What’s really going on in the Kensington & Chelsea property market?

Michael Wilson, Mountgrange Heritage

By Michael Wilson, Director – Head of Sales

Have you seen the headlines? No wonder we’re all confused.

‘UK house prices on the brink of a massive 40% collapse’

‘Property prices will increase by 20.4% between 2020 and 2024’ 

To say it’s been a funny old year would be a bit of an understatement. Wherever you live in the UK, it’s been virtually impossible to get a grip on reality. Stay in, go out, go to work, don’t go to work; it’s been a rollercoaster ride for all of us.

And putting the serious health issues aside, whenever the economy is in a state of uncertainty (let’s call it blind panic in this case), the property market tends to follow suit.

The house price rumour mill has gone into overdrive and it’s difficult not to get caught up in it.

We’d definitely resist the temptation to comment on the UK property market as a whole, but one thing we know an awful lot about is our part of London.

Myth-busting the Kensington & Chelsea property market

We’ve been buying, selling, letting and managing properties in Kensington & Chelsea for decades so we’re in a pretty good position to de-bunk a few myths that are flying around at the moment.

Myth 1. Since COVID came to town, people are leaving London in droves.

No. Absolutely not. The media love to spread bad news, and if they can’t find it in solid facts, you can bet they’ll be making it up, based on hearsay.

If anything, we’ve seen that some people are sitting tight. But again, don’t panic – this is not a trend. Movement in and out of the area is cyclical and ever-changing. 

Over the last few months we’ve actually seen a big uptick in people looking at properties online. Plenty of larger properties have come on the market, with owners tending to keep hold of smaller properties. But again, this shouldn’t ring any alarm bells, because we’ve seen a big demand from buyers for larger properties in the area.

Myth 2. Working from home has stifled the market.

Nonsense. The property market in Kensington & Chelsea is just as buoyant as it ever was. Lots of people are moving in and out of the area for lots of different reasons. Families expand, children leave the nest… People need to upsize or downsize, whatever else is going on in the wider economy. We have seen, and continue to see, lots of sales and lettings activity in the area. The market is still very active – don’t believe the headlines.

Myth 3. Prices have been decimated by the pandemic.

Let’s put this one to bed right now. The statistics that you see quoted in the newspapers can’t be relied on. Journalists base their figures on Land Registry data, which can be anywhere between six and 12 months out of date.

We know Kensington & Chelsea better than most, and over the last 12 months we’ve witnessed a very steady housing market. There is no evidence, as far as we can see, that house prices in this area are set for either a slump or huge increase.

Even if they were accurate, figures quoted for the whole of the UK bear little relevance to what’s happening in Kensington & Chelsea. Market prices are basically the same now as they were before the pandemic.

One really positive trend we have noticed, is that for the first time in a long time, buyers and sellers are looking for a middle ground. There seems to be a lot more willingness to give and take, which feels like a really healthy place to be.

Myth 4. People are now only interested in properties with an outdoor space.

For many this is true, but to call it a symptom of COVID and the lockdown rules, is just sensationalism.

Yes, people love having their own gardens, balconies or roof terraces. They always have and they always will. But of course, outside space comes at a premium and doesn’t suit everyone’s pocket, or lifestyle for that matter. 

So if you’re buying, selling or thinking of renting in Kensington & Chelsea, now is as good a time as ever. The market is fluid and COVID or no COVID, it’s still a fantastic place to live.

If you want to know more, please call our team on 020 7221 2277.

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