‘Competitive bidding returns to Prime Central London’

Gazumping and bidding wars are back as a combination of pent-up demand, currency advantage and realistic pricing boosts transaction levels, notes top buying agency

Bidding wars are once again breaking out in Prime Central London as activity levels pick up, reports Camilla Dell, but only when sellers get their pricing spot on…

In the first quarter of 2017, we have seen activity in the Prime London residential market pick-up significantly, particularly at the upper end, which has been subdued for some time. We are also seeing a return of competitive bidding across the spectrum, particularly on property that is priced correctly and in line with the current market. For example, a flat in Queen’s Park came on the market for £750,000. There were other flats in the area of the same size but these were over-priced, so attracted little interest. With a realistic price, the flat sold within four days for £785,000 – there were four competitive bidders, all of whom offered over the asking price.

Not only is some property attracting competition, but we have also seen a return of gazumping. We recently secured a flat in Canary Wharf for a client at £1.48m, our initial offer of £1.44m was accepted but we were gazumped by another buyer who offered £1.5m. Luckily, we managed to re-agree the sale at the original asking price as our client was a cash buyer.

There were four competitive bidders, all of whom offered over the asking price  

It can be very difficult for buyers to know where the value lies especially in new developments were there can be a wide range of asking prices. To understand the market, a buyer needs to do their research. Understanding where and how much property has sold for can help but with new builds, prices do not get entered onto the Land Registry database until the project is complete. Therefore, buyers need to be very cautious, or take advice about where such properties should be priced.

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