Will a falling market affect unique home prices, or are they immune?
You can’t move right now for predictions about how far property prices will fall in 2023. With all the different forecasts, you could be forgiven for thinking that nobody actually knows.
Of course, it’s easy territory. We Brits love property, and we’re proud of our passion.
- We love making homes.
- We love the security and comfort of owning them.
- We love improving and reimagining them.
- We love creating future financial security for ourselves and our families.
We’re also just a little bit obsessed with prices. “They can’t go any higher”, people say. But they do. And in every wobble, correction and even crash, prices have returned to their previous levels and kept on going like a boy racer at a red light.
Ultimately, predicting the market is nothing more than pretending to know what will happen. That’s why think tanks and commentators are forever revising their predictions as – surprise surprise! – the future doesn’t do exactly what they said it would.
Was that a rant? It might have been a small one. Sorry.
So what does this mean for you if you own a unique home? Can you sell? Should you sell? Is it worth it to sell? Let’s take a look.
The patterns of rising and falling markets
Whenever prices increase, buyers become less demanding and do whatever it takes to get a home. They’re forced to queue up in droves, lower their sights and settle for a cheaper location, a smaller space, or more renovations than they’d prefer.
This goes into complete reverse when prices fall.
As better homes and locations become more affordable, there’s a rush to quality and less reason to buy anything unremarkable. Existing homeowners are often the first to spot the opportunity to trade up for less as they witness the cash gap between their selling price and buying price shrink.
So it’s not true to say that everyone stops buying, but neither is it true that the only people who move when prices fall are those who absolutely need to. Because there are also opportunists.
You’ll find plenty to read about buyer scarcity in the media, but not every buyer is registered with an estate agent. Many never are and, from our experience, almost anyone is open to buying if the right thing comes along.
Picture the scene: there they are, innocently reading the weekend paper over a coffee and croissant from their penthouse wharf on the Thames, when something unexpectedly catches their eye in the property section. Before they know it, they’re buying a watermill in Surrey, a cottage on the Sussex coast, or a farmhouse in Dorset.
For many people, falling prices have been the catalyst for making their home-owning dreams come true. It’s just a matter of reaching them.
What protects unique home prices?
We won’t pretend that one-of-a-kind homes are entirely unaffected by the conventional property market. That would be delusional. But unique home prices have at least some protection against a falling market because they’re usually a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. People just don’t sell them very often, which makes them infinitely more exciting: a buyer can’t simply choose a similar one next door, because it probably won’t exist.
However, when prices aren’t on the rise, it’s up to estate agents to make the market, instead of blaming it. By presenting homes as an opportunity, rather than simply ‘for sale’, agents can motivate hesitant buyers or create new ones from people who weren’t even looking.
How can they do that? Well, they need to look beyond advertising on Rightmove and waiting for the phone to ring. In many cases, it won’t.
We’ve written before about homes on our website generating as many as four times the amount of enquiries as their Rightmove listings. It’s not just a coincidence; it’s because we keep looking for other ways to promote them.
Some of the places we attract buyers from unconventional sources include:
- talking to the press and generating stories to give homes a bigger profile beyond those who are already looking.
- brainstorming about a home’s perfect buyer, then calling up contacts, often from years back, to present an opportunity to them
- building a wider audience through social media, video content and email newsletters
- using blogs to turn the stories of homes into articles that reach beyond existing followings and deeper into the world
In short, agents need to reach the unreachable, the unengaged and even the uninterested. You’d be astonished how many people we meet who had no intention of buying a home until they stumbled upon something we were marketing.
So while unique home prices aren’t entirely immune to a falling market, they often benefit the most. Their in-built protection against the biggest falls makes it easier to trade up more profitably, while their very nature means they retain a bigger audience than conventional property.
What stage are you at right now?
Would you like to know whether the value of your unique home has been affected by the current market? Are you unsure if now is the right time to move, or if you’d be wise to wait a while? Or would you simply like to know what the market’s like for a home like yours?
Whatever you’re thinking, we’re here to help you make the best decision for you. Call us on 020 8187 4599 or drop us an email for a chat with one of the team.