Leading Liverpool estate agency City Residential reports most successful selling period in more than a decade. Tony McDonough reports
One of Liverpool leading estate agents claims the city centre property sales market is booming due to low interest rates and the stamp duty holiday.
However, in his latest quarterly market update, City Residential managing director Alan Bevan warns that further COVID-19 lockdowns could be “devastating” for the fabric of the city.
Despite describing 2020 as providing “some of the most challenging times that we have experienced in 20 years in business”, Mr Bevan said the period between May and October had been the agency’s most successful selling period in more than a decade.
“If If anyone had told us that in March we would have seriously questioned their judgement,” he said. “Yet that is exactly what has happened. Although the majority of us have assumed that Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty holiday announcement is wholly responsible, we may be missing some other factors driving the demand.
“There is plenty of cash floating round the market and given the volatility of the stock market, property still appeals to many people. There are plenty of investors looking to snap up any bargains as well.
“Contrary to popular opinion there are also plenty of buyers who don’t agree that ‘city centres are finished’ like many doom merchants believe, especially when the see the value the city offers in comparison to the booming prices of the better suburbs.”
Mr Bevan added there remained good interest from most purchasers, whether these be first time buyers, new investors, or experienced investors. He explained: “Some landlords are keen to sell given the challenges of the rental market thereby offering some good quality, well established stock for sale.”
Landlords faced challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis, he said, adding this meant there was likely to be an increase in supply of property for sale which, if not matched by an increase in buyers, may ultimately cause prices to fall. And the ‘carnage’ in the short term/Airbnb is also forcing some owners to sell up – further increasing supply.
And he said: “The market continues to suffer from the fall out of the Grenfell Tower/cladding issues with many apartment blocks currently unsaleable/unmortgageable until the cladding is renewed.”
Mr Bevan said the Liverpool lettings market, although not as crazy as the sales market, has also been very difficult to predict. He added: “While we did expect the upper end of the market to suffer due to lower numbers of overseas students this year, the lower/middle end has performed ahead of expectations.
“Thankfully, the vast majority of UK students arrived, although the subsequent lockdown, move to virtual lectures and uncertainty over Christmas leave continues to weigh heavily on the market.”