Country houses for sale

Properties at the top end immune to slowdown

Properties at the upper end and those in sought after locations have so far been largely immune to the slowdown hitting the rest of the housing market.

These homes continue to sell quickly, according to the latest London View report from agents Cluttons (, and frequently, they are going to best bids.

Charlie Noel-Buxton, head of sales at Cluttons’ Chelsea office says, ‘Top end properties that have the best address, trophy or rarity factor are impervious to the slowdown. Money is no object for buyers who still want to live in the best places and will pay whatever it costs to get that property.’

Prime central London house prices have increased marginally in the first quarter of this year by just 0.1%, with growth falling to 6% from 13.1% in the last quarter of 2007.

Cluttons also suggests that what was a sellers’ market six months ago has been firmly replaced by a buyers’ market.

With the majority of vendors content to wait until they achieve the asking price, and buyers increasingly price sensitive and only likely to purchase a home if they believe they are getting a fair price, the result is reduced transaction volumes, rather than prices, adds Mr Noel-Buxton.

In addition, the report shows rental values on the lettings side have dropped from 11.6% at the end of last year to 7% in the first quarter of this year.

Flats are outperforming houses due to growing affordability problems experience by potential tenants.

The balance of power in the lettings market has shifted now towards tenants, says the study.