By Prudence Ivey
Why is nobody selling their home if people are queuing up to buy?
It’s an age-old shoppers’ dilemma. You’ve finally got money to burn and an idea of what you’d like to spend it on. But you scour the high street and the furthest reaches of the internet and there’s nothing you want to buy.
We’ve all been there, but usually the item in question is a pair of shoes, maybe a coat or a party dress.
In the normal course of things, the barrier to buying a home in London is money, not that Goldilocks can’t find the perfect pad.
Of course I am not dismissing the plight of swathes of Londoners for whom the barriers are still resolutely financial (I hear you, I am you).
But those with money — and there are plenty of those — are not being put off by a 0.25 per cent interest rate rise, nor by a chunky 7.8 per cent increase in asking prices. Instead they are finding themselves stymied by a lack of homes to buy.
But why would people not be keen to sell when buyers are chomping at the bit and prices are rising?
Partly it’s that second-steppers with homes of their own to sell have settled, post stamp duty holiday and ‘race for space’, says Lawrence Bowles of Savills. They’ve been replaced by city-flat hungry first-time buyers who, by definition, don’t have properties to put on the market.
Buying agent Camilla Dell says the current market dynamics are also putting off would-be downsizers who can’t find a property but are reluctant to rent for fear prices will run away from them.
Property analyst Anthony Codling meanwhile sees no evidence of a drop in sales. In his view “it’s a case of homes flying off the shelves rather than the shelves being bare”.
One thing everyone agrees on is that whatever the cause, the effect will be continuing price rises. Dedicated shoppers may have a long wait on their hands.