Market Comment – March 2017

GaryTraditionally, February although the shortest month in the year, over our last 27 years has proven to be an extremely busy month and February 2017 was not to disappoint.

I was very interested to read the government housing white paper which was published this month. The white paper recommends a number of measures to increase the supply of housing and refers to “slow building of new homes” with also “supporting developers to move more quickly” empowering local authority’s to force the pace of housing developments, under the threat of having planning permission removed if there is no evident progress on scheme. As I read through this, I couldn’t help think that Croydon Council has already implemented so much more of this paper and is ahead of the game in many respects and as Jad Adams chair of Nightwatch for the homeless commented “local authorities are not noted for their creativity, but the current administration in Croydon has been at the forefront of creative thinking in trying to expand its local house building programme and find new solutions. It would seem an opportune moment to thank all those in the last few months who have so kindly brought in sleeping bags, duvets and blankets for the 2017 Blanket Appeal, which have accordingly been delivered to Nightwatch and at this point on behalf of the directors and staff I would also like to thank Jad Adams, who for such a long time has tirelessly worked so hard for better conditions for the homeless in Croydon.

I was interested to read in the Guardian on the 9th February by Julia Kollewe, in that UK Rents are expected to rise faster than house prices over the next 5 years, this is based on a prediction by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors that rents will increase by just over 25% in the coming years, whilst sales prices are set to grow less than 20%. Far be it from me to controversially disagree with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, but looking in the areas in which we operate, i.e. all within the biggest borough of London, I think it’s unlikely that rents are to increase over 25% in under 5 years, however conversely I think prices might go up more than 20% in 5 years.

Also it was good to see two of Britain’s largest house builders produce great figures underpinning a solid market in the UK.

Turning to specifics and our figures in February, there is no doubt that our vendors who were new and competitively priced to the market had the edge on properties that had been on the market for 4 weeks plus, however prospective purchasers new registrations in all the areas we operate in were interestingly up by 4% compared to this time last year and new stock coming to the market coincidentally was up 4% in the same month in 2016. Sales agreed were up 3% and whilst I agree, this is not the heavy increases or great shakes of 2007, we are experiencing a solid and steady market. New prospective tenant enquiries were up 5% on the same month in 2016, although number of lets agreed remains exactly the same as in February 2016. So amongst a mist of report from the usual gloom mongers, to the new homes house builders figures and the consistent positivity which surrounds Croydon, February pretty much played out as I expected and predicted. There is no impending announcements or news that I think will adversely affect the market.

Whether residential sales, lettings or new homes, and for those who are thinking of moving in the sales or lettings market in March, I foresee a confident and steady month and I look forward to reporting back to you all at the end of march.