Tick Tock…Time Waits for No-One

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The Word with Alex Oppenheim, Director John D Wood, writes that it is all about timing.

Alex Oppenhiem

I was recently accused by my wife of being uncharacteristically “emotional” and, as is often the case with Mrs O, she was right! It was not because one of the our children had done something which pulled at the heart strings, it was because I had just watched Andy Murray’s interview saying that he might not be able to continue playing tennis and then followed a montage of his greatest hits (pun intended). It is always very sad to see an elite sportsman or woman bow out before their time and especially when not on their own terms.

Life is all about timing which can be good or bad! Buying and selling a property is also, to a lesser or greater degree, all about timing. For example what is available to buy at the time, equally what is not available, as well as market conditions in the area of interest.

But what about timing in today’s market? It will not surprise many of this readership that Brexit comes up rather a lot in our day to day conversations and while our elected representatives continue to debate this topic, for a great many of us life continues. We all have to make important decisions which cannot be delayed indefinitely, often these are for practical and personal reasons with a property transaction central to these plans.

It might therefore come as a surprise that in 2018, the Battersea office of John D Wood & Co reported a 30% increase in the number of properties sold compared to 2017. In terms of purchasers we sold houses and flats to 18 different nationalities during that time. Such purchase decisions are not made lightly considering the current Stamp Duty Land Tax rates, especially if it is for an additional residence, not to mention the possible Capital Gains Tax when the time comes to sell.

These purchases were not made for speculation but because a larger home was required for an expanding family, a pied a terre due to a change in employment or the timing was right for a first time purchase; there are many factors which influence us when we buy or sell a property.

However, as in any market, pricing is key and the caveat remains that strong prices were and continue to be achieved for the best properties while those that are compromised or perhaps electing an optimistic pricing strategy suffer disproportionately. Time waits for no one!

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