Thursday, 29 January 2015

This could be interesting

In Moneymorning, Dominic Frisby writes:

There are now 54,000 homes planned or under construction “in the priciest areas of the capital”. Most will cost “close to or above the £1m mark” and most are two-bed flats.

but the same areas last year, just 3,900 homes were sold for more than £1m. That would put potential supply at almost 14 times annual demand.

I should say, not all of the 54,000 properties planned will necessarily be built, and not all will come to market in 2015. (The statistic comes from data company Lonres, researchers Dataloft and buying agents PropertyVision, by the way.) But there is still a surfeit of supply. What's more, many of the 3,900 places that sold in 2014 for £1m or more were houses or had more than three bedrooms. What’s coming to market are two-bed flats."

Who is going to buy these properties, and who is going to live in them?

Families don’t want two-bed flats. ‘Normal’ people can’t afford £1m-plus properties. Even buy-to-let won’t work – factoring in service charges, you'd have to be taking in £40,000 a year in rent to make a £1m property worthwhile. That's a lot for a two-bedder. So you’re left with very successful, upwardly mobile young people in their 20s or 30s. But will that sort of person want to buy some bland new build that feels like living in a hotel? Of course not. He or she will want somewhere groovy in Shoreditch. And like most British people, Londoners prefer period properties. They’ll buy new builds if the price is right. But it isn’t. In many areas, new builds are at least as expensive as period homes per square foot – and they come with higher service charges.

So who’s buying? Well, as Charlie Ellingworth of Property Vision puts it, many new builds are marketed at “unsophisticated” foreign investors."

I’m not suggesting foreign buyers in London will disappear. They won’t. And the overseas market is affected by all sorts of factors beyond anyone’s control – the currency markets (think of the rouble), capital controls, capital flight, capital repatriation and so on.

But markets ebb and flow. The equivalent new-build-for-foreigners market in Manhattan is already seeing a marked slowdown. And the main problem is that even by the standards of London property, these flats are hugely overpriced.

So, we have oversupply. The big question is, will the prices come down, as the "supply and demanders" say they will, or will the flats just stay unsold?


Mark Wadsworth said...

We shall wait and see.

Random said...

I though the Homeys said the problem was lack of supply!