A buying agency has claimed that finding a decent house in one of the capital’s hottest markets is now “impossible” without professional help.


29th October 2021


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Unrepresented buyers don’t stand a chance in London’s hottest markets, says buying agent

Even those with healthy budgets of between £4m and £10m are coming unstuck in hotspots like St John’s Wood & Putney, according to Black Brick

A buying agency has claimed that finding a decent house in one of the capital’s hottest markets is now “impossible” without professional help.

A number of firms have flagged up how stiff the competition has become for properties (specifically houses, rather than flats) in areas like St John’s Wood lately. Competitive bidding and record prices continue to be fuelled by a shortage of stock and strong demand for large family homes in the leafiest enclaves.

Camilla Dell, managing partner of Mayfair-based Black Brick has gone further, declaring: “I would go as far as to say that it is impossible to buy in one of these very busy markets without a buying agent.”

House prices in NW8 have risen by over 10% in the past 12 months alone, according to Dell, who notes that even unmod examples on good streets have breached the £3,000 per sq ft mark – and are currently changing hands for £3,200 to £3,300 per sq ft.

“A lot of the clients we are taking on at the moment are people looking in the £4m to £10m bracket and they just can’t find anything to buy or they find something and then get gazumped,” she added.

SW15 is another hotspot, said partner Caspar Harvard-Walls: “We showed a house in Putney to a client on a Friday, the day it went onto the market…They didn’t want it, but within two days the vendor had an asking price offer and one of over asking price. It was gone in two days.”

The firm doesn’t see the imbalance between supply and demand resolving any time soon and advises those looking in one of these sought-after areas to “prepare themselves for a real bun fight”.

This super-prime family house in St John’s Wood was acquired for a Black Brick client recently, following six months of ‘persistence and patience’.

Other buying agencies have reported a “wave of demand” for their services over the last two years, with many unable to meet the level of enquiries coming in. Jonathan Hopper of Garringtons, one of the largest operators, said the pandemic had “transformed the way buying agents are seen” while Jonathan Harington of long-established firm Haringtons said representation had “become the norm for savvy buyers”.

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