Monday, October 29, 2007

end-of-October update

So its coming to the end of October, and I think its fair to say that the past 2 months have been a complete washout.

Dont get me wrong, some properties are selling so long as the price is realistic (c20% below last years boom price). Nonetheless, even at those levels its certainly not guaranteed.
Buyers are simply not there and Banks have stopped throwing the cash about. Fall-throughs are endemic especially if the property is involved in a chain (which most second hand houses are). Having to go sale agreed 3 or 4 times on the same property is normal.

Given the drop in prices and the increases in rent, yields have risen close to c4% - yet still no investors have surfaced. All appear to be sitting tight.

Word from new-home sales are even worse. Given that FTBs have gone AWOL, and the fact that new builds are primarily targeted at this group, this sector is going through a catastophic slump. Developers I have spoken to, and who have been in the business for decades, have described current market conditions as similar to the UK in the 80s. The only building going on relates to the completion of current projects i.e. it would be too costly to stop. Where possible, all new projects have been put on ice ... then in the deep freeze ... then sent packing to the north pole. Literally all residential starts have ceased.

Ominously, non-food retail building has slowed dramaticially too.
Only sector holding up is commercial.

General consensus among my professional developer and investor clients is that the market wont turn for at least another year and a half. Truth is, of course, nobody knows.
From an estate agents prospective a short sharp shock is required as the quicker it happens, the sooner its over. Currently, thats the best we can hope for.

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