Are London’s price rises slowing down?

London’s property market continues to be robust for buyers and sellers alike, however two factors have seen favour sway from sellers to buyers in recent months.

The traditional summer lull when many potential buyers are holidaymaking rather than making offers, plus the recent tightening of mortgage lending rules following the government’s Mortgage Market Review, have helped pushed down prices in London by 5.3% during August according to Rightmove.

“After a period of dramatic property price increase over the last eight months, including prices climbing my by as much as 20% earlier in the year in Battersea, the summer has brought a much calmer buying climate,” says Tim Hays, sales manager of the Battersea office at London Estate Agents James Pendleton.

“Back in early summer property was coming to the market and being sold within a week, often via a sealed bid auction with multiple buyers bidding against each other.

“The pace has now slowed as values have reached an all-time high and buyers are being more cautious with the offers they make.”

It is most definitely still a good time to sell; despite house prices falling for three months in a row on average, London’s homes are still worth 10.3% more than they were a year ago .In some parts of the capital this figure is even higher – for example in Wandsworth prices have increased by 12%.

London has therefore rapidly become a buyer’s market as the last weeks of the summer have approached, something that happens to a greater or lesser degree every year but has been amplified this year by such an active property market earlier in the year as vendor expectations have been raised.

“It’s not all bad news for vendors,” says Tim. “If you are thinking about putting your home on the market, offer it at a realistic level and you’ll still sell at a very good price. South West London is a very strong investment area and one of the most popular places to live in the Capital.”

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Three trends for this year’s autumn property market

buy and sellThe London property market experiences several high points each year driven by different seasonal trends.

For example, the market heats up during the run up to Christmas as people try to complete before the market closes down for the festivities. Then, during the first week of January a surge in the number of buyers pushes up demand and therefore prices.

During July and August, when most families go on holiday, activity increases once as owners try to sell before they go on holiday and again in September as buyers come back from their trips away ready to move home.

Rising demand during the autumn peak period pushes up prices. For example the team at Wandsworth Estate agents James Pendleton last year observed that prices began creeping up in October and November before peaking at a monthly average increase of 2.1% in December – before simmering down to a relatively tame increase of 1% in January.

In London properties sell 5% faster in October than in September so the later in Autumn a property goes on the market, the quicker the sale is likely to be. Properties sell even more quickly after the New Year –homes sold 40% faster during the first three months of the year in London compared to the three months before.

To find out about the current market conditions or if you have a question about buying selling or renting property speak to the team at London estate agents James Pendleton.

Wandsworth area property guide

Wandsworth Town has transformed into a fashionable place to live as high prices in other areas of the borough, coupled with a billion pound investment scheme, make it one of London’s new hotspots.

Home buyers and in particular dual-income 30-somethings with and without children love the area’s diverse range of properties including cute period cottages, large early Victorian villas, mid-range period semis as well as modern riverside apartments.

“Wandsworth town centre is relatively small and consequently a few ‘villages’ within it have become the most popular places to live,” says David Barker, Wandsworth Town & Tonsleys office manager at local estate agent James Pendleton.

These include the Tonsleys, a grid of streets, many with Tonsley in their titles and containing some 600 Victorian and mostly terraced houses. Demand for these houses has pushed up the average for the area to just over £1m although some of the larger high spec properties have been on the market for up to and over £1.2 million. To give a measure of their popularity, ten years ago these wisteria covered properties were selling for approximately £400,000. This area, which is bordered on two sides by the A3 and by the A214 and A217 on the other two, is also famous for fashionable gastro pubs and cafes.

Another area that has witnessed feverish development and house prices rises recently is Spencer Park to the South West. Locals like to call it ‘millionaire’s row’ and its large mansions, one of which is home to chef Gordon Ramsay, command prices of several million pounds.

Some of Wandsworth’s most sought after addresses are those on the ‘toast rack’ roads on the edge of Wandsworth Common, so named as they are arranged in a way that resembles a stretched Dualit. Prices for detached and semi-detached houses there have been approaching (and in one case achieving) £4 million-good news for one of its famous residents, Location, Location, Location presenter Phil Spencer.

The town’s centre is tipped for great things at the moment, helped by the imminent redevelopment of the famous Ram Brewery site, formerly where Young’s beer was brewed and part of a £1 billion makeover for the town’s central streets. Nearby, more new-build developments are popping up. Stroll along the area’s former industrial wharf river frontage and you’ll see a waterfront shimmering on both sides of Wandsworth Bridge with an array of upmarket glass-and-steel apartment developments.

London estate agency makes an unusual promise

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There are nearly 5,000 estate agents in London and it can be tricky to choose between them. Using a marketing campaign backed up by company-wide action, one agent in South West London is making a determined promise to truly ‘go that little bit further’ for their clients.

James Pendleton, one of London’s fastest-growing estate agents with nine branches in the Capital, has launched an unusual advertising campaign to highlight its commitment to customer service for those selling their homes.

The campaign launched in March and includes a recent light-hearted Easter banner. It focuses in a light hearted way on how the South West London estate agents is well known in the Capital for ‘going that little bit further’ and plays on how this frees up time for sellers to focus on other parts of their lives. Posters featuring the new campaign can be seen at sites in Fulham, Balham, Wandsworth and Battersea and have been created following research by the James Pendleton into what its customers really want from an estate agent.

“We found that people selling their homes are more interested in the standard of service offered by their estate agent than any other factors” says Managing Director Lucy Pendleton.

The new adverts reflect the company’s internal culture of going that little bit further to ensure excellent service; helping people move into their new home when a removals company let them down; spending several hours late on a Saturday dismantling furniture in a soon-to-be sold property and helping a vendor who had locked themselves out of their home on a Sunday.

“Ever since the business began we’ve put extraordinary customer service at the heart of it and we wanted our next advertising campaign to reflect this while at the same time retaining our signature tongue-in-cheek tone,” says Lucy.

 

The six qualities of a good lettings agent

Late Spring and early Summer are the two key periods in London’s lettings market because it is during these balmier months that many more tenants decide to move home and the number of homes available to rent increases.
But if you are a landlord, how do you know which estate agent to use as the crescendo of market activity looms? Here are the six qualities that will help you spot the ideal lettings agent within London’s crowded rental market.
1. Marketing: Do they have both local knowledge but also a large enough branch network to market your property through effectively?  Do they have strong online presence and a strong, branded website (it’s not all about the portals-ask the agent how many visits their site receives).  Picture quality is also vital to ‘stand out from the crowd’.

2. Customer service: Every time your letting agent shows someone around your property they should offer prompt and insightful feedback about the viewing.

3. Paperwork: A good agency is there to consistently ensure that you as a landlord fulfil all of your legal requirements, such as EPCs, Gas Safety Certificates and deposit protection.

4. Contracts: A legally watertight tenancy agreement is vital and a good letting agent will work with a landlord to tailor it to the property and tenants. Bad ones simply print off ‘standard contracts’ and don’t bother to chase up tenant references properly or in time.

5. Diligence: Pick an agent who ‘goes that little bit further’. For example, good lettings agents should be able to help landlords plan their tax and know the different ins and outs of tax rules. Does the agent have a dedicated ‘Move in’ team?  Is your agent thinking about every step of the process from offer acceptance to actual move-in?  The latter is a vital area often overlooked by agents and failing in this area could result in the let falling through.

6. Value for money: Does your lettings agent offer a ‘full service’ for their fee? It should include making arrangements for the property’s Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Safety Certificate as well as the placing of the tenant’s deposit within a government-approved scheme.
“Letting a property through an agent is understandably a popular choice with landlords given the number of boxes that need ticking before a property can be let,” says Tanya Yates, Associate Director at South London lettings agent James Pendleton.

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James Pendleton Lettings Associate Director Tanya Yates

“We believe clarity is one of the most important qualities to look for in a lettings agency and above all, as a trusted point of contact, an agency should always treat its clients with respect and honesty.”

Property market: London gets back to the future

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The number of homes being sold in London each month exceeded 10,000 between January and March this year- the first time such figures have been recorded since the financial crisis took hold in November 2007.

These figures signal a return to form within London’s property market and an extraordinary start to 2014 during which house prices rose by up to 2.1% each month and 10.9% year on year. Homes within some London boroughs are rising in value even more dramatically; in Wandsworth they have jumped on average by 17.6% annually while in Lambeth the figure is 16.4%.

Reasons for these rises are clear to see. Following nearly six years of slower property market growth in the UK created by economic uncertainty and restricted mortgage availability buyers are finally returning to the market. However the number of properties available has not increased at the same rate, meaning buyers are flooding back only to find a limited to number of homes for sale – a situation that’s particularly acute in London.

This imbalance between demand and supply is leading to intense competition between buyers for the most desirable homes and, consequently, higher and higher offers.

With the market more active than it has been for years, the more innovative Estate agents are expanding to meet demand; for example, South West London agent James Pendleton has expanded its service to Brixton, Streatham, Tooting and Earlsfield this spring. The company, which is known for its emphasis on customer service, has launched an exciting new ad campaign which focuses on making the property search hassle free for the client. There has, many argue, never been a better time to sell.

“The extraordinary performance of the Capital’s property market is feeding through to all its boroughs but in particular into the new homes market; for example, 20 out of 33 London boroughs experienced an increase in new homes building recently,” says Ewen Bunting, Sales Director at James Pendleton.  Ewen can be contacted at the estate agents’ Clapham South and Balham office – 020 8673 7777.

Home makeover trends for 2014

As we endure this winter’s extreme weather let’s not forget that spring will soon be upon us and with it will come a deluge of a different kind; an army of homeowners getting ready to redecorate their properties.

If you’re one of them and have plans for your home then here are some 2014 interior design trends to provide some inspiration:

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True blue
So which paint, wallpaper or colour theme to choose for your home? 2014 is shaping up to be the year when blue and purple dominate. For example Pantone, the worldwide authority on colour, has named Dazzling Blue, Violet Tulip and Radiant Orchid as its top three colours of the year, while all the main paint manufacturers including Dulux, Crown and the popular Farrow and Ball also predict blue will be 2014’s colour of choice.

Bright future
On the other hand, after six years of financial insecurity the world of decoration continues to return to themes that embrace the feel good factor and this includes the use of cheerful hues which, after many years of white-paint minimalism, looks like a bright idea. Say hello again to lemon yellow, lime green and cerise.

The luxury look
Another trend that reflects a need to put the years of austerity behind us is the ‘luxury look’. This interiors fashion includes a liberal use of prints on wallpaper and furnishings as well as the return of the patterned carpet, ornate wood panelling and even a 1980s staple, the built-in wardrobe.

Outside is in
The ongoing concern with environment issues is making gardens that are more inside than outside fashionable and this means, in a very un-green way, even fake foliage. But in the world of living ‘outside in’ the trend is for small trees, box hedges and other larger plants to be placed around the home to give it a ‘greener’ look.

To speak to experienced property experts about plans for your home contact London Estate Agents James Pendleton.

Will the national property market finally turn the corner this year?

There are many regions of the UK where house prices are still below their pre-2007 levels but many experts believe 2014 is shaping up to be the year when the pain of the financial crisis finally ends.

The UK economy is growing at its fastest rate for over seven years, government figures revealed recently, and business leaders speak of a tangible ‘upsurge’ in activity. Also, the International Monetary Fund has predicted economic growth of 2.4% for the UK this year, up from 1.9% in 2013.

Such optimism and increased activity is beginning to feed through to the property market. New homes construction is now at its highest level since 2007, according to The National House Building Council (NHB) which says 133,670 were built in 2013, an increase of 28% on the year before.

Is the UK property market growth finally catching up with London?

Could the UK property market finally catch up with London?

“We believe 2014 is set to be another year when the number of homes built increases and that the recovery in this sector is taking place across the UK rather than only in London,” says Sam Wylie, New Homes Director at South West London Estate Agents James Pendleton. “This echoes the positive growth we’ve seen in the capital over the past three years.”

This confidence about the future, increased by the government’s Help to Buy scheme, is also feeding through to the bedrock of the property market, first time buyers. Recent research by the Post Office revealed that 36% of young adults are expecting to get on the property ladder this year and that more of them are not prepared to make compromises when buying. This includes buying in less desirable areas, for example.

“I can see 2014 being one of the most significant years in recent history for the property market as it finally turns the corner,” says Sam Wylie.

The Negotiator Awards 2013: A triumph for acclaimed London Estate Agency

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James Pendleton’s Gold Award for Property Manager of the Year

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James Pendleton’s Gold Award for Innovator of the Year

The Negotiator Awards represent an important benchmark of quality for the UK’s estate agents, letting agents and auction houses.  Judged by a panel of property experts of diverse backgrounds the awards cover 23 categories and, once won, are an industry recognised mark of quality.

2013’s winners were announced on Tuesday at a glittering ceremony in the Grand Ballroom of the London Hilton Hotel.  Representatives from companies large and small across the country gathered for an informative conference followed by a glamorous evening of food, drinks, comedy from the excellent Hugh Dennis and Bond themed entertainment.   The event was organised with aplomb by the Negotiator Magazine and sponsored by Zoopla Property Group.

London Estate Agents James Pendleton were thrilled to receive five awards at the prestigious event. “We entered five categories and are absolutely over the moon to have won five times – our team will be delighted to be able to share that success with our clients throughout 2014” said Senior Associate Director Deborah Bunting, who was present at the ceremony.  The estate agents in South West London walked away with five accolades:

  • Innovator of the Year – Gold
  • Property Manager of the Year – Gold
  • Medium Estate Agency of the Year – Silver
  • Marketing Team of the Year – Silver
  • Employer of the Year – Bronze

The full list of Bronze, Silver and Gold award winners can be found here and will soon be recognised in Property Drum and The Negotiator magazines as well as in national property press.   To find out more about James Pendleton or if you’re looking for properties for sale or properties to rent in South West London contact the team here.

James Pendleton welcomes a new Angel!

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South West London property experts James Pendleton have expanded their popular Angel department with the addition of a new team member.  With nine Estate Agents’ offices in South West London the company is well established throughout the area and is nationally recognised for service innovations.

One such advance introduced over the past few years is the Angel department.  Run by experienced property expert Zara Salih the department was introduced with the aim of extending the service offered during a sale or rental to cover the period from move-in onwards.

By speaking to a James Pendleton Angel a new homeowner or tenant can find solutions to the variety of questions and issues arising during what can be a chaotic time.  On move in day a representative from the department will provide a welcome pack and introduction to the property and local area. There is also an opportunity to leave keys with the secure Angel key holding service, a free concierge style initiative which allows residents to organise access to their property remotely as well as arranging contractor visits through the department’s recommended list of contacts.  This service is extended to buyers for the entire duration of the property ownership.

Joining the Angel team this autumn is experienced property administrator and local resident Sarah Vorley.  Sarah has already made a fantastic impression with local residents and company representatives alike and has proved to be the perfect new addition to a department known for outstanding customer service.

To find out more about the Angel department contact 020 7501 1045.