A shortage of £1m property = an opportunity for sellers

2015 has already proved very active and exciting, with sales agreed on most of the properties we’ve marketed. That’s great news, but the stock isn’t being replenished fast enough and, particularly around the £1m mark, there’s very little to go round.

This is an ever-recurring story with London property, in regular high street agency as well as our own niche market. Obviously with lofts, warehouse apartments, school conversions and other unique living spaces we are dealing in a much smaller gene pool of the capital’s primarily Victorian, Edwardian and 1930s housing stock, but we’re also dealing with a smaller number of buyers. Most people buy a fairly conventional space, whether new build or period, and while cutting-edge design and architecture are ever on the rise, they still form a small part of the market.

One of the main problems is that people living in the types of property we sell, are often those who either don’t wish to start a family, or already have one where the children have grown up and flown the nest. So there’s not so much need to keep moving on as the needs of their family increase or change. Our clients tend to move for more, dare we say it, selfish reasons: often they move abroad for a work or other opportunity, and often that is only temporary. So they keep their property and rent it out, starving the sales market of a valuable listing. In fact, many of the reasons people leave their £1m urban home are short-term and, with a reasonable disposable income and equal love for their contemporary living masterpiece, they tend to hold onto their asset.

So how do we tempt and entice people into selling the home they love? What can we do to have them feel the very best course of action is to sell right now?

The one set of people who would do well to consider selling now are those holding onto their property purely for capital gain. We wrote in an earlier Unique Monthly Musings (late in 2014) that values had actually come down since their Spring 2014 peak, settling into a level at about 10% less than that period’s somewhat crazy goings on. That still holds true today and the view is that 2015 will see prices remain fairly static.

HOWEVER! The one thing that will achieve a higher price when prices are static is a lack of availability, particularly in a niche market like ours. A temporary willingness among the ultra-keen buyers to secure a property no matter what, could net you a percent or two over the going rate. Given the long-term holding nature of the clientele for unique living spaces in London, buyers in this market will take a view in a way that buyers of regular suburban homes often don’t. And with an often rather high deposit level, buyers in our marketplace are not always totally dependent on the valuation of the mortgage lender to match up exactly to the price agreed.

Let’s hope that does the trick.


Flipping the design of a traditional house quite literally on its head, this two bedroom mews house takes the perfectly logical step of giving the entire first floor over to a bright and spacious open plan living area, and putting the bedrooms downstairs where the light is more subdued.

Putney living room

The house is part of a gated mews directly opposite beautiful and often overlooked Wandsworth Park that sits on the banks of the river Thames and is in great one of London’s most beautiful areas of public open space with wonderful wooded areas, swathes of open greenery and a generally laid back, sophisticated air. Well worth a visit, whether or not you’re looking for property in the neck of the woods.

Back at the house, the main living space extends to the size of a average one bedroom apartment (over 500 sq ft) – and is lifted yet further with a vaulted ceiling that takes the space to extended heights and adds a welcome lofty quality. The staircase comes straight up into the corner of the room and is contained within a balustrade of clear glass sheets, while natural light comes from two large skylights in the roof and a set of French doors that open onto a Juliet balcony. Sociability is helped by a large breakfast bar & cooking island that means you can talk to your friends while whipping up a culinary storm.

Downstairs, the master bedroom has a beautiful ensuite with a fantastic freestanding contemporary bath and fittings from names including zzz…. The second bedroom is also a double and has its own washroom. Outside there’s an area that can double as a patio and parking, big enough for the cars depending on your own choice of usage split.

Putney is one of London’s most established riverside neighbourhoods with a vibrant high street and great waterside scene. The choice of places to eat, drink, shop and otherwise entertain yourself is both eclectic and extreme, with cinemas and theatres offering a cultural fix alongside the culinary and retail therapy on offer.

The house is for sale at £899,995