10 January 2022
Predicting the Present
Ben Hudson ignores the New Year crystal ball and looks instead at what is actually happening to the property market at the moment.
A recent survey by a national estate agency group revealed that over fifty per cent of home buyers make a buying decision during their first viewing. Any experienced estate agent would say that they don’t need a survey to tell them that.
First impressions are a crucial component in influencing a home buying decision. Hence a clean and tidy house is essential in creating a market-ready property. Neatness must extend to the front garden, where a proportion of buyers often make their decisions to purchase or not even as they walk up to the front door for the first time.
Why are such important decisions made in moments? It’s because for most buyers a home is about the heart: it must feel right for them. A property can have the correct number of rooms, the right amount of space, face the right direction and have dozens of other desirable features, including being priced correctly. Still, if something doesn’t feel right it’s not right, and a buyer can detect that in seconds.
As we stride into 2022, newspapers and social media are awash with industry experts’ property market predictions. But experienced estate agents know that it is the present they have to address. The vast majority of home buyers and sellers are dealing with the now.
Happily, the present is easier to comment on accurately. Early indications this year are that there is no let-up in demand. But stocks remain low, keeping pressure on values and pushing up prices in many areas, making this a particularly good time to sell.
Yes, property buyers must keep their eye on cost-of-living rises, as mortgage affordability and potential energy supply cost increases will be of concern in the weeks and months ahead. Indeed, banks and building societies might toughen up their lending criteria, especially if we see more small, incremental interest rate rises.
Buyers need to make wise decisions when choosing a home, as they should always buy within their means. But, within the bounds of fiscal responsibility, people still choose a home instinctively. Property may have become a commodity, but a home is more than that. It is shelter, security and a comfort blanket, and no one needs a survey to tell them that.