Hammersmith and West London Property Shortage

West London Property Market In Desperate Need Of Stock

The property market is somewhat in a state of flux at the moment as demand massively outstrips supply. Looking back at my old GCSE economics textbook, that usually means only one thing – a sharp increase in prices as people try to outbid each other for the small number of properties that do appear on the market.

As a whole, the London property market is running hot. It now takes an average of only 57 days to sell a home in the capital – down from 68 days in February. And the West London housing market is following the same trend as the rest of the capital.

It’s on the market. It receives a high level of interest.

Offers hit left, right and centre.

It’s sold and then it’s all down to the solicitors to do their work…

But it’s not just about the average sale time. These figures sit alongside some other startling facts that, when viewed together, highlight a West London property market that needs new stock quickly. Asking prices are also hitting new highs. We’re back to the days of a price being out of date pretty much as soon as it is published. House prices across London rose by 7.3% annually from February 2021 to February 2022.

This continues the longest stretch of rising property prices in London since the aggressive market from September 2009 to February 2017, when looking at the Rightmove Asking Prices Index. We’re not insulated from this in West London, with a lack of property affecting prices massively.

Why Is Stock So Low?

In Hammersmith and West London, we’re faced with a unique set of circumstances, coupled with the economic situation, causing the problem to get worse rather than better. Globally, the war in Ukraine causes uncertainty. And when people are uncertain, they tend to stick to the status quo. Added to this is the fact that inflation is causing massive pressure on household incomes, forcing people to batten down the hatches and stay put.

While the government has tried to address this with the Spring Statement last week, the initiatives announced by the Chancellor were around the edges of personal finance rather than dealing with the big issues. And there were no new initiatives to get the housing market moving. Although COVID restrictions ending has pushed overseas buyers back into the London property market after a couple of years away.

This will also have an inflationary effect on West London property prices. Now that people can visit London, go out and eat as well as take in a West End show, the demand to live here will also increase.

Mark Twain famously said, “Buy land, they're not making it anymore.” And he could well have been talking about today and the Hammersmith and West London property market issues.

We don’t have the space for a massive expansion of housing stock in the same way other parts of the country have. This means that new housing projects face huge demand and can often be sold out before they’re built.

What Is The Solution?

Great question! And the answers are the same ones that have been rolled out for years. Incentives for building can only go so far in an area that is already as built-up as West London.

But when the government settles the economic situation nationally, people will be more likely to look at moving home again. So many people spent money on home improvements during and immediately after lockdown, meaning they intend to stay put for years to come. But those looking to move upwards, downsize or move out of the capital will be encouraged to do so when mortgage rates aren’t rising, when utility bills don’t feel like a second mortgage and when it doesn’t cost £100 plus to fill up a family car.

In the meantime, it might be a bumpy ride for a while. But while West London property prices are rising, many are looking to get in as soon - rather than pay over the odds at a later date.

Written by John Rigg

Source London Estates

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