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West Hampstead October 5, 2020
     

Why are Some Banks Reining in Over-Enthusiastic West Hampstead Homebuyers and Buy-to-Let Investors?

The West Hampstead property market is an enigma and chock-full of contradictions. 

Notwithstanding an economic recession and forecasts of property values dropping, nobody seems to have informed the West Hampstead homeowners selling their homes and those West Hampstead people looking to buy them. As I have discussed in many recent articles on the locality, the West Hampstead property market is booming and property values in some sections of the market are rising, yet amidst enthusiastic reports of gazumping, there are disgruntled and malcontent grumbles about mortgage company surveyors down valuing property on survey. 

However, before we talk about the banks and surveyors, let’s look at what is happening in the West Hampstead property market now. 

Land Registry figures published last week showed unyielding evidence for what everyone in the property industry had been saying since the market reopened after a seven-week lockdown on May 13: UK property prices are rising, although

The average value of a West Hampstead home dropped by 4.3%

in the year to June to £870,800

Many expect the statistics to show more UK rises following the Stamp Duty Holiday announced in July, which unbridled a burst of buying activity in the West Hampstead property market. In many (not all) sectors some properties have been going for over the asking price whilst some have been going to sealed bids, so we should see a reverse of those downward stats.

Some newspapers have even suggested a small minority of homeowners are ‘backdoor-gazumping’, which is genteelly being referred to by estate agents as ‘retuning the asking price’ - as in, the homeowner removing the property from the market, ‘retuning the asking price’ in an upward direction, then placing it back onto the market. 

Conceivably enthused by these stories, some house sellers and estate agents might be getting a little carried away and placing overambitious asking prices on homes they are selling. Customarily a property with too high an asking price wouldn’t sell - yet some over-enthusiastic West Hampstead buyers are paying over the odds for certain types of properties.

So, let’s look at what is happening to the West Hampstead property market by house type and the number of bedrooms…

 

 

Number of West Hampstead properties
on the market

...and of those -
how many are Sold STC

% Sold STC
compared to those for sale

Detached House

9

3

33.3%

Semi Det House

18

4

22.2%

Terraced/Town House

33

9

27.3%

Apartment

664

137

20.6%

 

And when we look at the number of bedrooms …

 

 

Number of West Hampstead properties
on the market

…and of those -
how many are Sold STC

% sold STC
compared to those for sale

Studio/1 bed

171

36

21.1%

2 beds

311

66

21.2%

3 beds

174

33

19.0%

4 beds

50

11

22.0%

5+ beds

20

5

25.0%

 

As you can see, the best performing type of property in West Hampstead is the detached house and the best-selling properties when it comes to bedrooms are 5+ beds.

These are quite impressive figures for the West Hampstead

property market, yet some of the banks are having none of it

They are looking apprehensively into 2021 when furlough/the new job support scheme ends, meaning it’s quite tough for all buyers borrowing high percentage mortgages (i.e. more than 80% to 85% of the value of the property in a mortgage).  

It is even tougher for self-employed buyers (whose income is less than assured) to get those high percentage mortgages - and finally, the banks are most certainly concerned with high percentage mortgage buyers who pay over-inflated prices for property using the bank’s money… hence the down valuing (Definition of Down valuing : the buyer and seller agree a sale price, then the mortgage is applied for with the buyer’s bank and the bank’s surveyor states the purchase price the buyer is paying is too much). 

One small note to West Hampstead landlords - I am also hearing that some overzealous West Hampstead buy to let landlords who are over-egging the potential rental figures on their buy-to-let purchase in order to obtain the mortgage, are also being reined in by the banks.

Now this is not a huge issue (e.Surv – a nationwide surveying firm only reported a 4% increase in surveyors having to down value property in Q2 2020 compared to Q1), yet should you be lucky enough to have multiple offers on your home, ask the agent what the overall buying position of the buyers are. You need to specifically ask what percentage loan the buyer is taking on and the position of the buyer in the chain (they have to find this out anyway by law and you have a right to know that information as the property seller if you ask).

The bottom line is the highest bidder might not be the best buyer for you. It’s true, average property prices are rising nationally, yet this does not mean you should pay over the odds for your next West Hampstead property. 

If you would like a chat about any aspect of the West Hampstead property market - please do send me a message or pick up the phone.

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