More market musings.....and THE OLYMPICS

Monday, January 31, 2011 by Ed Mead

For many who spent the tail end of last year trying to predict this year it must have seemed a doddle compared to forecasting now. Suddenly the press, and even me, are beginning to sense that although the year may be a dreadful dirge, it does look as if prices in London will end the year higher than they started. This is not saying a whole lot but from where I’m sitting there are occasional deals being done that simply beggar belief, whereas if you wander out of London, particularly in a Northerly direction, the stories are of a very different nature as the press are keen to let us know.

Sadly all commentators agree that volumes will be a victim this year, and many fear this malaise will continue into next year which is depressing. But hang on a minute next year is Olympic year isn’t it. We’re all supposed to feel good about that, and I’ve even registered for tickets as any self respecting Londoner should, but will it be enough to dispel the fog.

One thing everyone forecast, and the auspices loom good, is that rental numbers will increase in London next year because of the Olympics being here. With perhaps the worst area for sales currently being small flats, no demand from first time buyers still, it’s very likely, and beginning to be the case, that buy to let investors are beginning to lick their lips and dive in. I sat in a meeting with some heavyweight agents yesterday and all the ones I spoke to said if they had money they’d be buying investment property now. The fact that they can’t shows the general level of nervousness and lack of income in the estate agency game at the moment, but perhaps whilst many top end agents gloat about how many £5m plus properties are selling those who deal at the bottom end might just be about to get their own timely boost.