influence on buyers’ finances, and may even help to strengthen consumer optimism, which is gradually improving on the back of a stabilising economy. With other buyers also ready to make a move, the spring market should be a busy one."
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