Supply key factor for 2010 London property prices

Now, only 12-months after the market was widely held to have reached rock bottom, it has recovered somewhere in the region of 15-20%, on average, and with the spring stock cupboard looking increasingly bare, this is a trend which could increase with alarming speed.

Since the beginning of 2009 selling agents have been reporting a significant increase in viewing levels.

Only a few months ago, sellers were ignoring this change in the market, creating a large gap between buyers’ and vendors’ expectations on price as a result.

This is now changing, however, as a growing sense of realism dawns over the market with those sellers that need to sell beginning to quote sensible asking prices at long last, provided that they are being advised properly. Sales volumes are, therefore, now on the increase, with needs-driven buyers once again entering the market, albeit with vastly altered expectations.

Investor and saver disillusionment with banks, bonds and equities is also helping the residential market. Despite the price falls, bricks and mortar is seen by many cash and equity-rich buyers as being a safe and tangible asset to hold, especially if buying for the long term.

Competition is once more commonplace for those properties that are realistically priced and those that have been languishing in the market for the past six to 12 months are now selling. These are setting new benchmarks so it is marginally easier to analyse values in the current climate. Crucially in this instance, the very few properties that qualify as "best in class" in prime central London, are once again outperforming the market and, as ever, are in short supply.

In volatile times, they continue to hold their value almost regardless of wider conditions, and Prime Purchase said it saw no reason why this should change in the future as London continued to attract significant interest, and investment, from around the world.

Undersupply is the overwhelming problem with the prime London markets as discretionary sellers are notably absent, being more likely to rent their properties out or spend money on updating them. Given current conditions, and what it saw ahead, Prime Purchase said it predicted that supply would be limited throughout the rest of 2010.

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