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TBS in The Telegraph – Inside the hidden world of property sold off-market and why more are selling ‘under the counter’

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
07 Jan 2021  |   Jonathan Bramwell

During the pandemic off market sales have gained momentum even further – those selling top end homes want qualified buyers through the door and are less likely to want mass viewings due to the threat of Covid.  In the first nine months of 2020 8% of all sales across the country, and 15% in London, have been carried out off-market, a total of just over 46,000 deals. To get the absolute most out of the off market world hiring an experienced buying agent is vital.

Jonathan Bramwell, Head of The Buying Solution, says “Our off market transactions for the year in the country as a whole is 64%, so not too dissimilar to last year but where there has been a significant shift is in the counties which have seen the most interest from buyers since lockdown began. The standouts are the Cotswolds; 88% off market compared to 55% last year. At over £5m there has been even more of a shift as 100% off market since March compared to 60% last year.  We have also seen a rise from 50% in Wiltshire/Dorset area to over 65% following the increased interest in these areas as buyers are prepared to travel further from London.

The shift in positive market conditions, with demand for quality country homes outstripping supply, has meant we have had to be really proactive on searching out opportunities for clients and a number of our off market deals have been through targeting houses that were withdrawn from the market in the last few years where the owners were seeking optimistic prices, but with the shift in prices brought about by demand their expectations, were now justifiable.

Off market can however mean overpriced and some properties can be 20-30% above their realistic prices.  Premiums are fully justifiable for best in class but we have seen a number of properties selling for prices that should not really have been paid as buyers are unlikely to have been aware of their downsides as they have been rushing to buy without researching areas fully.  For those properties we have acquired on market we are seeing average savings of over 5% on asking price and most of these have been in the less competitive parts of the country market place.

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