A bargain-centric market has come into flower off the back of the fall in house prices.


Once spring was associated with daffodils, the smell of new paint and an upsurge in house-hunting trips. Nowadays we feed the desire to gaze upon desirable residences all year with visits to Rightmove and Zoopla. Such websites are reporting record searches, despite the lassitude that has the London market in its grip. This shows that the passion for property is perennial – and undimmed.

It also suggests that the British are hoping for a bargain (another favourite national past time). More evidence of this can be seen in the first key statistic of spring 2018 from LonRes, a business to business website. Homes in areas outside Knightsbridge and Mayfair are selling for an average of 9 per cent below their asking prices. These are the highest discounts for a decade, with sellers becoming more willing to succumb to what LonRes calls “relatively cheeky” offers.

Perhaps these opportunistic buyers are reacting to another key statistic from Hometrack, the analytics group. Hometrack contends that London will remain the urban laggard for the next three or four years, outpaced by Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. Property values in these locations may increase by as much as 30 per cent over that period. Rents in these cities are also upwardly mobile and it is this which is spurring Londoners to invest in rental homes in Manchester, despite the punitive changes to buy-to-let tax perks. Rental yields of 7 per cent are available in this city which softens some of the pain of the changes to the landlord tax regime.

Hometrack does not, however, foresee that these cities will mimic the performance of London between 2009 and 2014. The capital’s heady ascent in that era was fuelled by international money. Moreover, Hometrack still expects that growth of 1.6 per cent in London, partly because transaction numbers are to stay low. The “relatively cheeky” offer has no guarantee of success because so many homeowners here in Barnes, Richmond and Twickenham have no urgent debt-driven need to move since they sit on equity of an average of 50 per cent of their property’s value. This is another key number.

As result, you may not see too many For Sale signs down your avenue. But one rite of spring is enduring: getting the decorators in or trying to achieve a professional result yourself. The top interior trend of 2018 is two-tone paint: hugely hip navy and another blue on the same wall. Too challenging? Another shade is millennial pink, a pale pink which is said to make not only a room, but also the people in it look prettier. Grey retains its sway, with a grey-green hue set to be the front door paint with top kerb appeal in 2018. One RiverTribe neighbourhood resident is said to have matched her door to her favourite grey nail polish. See if you can spot it….