Principally Speaking - November Market Comment

Tony Jamieson of Clarke Gammon Wellers offers some words of advice to those selling property over the coming months.

Standing on principle can be an expensive position to adopt when buying and selling property. In a level or falling market hanging out for a high price because - in one's own view - it is worth it can often backfire, because a property which is too highly priced can look out of step with the rest of the market. Can sellers really know what their properties will fetch? Surely they are worth what others will pay for them.

Property purchase and sale is seldom an end in itself. It usually forms part of a life-changing event such as gaining independence, committing to a partner, starting a family or reaching retirement. These events are bigger than any property in the scheme of things. So standing on principle can sometimes stand in the way of moving on.

We have just had two fairly good years of rising prices. We have got used to this. But all good things come to an end - until the next time.

Despite the lowest interest rates and some of the best mortgage deals in living memory the property market is showing signs of cooling. Some prices set in the spirit of acceptable optimism earlier in the year are beginning to look decidedly over-inflated now. And, as any skilled negotiator will tell you, one should always open realistically.

A general election is on its way, the European economy again looks worrisome and Christmas is round the corner. If you have any big personal or family events which involve property purchase or sale now is the time to be reasonable about your expectations. Listen to buyers, listen to the market and listen to your experienced estate agent. Listen to your heart - and not your wallet. Wallets make poor property advisors. Good estate agents make better ones.