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West Hampstead April 13, 2021

Almost 1 in 3 West Hampstead Properties Being Sold with No Chain

So is it a good idea to rent in between moving home, to be chain-free?

Moving home is said to be the third most stressful thing you can do, so if you can do anything to reduce that stress, so much the better? When buying your next West Hampstead home, being chain-free can certainly reduce your stress and offers many advantages over other buyers (and some disadvantages). 

So, what is a chain? A property chain is made when there is a line of home buyers and home sellers linked through their property transactions e.g. a West Hampstead first-time buyer purchases a property, the sellers of that property then buy another property, and those sellers then buy another property, so on and so forth. Each home sale and purchase are reliant upon the success of every property in the so called ‘chain’. This means if there is one hiccup on one of the properties, every sale and purchase along the whole chain would collapse. No wonder everyone is on tenterhooks when there is a long chain involved.

Yet West Hampstead buyers who sell their home before searching for a new West Hampstead home considerably reduce their stress levels because they are not needing all the ducks to ‘line up in a row’ on the sale of their home in order to buy their new West Hampstead home. 

Being chain-free puts West Hampstead home buyers in an enhanced position to negotiate with home sellers and they in turn may be more enthusiastic to accepting a lower offer.

Sounds brilliant this chain-free life doesn’t it? Everyone is a chain-free buyer once … when they are a first-time buyer and if they are lucky enough to have an additional home to move into. The other option is selling your West Hampstead home and moving into rented accommodation, but that will end up costing quite a few thousand pounds (in what many perceive as wasted money) together with the added cost of employing the services of home removers twice (with all the hassle that entails doubled!). However, that is what many West Hampstead homeowners are doing.  

23.8% of all the properties on the market today in West Hampstead (NW6) are being sold without a chain. In comparison the London average is 20.5%.

I can’t disagree, moving home twice in a short period will be stressful and rent could be perceived as ‘wasted money’, but I have to recommend you look at the bigger picture. It is one of the sturdiest sellers’ markets in a generation, meaning you should get top dollar for your West Hampstead home, knowing that many buyers are keen to complete before the stamp duty holiday ends in the autumn.

Then by waiting for the return of stamp duty and for the full roll out on the immunisation programme to give more West Hampstead homeowners the peace of mind to place their West Hampstead home on to the property market, for West Hampstead house prices to cool and the number of properties for sale to increase. Then you could pounce in and buy, with more West Hampstead homes to choose from and at more realistic asking prices.


So, does the type of West Hampstead property that is being sold make any difference? 

 - 20.6% of town house/terraced Houses in West Hampstead are being sold chain-free

 - 24.8% of apartments/flats in West Hampstead are being sold chain-free

Of course, these aren’t all West Hampstead homeowners going into rented accommodation hoping to bag a bargain next year. Some of the properties are being sold because their homeowner has either moved into sheltered accommodation or sadly passed on and there are West Hampstead landlords selling their West Hampstead buy-to-let rental investments.

And don’t get me wrong, there are also risks involved with this type of home buying strategy. Moving into rented accommodation means you are out of the West Hampstead property market. Property values could dip in the next 12 months, yet they still could continue to rise - you are taking a gamble on a dip in the market and it could go wrong. 

Like most things in life, it depends on your own personal circumstances, where you are in your life, your attitude to risk and your belief on what will (or won’t) happen to property values in West Hampstead in the next 12 to 18 months.

If you would like a chat about your potential choices for your home move, then drop me a line.

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