Priming the pump with premium property

THERE is a parallel to be drawn between the lack of rain in this area so far this year and the paucity of good quality property coming to the market in the same time frame.

Unlike the Environment Secretary who recently called together the water companies to see what could be done about drought fears, estate agents don’t weald that kind of power over our suppliers - potential vendors.

Instead, all we can do is ask vendors to come forward to take their first, tentative steps by talking to their estate agents with a view to a realistic market appraisal.

Confidence is key and while, historically, in England, we know that summer will be a washout somewhere in the land, we don’t know that so much in our region anymore.

Yet, in the property market, agents are confident that an appetite does exist for buying the right property from a niche but not insignificant set of potential purchasers whose appetite is whetted by our area’s property offering.

At the lower end of the premium slice of the market – that’s those, in this area, of circa £1 million – there’s a potential drought of supply to meet demand.

Often that demand is being fuelled by an influx of international buyers in London that keeps property prices in the capital buoyant and so London sellers are often looking for commutable locations in what they see as “country” areas, such as ours.

There may not be a groundswell of potential purchasers in the bulging middle and lower end of the market but in the premier cru class of property buyers, residential property has, in the long term, proven to be a safe haven for investment.

In the past, first-time buyers have been seen as the pump-primers of the market. Nobody’s doubting the housing market needs them in perpetuity but there’s an argument to be made that, because of the peculiarity of the times in which we are living, where mortgage finance is not available to the first-time buyer rump, perhaps those occupying positions a lot further up the property ladder can be the market makers?

But, unlike first-time buyers who, traditionally, look to buy any property just to get on the first rung of the ladder for a short time before moving up, those further up are more discerning about which property they want - especially when their sights are set on houses which are one of a kind.