London’s slowing property market has driven 10% more vendors in its prime central markets to dispose of their homes via off-market sales this year, according to Mayfair-based buying agent Black Brick.
The company says it considers ‘off market’ to be those which are sold directly via the vendor to the seller, via an estate agent, who will utilise their contacts to sell a property without any marketing or brochures, or those sold from buying agent to buying agent.
Some 38% of all properties sold by Black Brick during the first six months of the year were sold this way, it says, an increase of 10% compared to last year.
The company says this is because London’s super-rich are increasingly anxious about putting their homes on the open market, and particularly worried about then having to drop their asking price, as London’s prime property markets cool off dramatically.
According to Lonres, prices per square foot in London’s prime central postcodes have dipped by 11% since their 2014 peak and that vendors are waiting five months to find a buyer, on average.
And Hamptons recently reported that foreign buyers have all but deserted central London since the EU Referendum, while Countrywide yesterday revealed that the number of foreign buy-to-let landlords in London has thinned dramatically too.
But although the buyers walking through Black Bricks’ doors spend £15.85 million on average, and most ‘off market’ properties are priced at over £10 million, the company’s Managing Partner Camilla Dell says the phenomenon is spreading to the £1 million-plus market as well.
“We have analysed the psychology of those who choose to buy or sell a property off-market and we have found that our clients prefer the exclusivity that comes with purchasing a home which has not been openly marketed and which many potential purchasers will not yet have the opportunity to see,” she says.
“If a property is pre-market, which means it will put on the open market on a set date, our clients are prepared to pay full asking price to secure the property before it goes on the market.
“We recently sourced a property for an American buyer which was off-market. He loved it and it was vital for him to purchase the property before anyone else got the chance to view it so he paid full asking price.”
Black Brick also says that all of its buyers now pay with cash for properties now, compared with 46% a year ago.