January blues good for move to the greener suburbs

Poor weather and the back to school/work hiatus could create an opportunity for buyers and sellers during the first quarter of 2013, says property consultants Cluttons.  


Cluttons has analysed its own Central London house price data alongside Nationwide figures on the South East region over the period since Q2 2009, when the housing market stabilised following a turbulent period post credit crunch. The research reveals that the price growth for completions in the Outer South East during Q 1 has on average been negative compared to slight growth over the remainder of the year. This suggests that the best time to make an offer on a property, particularly one which has been languishing on the market for a while in London’s commuter towns, is during this period.


Buyers face less competition and bidding wars are minimised as some buyers are slow to get off the ground with their search in the post Christmas and New Year period. In addition, poor weather and seasonal credit cards bills dent confidence, further depleting activity.


However, this does not apply to sellers in prime and Central London, where low stock levels minimise the scope for buyers to secure a deal on quality homes in good locations and sales are achieved quickly. As a result, Cluttons’ own data shows price growth during Q1 mirrors the average for the rest of the year.


Reflecting the divergent tone of the two markets almost four years on from the depths of the post credit crunch slump, Prime Central London capital values rose by 6.4% in 2012 compared a slight fall in the Outer South East region according to Nationwide figures. The weakness in the housing market outside the capital makes it vulnerable to dips in demand as in the post Christmas period.


Sue Foxley, Head of research at Cluttons, says:


“These figures show an opportunity for Central London homeowners to sell up and make a move to the country, or even to many of the outer London suburbs and villages. By capitalising on higher Central London values, buyers have a the potential to secure a good price on a larger family home further out which may have been sitting on the market and where owners are looking to jump start 2013 with a long awaited home move. The weary housing market outside the capital offers plenty of scope for a New Year deal.”


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