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Buyer activity in London picks up pace despite low supply

London has seen market activity climb over the first six months of the year despite the lack of properties coming up for sale, according to new data from Chestertons.

It found that property viewings in June were up 7% compared to the previous year, while offers had increased 9% annually.

The biggest uplift in activity was recorded in Central London, with viewings across Marylebone, Notting Hill, Mayfair and Knightsbridge rising 14% from June 2018 to June 2019.

The number of people registering to buy property in these areas since the start of 2019 is up 29% on the same period in 2018 – the biggest jump in demand seen across the capital.

In London as a whole, however, the supply of properties coming onto the market since the start of the year is 15% down on January 2018.

Regarding instruction levels, the biggest drop has been witnessed across the North and East of the capital, down 32% year-on-year in June. Chestertons says the discrepancy between growing buyer demand and limited properties for sale is ‘creating significant market competition’.

In Islington, there are currently 33 applicants for every property on the market, up from 22 per property a year ago. There are also 15 registered buyers for every home for sale in Hampstead and Kentish Town.

“Buyers are the driving force of the property market and, despite the ongoing political uncertainty, momentum is starting to build in the market,” Guy Gittins, managing director at Chestertons, comments.

He says these challenging levels of buyer demand are creating tougher competition for available properties.

“We are seeing numerous cases of multiple bids on the same property and properties selling above asking price,” he adds. “Buyers simply aren’t prepared to put off purchase or investment decisions any longer and are returning to the market in their droves – especially in Prime Central areas and at the top end of the market where prices are presenting particularly attractive opportunities.”

On the other side of the fence, however, homeowners are still cautious about putting their properties on the market. As a result, buyers are outstripping available properties in popular areas such as Islington.

Gittins concludes: “If the shortage of homes for sale continues to bite, we can expect this to start translating into price inflation. But all eyes are on the new Prime Minster and the 31 October deadline, and only when key decisions on the country’s future have been made will we see a real increase in market activity once again.”

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