The chief executive of Winkworth says the upcoming Brexit is creating uncertainty and causing buyers and investors to delay purchasing plans.
Dominic Agace, writing in Winkworth’s first quarterly central London market bulletin, says: “Brexit looms ever closer which appears to have knocked the usual peaks and troughs of the market.”
He continues: “[It] is causing would-be buyers, and particularly investors, to put a hold on their plans to purchase.”
The capital has been at the forefront of the market slowdown in recent years, and Winkworth’s figures for central London confirm the trend.
Although the number of transactions in the first quarter of this year is 12.5 per cent up on the same period of 2017, this remains a full 22 per cent below the 2014 peak.
The average price per square foot in London increase 0.1 per cent in the last quarter compared to the same period of 2017 but this remains 14.5 per cent down on that 2014 peak.
The asking price achieved in the first quarter of this year was 92.6 per cent – although edging upwards this, too, is some five per cent below the 2014 level.
Winkworth’s viewings in the first quarter of 2018 averaged 25 per sale but, again, it’s 31 per cent down on 2014.
Agace says the majority of transactions now are coming from owner-occupiers and particularly first time buyers (purchasing at below £1m) and growing families (in the £3m to £5m bracket).
“While the market has taken a more subdued tone, we don’t expect there to be any real movement over the next quarter of even over the next year in terms of property prices, which have remained static for the last 12 months” explains Agace.
“Sentiment remains cautious and many buyers and sellers want to see the full effects of Brexit” he suggests.