Sellers are still adopting a “take it or leave it approach” with prices up to 20% higher than most “sensible buyers” are willing to pay, a buying agent claims.
Jo Eccles, founder of prime central London buying agent Eccord said truly motivated sellers are scarce in this section of the market.
She said: “The shortage of best-in-class family homes in central London’s most popular villages is one of the most severe we’ve seen in 17 years of operation.
“In prime locations such as St John’s Wood, Notting Hill and Chelsea, where homeowners are acutely aware of fierce competition for the best properties, half-hearted sellers are sensing the opportunity to test the waters by listing quietly off market – but are only willing to progress if a price can be achieved that makes it truly worth their while.
“We’ve seen several instances of sellers adopting a ‘take it or leave it’ position, naming prices which are up to 20% higher than most sensible buyers are willing to pay. This is leading buyers to question the integrity of the seller whether it’s even worth entering into negotiations.
“The availability of genuinely best-in-class properties looks set to remain tightly restricted throughout the summer. With buyers keen to factor in future price falls, patience is needed as negotiations become more drawn out.”
Eccles suggested prime London transaction levels are down around 30% annually and said sales that are going through are dependent on the “small contingent of needs-based sellers who are fully committed to moving for personal reasons such as a divorce, a new school place or the need for more space.”
She added: “Sales activity over the summer will largely depend on whether more genuine sellers emerge from the side lines.
“Where sellers are motivated, buyers are able to secure fair prices. We recently exchanged on a beautifully refurbished family house in Putney where the seller was relocating overseas, who therefore wanted a reliable buyer who could proceed quickly. We were able to secure the property for 10% less than the £4.2 million asking price.
“This is a classic example of the polarisation between motivated and unmotivated sellers, where in some cases buyers are being forced into competitive bid scenarios while in others, a 10% discount can be achieved on a best-in-class property.”