Market Comment – May 2022

May was a mixed bag of results and I note that Robert Gardner, the chief economist at Nationwide, says house prices were 0.9% higher in May compared to April, which is a bigger rise than 0.4% recorded between April and March. This follows a ten consecutive monthly rise, with the average cost of a UK property now standing at £269,914.00.

I am very mindful that all of our clients, staff and myself included have been affected by inflation, with higher energy, fuel and food costs, which have risen fairly sharply in the last 6 months. However as you are aware, although interest rates have increased to 1%, this is extremely low and that is still an important factor to the housing market appetite still being strong.

I have read a number of articles by different pundits, warning of a housing slow down and whilst I think it is inevitable that house prices may not continue to increase at the same pace over recent years, from all our statistics there is no evidence of the appetite from prospective purchasers cooling off. I fully expect this to continue throughout the year. I think it is very hard for people to get a balanced view when you read different articles, for example, on Saturday the 21st May, a well known newspaper published “housing frenzy shows no signs of slowing”, yet two days later, another well known newspaper was questioning a property market crash.

So I am pleased to be able to report to you that in all the areas we operate in, from South East London to Surrey, the appetite is strong and solid. Turning to the lettings market, following a period of market rents not increasing, I am still waiting to finalise the figures but I note that rents have increased in the last 2 to 3 months and so has the demand. As you will all be aware, these two factors ordinarily go hand in hand. I look forward to reporting back to you a little more on this at the end of June, when I can report the first half year figures. But what I can tell you, is the lettings market has never been stronger and it was only a few years ago I was writing to you all, stating we had 4 tenants for every property that came to the market and that now has doubled to 8.

New Homes continues to be a constant and we finished selling the last few apartments in two developments in Purley. We are about to launch a site in Central Croydon, Crystal Palace and a further two in Purley. We have had increased enquiries to our Land and New Homes department and I welcome Joanna Nilsson, who has been with us for over 8 years, joining our land and new homes division. Joanna is a very experienced Estate Agent and is particularly versatile, dealing with 1 bedroom flats to the high end detached houses. We welcome her move to our land and new homes department and I urge anyone who has land, commercial premises, or any type of property with potential, to contact our head of Land and New Homes department, Patrick Donnelly, who himself has over 35 years agency experience in this borough on 020 8655 4780.

Lastly, I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy time off for the Queen’s jubilee and I look forward to reporting back to you later this month or in July.