The N21 property market in 2014
Map drawn by Rachel Oxley
"Crazy", "Baffling", "Unprecedented" , three words used by local estate agents to describe the residential property market in N21 at the beginning of 2014.
These days it's very easy to keep up to date with what's happening in the local property market. The major property portals such as Right Move and Zoopla, track house sales based on Land Registry figures and can dice and slice the stats in multiple ways. You can see exactly what has sold, where and when, from the comfort of your own home. You even have the interior pictures so that you can have a good nose around, to see what you would get for your money as a buyer and how much you might expect to get for your home if you are a seller.
According to Right Move, there were 309 properties sold in N21 over the last year, which is around 15% higher than in 2012. If you would like to have a catch up with recent property sales in the N21 postcode, click on this link to Right Move here. Using Zoopla we can see that the average house sale in N21 over the past year was £439,932, although the two data sets are not directly comparable, but they are still of value. According to Zoopla, property prices in N21 have gone up by a whopping 8.7%, or £40,726 in the past year, which is above the national average.
Looking at the current market, Zoopla estimate that the average price across all properties is £506,841, but amongst the 138 properties currently on market (through agents who use Zoopla) the average sale price is £940,731!
You can check out the Zoopla stats here. This figure will change almost daily but points to a paucity of property for sale at the lower end of the market and is also distorted by a number of multi-million pound houses currently on sale in the postcode. Do these figures really reflect the local market? What is really going on and what is likely to happen to property sales over the rest of the year?
Ask an N21 property expert, the people who know the area like the back of their hand and in many occasions will have sold a property more than once over the years and have weathered a number of difficult periods in recent years.
* The key message from this survey of agents is that it is a sellers market, but this is partly due to the "lowish" number of properties on the market. The weak economy and the mortgage famine has reduced volumes, the average number of years that people live in the same house has risen significantly, people still appear to be cautious and are staying put, maybe extending, rather than incurring the extra costs involved in moving.
* Agents also report that there has been some market distortion, resulting in a number of properties on the market being overpriced, a tactic used, by a well known national player, (who shall remain nameless), trying to buy market share, by inflating values to get instructions, tying sellers into long but unrealistic contracts.
* Whilst prices are still rising, a number of agents felt this trend isn't sustainable; that house prices will peak this year. This makes it a good time to sell if you are looking to downsize and take equity out of the house, maybe to help children to get onto the property ladder or to supplement your income or pension.
Here is what our N21 experts have to say
Hugh Mason, of Addisons Townsends, who have offices on Green Lanes and also in Southgate, describe the market as "Crazy, fantastic for home owners. Sales achieved in January were sometimes £10,000 more than what we expected. The market is particularly strong in the lower end up to around £700,000, we just can't get enough houses to sell. Some properties have risen by more than £50,000 in six months. We're had open days with 40-50 some viewings, so that home owners can pick from multiple offers. It's a bubble, it can't possibly last".
"Any property which comes to the market at the right price is selling quickly", says Jo Fuller of Fullers Estates. It's a sellers market, there just aren't enough properties on the market for people who want to upsize or downsize and stay in the local area, or for the new people wanting to move to N21. The buy to let market is going to remain strong as more and more people seeing property as a pension. With our good links into town, this is a good area for people wanting to invest in rental property. The three mortgage brokers we deal with are working flat out"
Max Bywater and David Gaughands of Havilands Havilands report an influx of buyers into N21 from other areas "Havilands are experiencing a very buoyant market, with more people looking than properties available – it's a sellers market. Havilands are achieving an average of 98% of the full asking price. Over the past year we have noticed a migration of young professionals from the likes of Muswell Hill and Crouch End, seeking more for their money in N21 and surrounding areas. Its definitely a good time to sell if you are looking to downsize or release equity from your homes – demand is high and Havilands have many buyers waiting for their next move".
Ian McKenzie of McKenzie & Partners would like the Government to conduct an urgent review of stamp duty to help restore the market to more normal trading conditions, which is of course good for the economy. "The volume of transactions is at an all time low, perhaps as much as 40% from a peak prior to the banking crisis.So the old economic theory of supply and demand is key to the febrile nature of the current market. In my view, the government should reduce stamp duty levels particularly at the rate up to and including the 4% threshold, thereby reducing the immense cost of moving and adding some necessary equilibrium to the market. The Government may well end up taking more in stamp duty as sales increase!"
Kris White, the manager of Peter Barry expects more properties to come to market, prompted by higher confidence and the prospect of stronger prices. "At Peter Barry, we have seen a dramatic upturn and rises in the sales market over the past eight or nine months where president prices are being achieved on nearly every sale. Mortgage products are far more readily available today at good rates when placing a 15% deposit and above. It has taken for a few good quality properties to come to market and sell to plant the seed of moving to other homeowners. The majority of buyers looking in the surrounding area already live within a net 5 miles of the property they will eventually buy looking at the large amount of recent completions". Peter Barry have an excellent blog on property issues, http://www.pbea.co.uk/blog/
Brian Graff, of Peter Graff, who have just moved into stylish new offices on the Broadway, is frustrated with what he describes as a "log-jam". "I think this year is going to be one of the best years for property sales for a decade. At the moment we have a bit of a log jam, we have a number of clients who want to put their properties on the market but can't find anywhere to buy. This is going to be a good year for people who want to downsize and move into a smaller property in the area. Its not so good for first time buyers, despite Help To Buy they are being priced out of the area they grew up in".
Gordon Farrant of Putts says he is baffled by current market conditions, "I can't remember any time in the past when local house prices have risen so sharply, so quickly, in many instances they are back up above the 2007 peak, The rise has been 10% since last August and it isn't based on any sound economic foundation. Most people are very stratched financially, I'm not sure where the money is coming from. Its good to see first time buyers back in the market, but to buy around here they must have extremely good salaries or help from mum and dad".
Local agents, with solid local knowledge who live and work in N21 are the best people to instruct to sell your property.
What Zoopla users think of N21?
Overall rating: Very good - 90% (26 ratings)
"Crazy", "Baffling", "Unprecedented", three words used by local estate agents to describe the N21 property market.