2012 - Hamptons Joins In The Pessimism

“We’re expecting the 2012 property market to be a more conservative re-run of 2011” says Hamptons International’s Marc Goldberg.

When you consider Hamptons operates very largely in the relatively affluent regions of London and southern England - so avoiding the grim price falls and low transaction rates hitting the north with such venom - Goldberg’s pessimism shows how cautious the market may well be across the entire country.

This is what Hamptons, which is now one of several top-end strands of the Countrywide empire, believes will happen next year:

- average sale prices across the UK’s mainstream market will drop 2%;
- in the south of England outside London prices will remain static;
- in London prices will rise by 1% to 4%;
- sales transaction levels across the UK to stay roughly static at circa 550,000;
- average rents will rise by 2% across southern England and up to 5% in London.

Hamptons echoes the predictions made by Knight Frank earlier this week when it says that international demand will continue to bolster prime central London prices although the price increases in the capital’s central area will moderate in 2012. Like other agents, Hamptons says country markets will show no particular movement next year.

But inside the 12 page report that it releases today are some interesting new thoughts:

“Construction starts in London have surged in 2011. These figures are propped up by pre-Olympic Games activity, but are also a reflection of the strength of demand for new build property in London. We would expect this level of supply to be curtailed next year, although the pipeline of new projects is likely to remain healthy”;

“In 2012 the private rented sector will house more people in the UK than the social rented sector for the first time ever”;

“Overseas London development project launches have typically been focussed on Hong Kong, Singapore, and to a lesser extent Kuala Lumpur. Throughout 2011 this has continued, although increasingly buyers are becoming more discerning due to the sheer volume of projects on offer. This may drive developers and agents to consider alternative markets in 2012”.

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