A Blog by Jonathan Low


Feb 18, 2014

The 10th Circle of Hell: Buying Property in London (or New York, Paris, San Francisco, Rio, etc etc)

The horror stories abound - and they are global. London, New York, Rio, Paris, San Francisco, wherever: just try finding an apartment you can afford, let alone one about which you have time to think.

Denizens of every hot city take pride in insisting that their real estate market is the absolute worst. Buyers showing up prepared to pay cash. Today. At 50 percent over the offer price.

That this has become such a universal experience (though we have no data on rental rates in outer space) suggests it is part of a larger phenomenon. Certainly the financial crisis and resultant property value collapse contributed to the current demand as new building took a breather for a few years. Urbanization across the globe stokes the market as enterprises and the jobs they create abandon the suburbs. And, of course, the extraordinary compensation accorded at least some has given them excess to play with.

The challenge, as the following article explains, is that everyone invested in this trend has become part of  a vast co-dependency. Which may be ok, assuming one can rely on one's co-dependents...JL

Martin Stewart comments in The Banker's Umbrella blog:

No time to really think, no time for due diligence, no time to compare and contrast. No, not anymore. You have spent all of 15 minutes looking at something valued at £500,000  and it all boils down to a “do you wannit or not?”
Do you remember those halcyon days when you walked around a property you hoped to buy grinning at your partner behind the owners back, trying hard to hide the fact that you would do ANYTHING to buy their home? Then you leave and tell the Agent you would like to think about it, wait a couple of days before suggesting a second viewing whilst also cheating on your possible new home by dating other comparable properties in the area. Then, when the tension gets too much, you decide to jump in with an offer at least 5% below the asking price. Oh the arrogance of it all!

I remember this process very well, it was only 3 years ago that I did this myself.

Cut to 2014 and what do we see? Well the quick answer to that question is complete and utter chaos. The home buying model is broken, particularly in London, and a new more sinister model has begun to emerge. 
Now it is all about the “open day “. What’s that you ask ? Well it is an opportunity to herd as many people through the same property in as short a time as possible with the ulterior motive of creating instant paranoia amongst the buyers. That is then followed up by the question designed to strike fear in to the heart of every buyer, “can you let us know your best and final offer?” 

So, no time to really think, no time for due diligence, no time to compare and contrast. No, not anymore. You have spent all of 15 minutes looking at something valued at £500,000  and it all boils down to a “do you wannit or not?” I have spent longer debating which sandwich to get from M&S. This new house purchase model makes the old bidding at an auction scenario almost pedestrian by comparison.

Here are some first hand anecdotal situations we have come across in the past few weeks alone:
  • A client buying a probate house in North London overbid the £725k asking price by £100k. He didn’t succeed, someone else bid £200k over
  • A client looking at a 2 bed flat in Greenwich was just one of 16 firm offers put in on the place within 48 hours of the open day
  • A client looking in Wimbledon found himself shuffling around a house with 30 others . It transpired 28 of them were buying chain free.

Let me be clear here. We are not referring to “Super Prime “ properties in the currency havens of Mayfair and Kensington. These are AVERAGE properties in good areas which AVERAGE people are now finding impossible to buy.

These current market conditions are just one of the many massive social changes which we will continue to witness as the fallout from the credit crunch permeates. We could go back further still to the easing of credit at the start of the Century for the original route cause.

“Oh what a tangled web etc etc etc”

One of the major casualties of the current housing crisis( and it IS a crisis) is the first time buyer. They have for all intents and purposes become redundant in the home buying process. In the space of 5 years they have gone from being the life blood of the market to being a bloody nuisance. They have, as you can probably guess, been replaced by Buy To Let investors.

As usual the powers that be continue to sleep walk us all into the abyss. We do NOT need ANY Government sponsored initiatives anywhere near London nor probably the South East. Let the ten worst performing regions in the UK have all of that money (and more).

We get asked by virtually everyone we meet “are we in another property bubble?” Our answer is “Yes, because we never left the last one“. We never naturally corrected the market. We just pumped it full of steroids and cheaper credit. Will it crash? Who knows? I sincerely hope not, unless you really  want to live in a London that will resemble that of the film 28 Days Later. My feeling is we are too interlocked, we can’t escape even if we wanted to. When a country like ours  is owner occupied to the tune of 70% the basic utilitarian principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people prevails. My vested interest is your vested interest and vice versa.


Browse4Homes said...

This blog is related to flats,properties and estate agents London.This is a good blog.Thank you for sharing this post...
Browse4Homes Website

Van Rental San Francisco said...

budget car rentals san francisco airport, car rental henderson ky car rental henderson ky car rental london heathrow airport

Post a Comment