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Having reached the end of the first quarter of 2017, we can begin to notice some trends for the year and compare these to market activity in the same period of last year.

In sales, the amount of applicants registering to buy is at a strong level, and with this comes a healthy number of viewings. This is good news for local sellers, as they can be sure that their property is exposed to as many potential suitors as possible. In turn, this gives sellers confidence that the price they achieve is fair and just. Correctly priced properties are going under offer soon after their launch, whilst a property with a price above its perceived value will remain for sale for some time, as buyers only rush to view good value property.

It was at this time last year that property with good rental potential, such as one and two bedroom new build apartments and modest family homes, were being snapped up by investors at prices which pleased sellers. As ever, a flurry of demand, this time prompted by the impending change in stamp duty rates for owners of multiple homes, inevitably elevated prices slightly for properties that were both a sound investment and attractively priced.

At the end of the first quarter in 2016, buyers who had bought investment properties before the stamp duty change were then keen to put them on the rental market to maintain their cash flow. This caused a relative flood of stock to the West London lettings market and caused rents to dip slightly. A year on, many of these properties are up for rent again, and a similar imbalance of increased supply versus lesser demand means that prospective tenants are savvy to landlords who are demanding rental prices that do not represent as good value compared to other properties. The quality of tenants who have registered over the last three months has been impressive, giving landlords peace of mind that their property will be in good hands during the tenancy.

Landlords who launch their properties with ambitious prices and fail to find a tenant promptly often take the decision to relaunch with a different agent at a more realistic price. It is after this second entry to the market that properties are likely to go under offer quickly, as they appear a more enticing prospect to tenants than the more expensive properties that, in fact, rarely find tenants at that price.

Regardless of the time of year or the economic and political climate, buyers and tenants recognise good value and will perennially gravitate towards properties that offer more space, quality, character or convenience for their money. Sellers and landlords should, therefore, ensure that their properties are priced sensibly to avoid their property remaining on the market whilst others are swiftly sold and let.

Average marketing prices for February (based on Zoopla data)

Sales 1 Bed 2 Bed 3 Bed 4 Bed 5 Bed
Chiswick £ 444,218 (-2%) £ 682,430 (+1%) £ 1,061,942 (+3%) £ 1,453,032 (-1%) £ 2,030,725 (+4%)
Ealing £ 464,533 (+1%) £ 600,719 (+1%) £ 809,493 (-) £ 1,083,503 (-2%) £ 1,589,678 (+1%)
Brentford £ 467,340 (+2%) £ 616,334 (-3%) £ 813,993 (-) £ 1,006,075 (-5%) N/A
Hammersmith £ 616,211 (-3%) £ 1,039,240 (-) £ 1,715,922 (+4%) £ 1,523,958 (+4%) £ 2,996,495 (+3%)
Lettings (pcm) 1 Bed 2 Bed 3 Bed 4 Bed 5 Bed
Chiswick £ 1,629 (-) £ 2,099 (-3%) £ 2,936 (+1%) £ 4,044 (+1%) £ 4,952 (+4%)
Ealing £ 1,349 (+1%) £ 1,788 (-1%) £ 2,742 (+5%) £ 2,825 (-3%) £ 4,604 (+4%)
Brentford £ 1,477 (+2%) £ 2,062 (+1%) £ 2,853 (-1%) £ 2,082 (-9%) £ 3,101 (+5%)
Hammersmith £ 1,925 (+22%) £ 2,693 (+13%) £ 3,770 (-2%) £ 3,792 (-7%) £ 4,326 (-1%)