The 2018 heatwave: too hot for the London property market?

Whether you enjoyed the hot weather or sweltered unhappily in London’s 35 degree plus temperatures, there’s no denying that London property sales suffered something of a meltdown in the recent heatwave.

It’s probably no surprise that the sizzling city heat made buyers more reluctant to search for their next home, but Lurot Brand’s Head of Sales, Marlon Lloyd Malcolm, has identified a positive trend emerging from what proved to be a very challenging period for owners of central London property hoping for a profitable sale.

Marlon explains: “Certainly, during the heatwave, we saw a huge drop in viewings from buyers, with more appointments cancelled. That being said, we found that those who did commit were more serious and therefore our ratios of viewings to accepted offers actually rose during that period.”

The hot spell also served to highlight the crucial role air conditioning can play when you are selling London property in the summer months. ”Aircon has never been a better home improvement,” Marlon admits. “From a sales point of view it has the same effect as heating your home in the winter to make the property welcoming.”

The ‘meteorological autumn’ began on 1st September, and, with summer now behind us, anyone involved in selling or buying property will be hoping for some better news in the months ahead. While some property pundits have claimed a stock shortage in London has made buyers more reluctant to move home, Marlon Lloyd Malcolm has his doubts: “Ultimately it is less about a stock shortage and actually about a lack of confidence linked to excessive transaction taxes and political uncertainty. We sell properties between £1m and £10m and have found that buyers with a genuine need to purchase have a wide selection to look at. However due to a lack of confidence in the market, they are not prepared to compromise on their wish list. For this type of buyer there is a shortage of ‘quality’ stock, made up of properties finished to a high standard. On the flipside, there are those buyers looking to take advantage of the market’s uncertainty and for this type of buyer – typically interested in properties that are priced 30-35% below the 2014 peak – there is a shortage of ‘well-priced’ stock.”

Marlon’s advice for sellers is either price keenly or create a high-end finish that ticks every box on your buyer’s ‘wish list’. Thanks to the summer heatwave, we’ve learned that adding air conditioning can give you the edge when selling a London property. To quote Marlon Lloyd Malcolm: “There is never a simpler way of making a buyer fall in love with a house than to make them feel at home and relaxed as soon as they walk through the door. A calm cool environment can feel like a sanctuary away from the heat of the city.

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