In 2007 the property market, and of course the entire economy, obviously took a significant dent. Property prices plummeted, hardly any stock was coming onto the market and many homeowners were finding themselves in negative equity. Since that point the economic recovery has been at best tentative, and if schemes such as Help to Buy are anything to go on, the government seem to be hanging their hopes on the housing market to pull the rest of the country out of its financial quagmire.
Nationally the figures do suggest these green shoots of recovery, and although the slow but steady increase in property prices regionally might not be the desperate stimulant required to pull the country out of recession, no one doubts that it is a step in the right direction. But those who discuss London in the same context are ignoring the fact that the recovery there was swift, and especially those living in more central boroughs saw property prices restored to near their pre-recession levels within under two years.
Nick Karamanlis, Sales Manager in Hackney, saw that after an initial correction following the crash, property prices haven’t looked back: “Talk of green shoots of recovery now seems late in the day, but it stems from the fact that buyers are now looking further afield due to the popular areas such as Hackney becoming saturated, meaning that the recovery process has extended beyond us.”
There is the question of whether property prices have just been maintained due to the shortage of stock, and in many areas we are seeing buyers paying record prices as they are fighting for whatever properties they can get. It isn’t an ideal scenario but it represents the confidence in the market felt by buyers, who have seen the consistent growth since 2009. The latter is far more sustainable, although prices may well plateau if the rapid price increases exhausts the market, but with foreign investment and Help to Buy still fuelling demand in London the market shows no sign of weakening.
For property experts and journalists there is naturally no joy in telling struggling national homeowners how booming the property market is in London, but any attempt to give a national overview needs to discuss these in separate categories. Whilst 'green shoots' are good news for areas such as the South East and Yorkshire, what we are seeing there is only really reflective of what was happening in London closer to four years ago.
Nick Karamanlis, Stirling Ackroyd Hackney Sales Manager