My property predictions for 2011

Everyone’s at it but now it’s my turn to stick my finger in the property air and put my head or something on the block. Just like all the other pundits, even those with pretty graphs, economic data going back generations and very posh accents, I shall mainly be using ‘guesswork’…. however, I had the novel, nay, rarely before tried idea of adding a dollop of common sense.

For the record, my predictions are about the South-East and of course like anyone worth their salt in the land of predictions, I have a disclaimer:

If interest rates climb more than 1% all bets are off and it will be complete carnage out there. Fingers crossed.

January to April

A time of confusion with Agents, Vendors and buyers unsure of how to price, whether to buy or whether to sell.

Transaction levels will remain very low. Financing remains very difficult to get.

Some properties will be highly-priced, some will be lowly-priced. Economic worries and low confidence will keep buyers and sellers away from from the market. With stock low, good properties will achieve mid-2010 prices. Properties ‘with issues’ will fare very poorly.

For buyers

This is probably the best time to buy this year. There will be bargains but you will have to really dig around for them. Ignore asking prices, they are meaningless, you’ll only find out the true price as you start negotiating. Many prices will be very hopeful and with lack of confidence among Vendors you may be able to knock them down a lot… but you’ll need to show you are a great buyer. Buy the best quality property in the best quality location you can afford. Getting a rank paper flat a bit cheap does not count as a bargain. This is the time to take advantage of being able to buy a good property, for yourself or as a rental investment.

For Vendors

If you have a really good property the chances are that you will get a better price than you fear. If your property is ‘problematic’ I would hold off selling – take advantage of the buoyant rental market and growing rent values if you can and wait until later in the year to sell.

The lettings market

‘I want to be a Landlord’ sums it up. Severe lack of stock, no financing for traditional first time buyers and lack of BTL mortgages stopping new Landlords entering the market. Not enough rental properties to supply the demand drives rents further up.

In summary

Prices deflated but no crash.The clever money should be buying small buy to lets and HMO’s in Central London and quality areas… and quality family homes for the medium to long term.

April to August

Confusion still around but confidence will grow as the market has shown no sign of a crash and will have proven itself relatively stable. More properties will come to the market. Buyers will be buying. However, transaction levels although higher will still be historically low. This is mainly due to the continued lack of financing. Sensible pricing should encourage people to buy and sell. Sales prices should remain around mid-2010 levels, i.e. not significantly down year on year.

For Vendors

Price realistically and there should be enough buyers to ensure a decent price.

For Buyers

There won’t be as many Vendors prepared to do really good deals but you can buy at a sensible price for the medium term.

The lettings market

Still more people wanting to rent than properties available. Financing still difficult causing tenants to stay in the rental market and keeping new Landlords out of the market. Rents still rising.

In summary

A fair time to buy and sell, with prices ‘realistic’. Still, the clever money should be investing in small buy to lets and quality homes for the medium to long term.

August to December

Prices have picked up but little change year on year. Confidence will be at it’s highest as the September season starts. Asking prices will be higher than they should be. Transactions and stock levels low, caused both by increased confidence and more distressed Vendors. (due to interest rate rises and fixed mortgage deals coming to an end). Prices achieved remain at same level.

For Vendors

With a good property you could buck the price trend upwards with September being your best bet.

For Buyers

You’ve already bought your BTL’s haven’t you?? .. so stay out of investing until the end of the year for deals, when the more desperate dregs are about. For the family home buyers there will be more competition from other buyers so you may have a fight on for the good stuff.

The Lettings Market

My, my, what a good year it’s been… if you’re a Landlord. Pity the poor reluctant tenants at the mercy of still increasing rents, with little choice in the market and no chance of buying anytime soon. Pity the Lettings Agents with a massive undersupply of new rental properties to make money on.

So to sum up, we will start the year slowly, confidence will pick up throughout the year, prices will move very little overall. Don’t buy thinking you will get any significant capital growth over the next 3 years but being a buy-to-let Landlord is a great idea if you get it right.

In other words…. STAGNATION.

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