Some buying agents have batted away the many signs of an improving housing market but one says the Boris Bounce is likely to create a huge boost for prime London.
Fraser Slater, chief executive of buying agency Ludgrove, says: “With a vastly improved political backdrop, the threat of a hard-left government removed and Britain’s transition out of the EU settled, we expect 2020 will be the year the prime London property finally regains its mojo.
“Strong pent-up demand, limited stock availability and the backdrop of a record five year-long property bear market is likely to provide upward momentum and we forecast prime London prices and volumes to grow around 10 per cent and 20 per cent respectively in 2020.”
He says there are nine key factors behind the predicted boom.
1: adjusting for inflation, prime central London prices have fallen -28% from 2014 to 2019. Historically very similar real-terms declines were recorded at the point of previous troughs in the market in 1992 and 2008, says the agency;
2: the 2014-2019 Prime London property recession at five years in duration has been the longest in 30 years, making a bounce well overdue;
3: relative to the mainstream London property market, prime London prices are near a 10-year low, making ‘trading up’ more affordable;
4: there are “extreme levels” of pent-up demand and a limited availability of stock;
5: rental values are rising as supply diminishes in response to government tax changes – a trend Ludgrove expects rents to harden further in 2020 as the full impact of mortgage interest tax relief changes take effect from April;
6: future housing supply in London’s central Zone 1 is set to decline significantly on the basis of recent ‘construction starts’ data;
7: Sterling still trades near a 40-year low against the Dollar making UK properties appear cheap;
8: finance is cheap with mortgage costs having fallen 39 per cent since the peak of the market in 2014; and
9: there remains a possibility of a stamp duty cut in the upcoming March Budget.
“The last five years has seen an almost perfect storm of negative news flow affecting prime London property, and we are now confident a sunnier climate is on its way” insists Slater.
“Having studied past bear markets as a former fund manager, market bottoms are characterised by extreme negative sentiment, despondency and despair with the recovery in price typically being a function of an amelioration of negative news flow and fundamentals … And it is in this context we are confident we will look back on the dark days of 2014-2019 as a time when a bull market was ‘born in pessimism’.”