Predicting the Present

Nick Churton, from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Robert Paul Properties’ London office, ignores the New Year crystal ball and looks instead at what is currently happening to the property market.

A recent survey by a national estate agency group in the UK revealed that over fifty percent of home buyers make a buying decision during their first viewing. Any experienced agent would say that they don’t need a survey to tell them that.

Why are such important decisions made in moments? It’s because for most buyers a home is about the heart: it must feel right for them. A property can have the correct number of rooms, the right amount of space, face the right direction and have dozens of other desirable features, including being priced correctly. Still, if something doesn’t feel right it’s not right, and a buyer can detect that in seconds.

As we stride into 2022, the media is awash with industry experts’ property market predictions. But experienced real estate agents know that it is the present they have to address. The vast majority of home buyers and sellers are dealing with the now. Real estate isn’t the stock market. You can’t live in a share certificate.

Happily, the present is easier to comment on accurately. Early indications this year are that there is no let-up in demand. But stocks remain low, keeping pressure on prices and pushing up prices in many areas, making this a particularly good time in the property cycle to sell.

Yes, property buyers must keep their eye on cost-of-living rises, as increases will be of concern  in the weeks and months ahead. Indeed, lenders might toughen up their lending criteria, especially if we see more small, incremental interest rate rises.

Buyers need to make wise decisions when choosing a home, as they should always buy within their means. But, within the bounds of fiscal responsibility, people still choose a home instinctively. For some, real estate may have become a commodity, but a home is more than that. It is shelter, security and a comfort blanket, and no one needs a survey to point that out.