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Can Brentford Digest the Huge Looming Supply of Flats?

Some estate agents in Brentford are reporting a busy start to the year despite official data suggesting that the market has been quiet.

Just 13 sales have been reported by the Land Registry in the TW8 postcode area so far this year however it is understood that Covid relating working restrictions have meant that transactions are being published very slowly.

Ben Madden of Brentford based estate agent Thorgills believes that 2021 has begun on an upbeat note. He says, “Brentford, and the wider West London housing market, thankfully have behaved in something of a traditional manner, with the arrival of Spring. The easing of restrictions and the vaccine roll out, partnered with the continued positivity reported by national media, has seen a somewhat busy period throughout the first few months of the year.

“Looking at our own business for some context, we have had four consecutive months of breaking sales records in the Brentford area, placing more properties under offer each month. We have in fact sold more than £23.85 million worth of properties in TW8 so far this year, and so whilst we appreciate that Brentford is still not as buoyant a market as the more rural areas of the UK, we believe this represents a very positive start to 2021.”

Other agents are reporting a less active start to the year and blame the late announcement of the extension of the Stamp Duty holiday, saying say that if the government had announced its intention earlier the tax break would have had far more effect.

There is some concern that the local market might have some trouble digesting the huge number of flats that are set to be built in the area.

Ballymore’s Brentford project continues to progress and the building’s at EcoWorld development around the Brentford Community Stadium have gone up very quickly. More developments are in the pipeline with the recent announcement of green light for the massive scheme at the Tesco and Homebase sites by Gillette Corner and the two projects associated with the relocation of the Watermans.

One local agent said, “The main problem is that a lack of an active local secondary market makes it quite difficult to price all these new units. There is plenty of equivalent stock already built in the area which if it was turning over would provide a good guide to how much people should pay. However, at the moment there are too few transactions and this will discourage many potential buyers.

“The sheer scale of the supply would be hard to digest at the best of times but right now there will need to be significant incentives both from the developers and the government to shift all these units. High quality units near the river and the canal will always sell, but for anything in a secondary location the buyer needs to be cautious. My advice would be bargain hard – the sale price won’t be cut but the chances are you will get significant concessions such as free appliances or professional fees covered if you ask.”

On the other hand Mr Madden points out that Rightmove shows 65 new properties have been listed for sale in Brentford in the last 14 days.

He adds, “The property portal can be a bit of a minefield, due to the number of new build sites sprouting up locally and distorting the data, but there are a significant number of owner occupier and second hand properties now being launched for sale, which if priced correctly are being placed under offer quickly.

“A further sign of the optimism bigger organisations are placing on Brentford, may be that as we understand it, Ballymore have opened an estate agency under the guise of Johns and Co, on the High Street. Whilst we are Brentford leading estate agency, an organisation as large as Ballymore betting on our town and creating positive competition to serve the community, must be seen as a good thing. If you are thinking about selling your home, now really is the time to explore the market.“

Johns and Co says it under the management of a former sales director of the Ballymore Group but not owned by it.

Where do I live? Brentford TW8 postcodes are divided into three sectors, TW8 0xx, TW8 8xx and TW8 9xx. Broadly speaking, TW8 0xx covers areas east of Boston Manor Road, TW8 8xx goes west of Boston Manor Road, whilst TW8 9xx covers the areas to the north of the A4.

Source: Land Registry

Nationally the property market seems to have experienced a bounce in April after the announcement of the stamp duty holiday extension reaching a new record high average price of £238,831.

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said, “Annual house price growth accelerated to 7.1% in April, only slightly below the peak of 7.3% recorded in December and up from 5.7% in March. In month-on-month terms, house prices rose by 2.1% in April, after taking account of seasonal effects, the biggest month rise since February 2004.

“Just as expectations of the end of the stamp duty holiday led to a slowdown in house price growth in March, so the extension of the stamp duty holiday in the Budget prompted
a reacceleration in April.

“However, our research suggests that while the stamp duty holiday is impacting the timing of housing transactions, for most people it is not the key motivating factor prompting them to move in the first place. For example, amongst homeowners surveyed at the end of April
that were either moving home or considering a move, three quarters said this would have been the case even if the stamp duty holiday had not been extended.”

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