Director Andreas Bonney reports that a sudden mini surge in top end homes coming on to the market has led to surprising competition among buyers, who have been forced to offer deposits to ensure “lock-outs” to secure the property.
“I would say that, in the most sought after villages, it’s almost as busy here as at the peak. A client’s ideal home – a 1930s bungalow with great views and half acre garden – recently came up for sale in Lavenham, Suffolk, priced at £495,000. However, we found ourselves up against another cash buyer and had to put in a sealed bid, going through the Stamp Duty threshold to offer £520,000.
“We presented the offer as ‘ready to go’, with proof of funding, a survey already arranged and a solicitor already engaged, which helped us win the property. However, as the competing buyer had actually offered £5k more than us, I also had to suggest that the client put up a £10,000 non returnable deposit in order to secure a lock-out, demonstrating we would not pull out.”
West Wales Director Carol Peett, observed: “There has been a sudden increase in people viewing properties in Wales in the last fortnight. I recently had a client who made a full asking price offer on a property which was so popular the seller was able to demand exchange within a month. Contracts typically take three months to exchange but, if this client does not have all their paper work prepared within four weeks, the seller will accept another offer. This level of activity has not been seen since before the recession, and is only likely to increase in Wales now that Prince William and Kate Middleton have chosen to make it their home.”
Graham Roberts, Director, Kent, said: “Activity is buoyant in some niche areas of Kent and several top end properties are going through a process of sealed bids recently. There has also been high levels of competition in the rental market, with potential tenants also having to offer sealed bids in some cases. I recently had to advise a client to offer six months rent up front to secure a rental property – and even then, they had to produce the money very quickly.”
Diane Howie, Director, London, said: “Gazumping is alive and kicking in the capital. Prime London’s immunity to the price falls experienced elsewhere is largely due to overseas buyers and investors, keen to withdraw cash from their mother countries, channeling substantial amounts of money into the capital’s exclusive neighbourhoods. Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Nottinghill and Marylebone are particular hotspots. The London rental market is at its strongest for years, meaning that investors can expect a healthy return, not only on their original investment, but on the rental yield too.”
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