Sandfords called the top of the London market several weeks ago as signs of a slowdown in buyer activity appeared, and now they report further evidence, declaring that viewing levels and applicant registrations have descended.
Andrew Ellinas, Director, says: “Following a sustained period of rapid growth, signs of a slowdown in the prime central London market are becoming progressively evident and price levels have topped for the time being. In May, the average number of viewings declined, demonstrating an ease in demand levels and, although prices have not yet fallen, they have stalled.”
A yearly picture shows that things have, in actual fact, changed quite considerably with a 45% decline in viewing figures. Applicant registrations have also fallen and, compared to this time last year, a 40% decrease has been reported by Sandfords.
Andrew believes that the cause responsible for the slowdown is simple; buyers are refusing to pay the current asking prices for properties in central London, after they rocketed out of control.
He says: “Prices surged to unbelievable levels and it is only now that buyers are putting a stop to such premiums. We estimate that 45% of the properties we are instructed to sell are now over priced by 10%; and an additional 25% of properties by as much as 20%. A small percentage of our current stock has recently been reduced in price as some vendors recognise this recent change in the market, but all vendors need to be willing to follow suit if they want to sell their property in what has become an uncertain market.”
Andrew continues: “When the market presents its challenges, as it is doing now, my advice for vendors is to instruct the local specialist who can make things happen when they are more difficult. Not all agents can perform when things get tough.”
Sandfords specialise in the sale, rental and acquisition of prime residential property in Central and North West London, most notable, in the Regent’s Park, Marylebone, St John’s Wood, Primrose Hill and Little Venice areas.
Sandfords was founded in 1985 by Andrew Ellinas, who used his mother’s maiden name on the letterhead. The company initially served the Highgate area, but an introduction to James Light prompted a new partnership and a move to Regent’s Park. The new office opened in 1994. Expansion was rapid and Sandfords soon gained a reputation as the agents with the best local contacts and expertise.
Sandfords soon saw the logic of expanding south of the Marylebone Road, and in 2006 Tim Fairweather joined the firm to open the Marylebone office.
The firm has been at the forefront of the technological changes that have swept the property sector. Andrew, something of a geek, personally installed the firm’s first computer network, at a time when networks were the preserve of big corporations, and he wrote Sandfords’ first website. The site was a dynamic websites that could be updated on the fly, one of the first for any estate agent in the UK.
Sandfords were founder shareholders in Primelocation.com, the pioneering property website, and are shareholders in Fabric, the top north London property magazine.