London agent warns: We could be on verge of another property market crash

An agent has warned that the London market could be on the verge of collapse, with the rest of the UK set to follow.

Robert Nichols, managing director of Portico – an agent which says it does not mind going against the grain and will not talk the market up – says history looks like repeating itself.

He says that current market conditions echo those of 2007.

Nichols said: “The trend that started in central London last year has now spread to 31 out of 32 London boroughs which now have significantly reduced transaction volumes.

“In fact, Westminster has already experienced a 50% reduction in transactions over the past 12 months, which is precisely the point at which prices started to tumble in the 2007 crisis.

“If London volumes continue their decline, then prices are likely to follow and history may well repeat itself.

“Where the London market leads, experience shows that the rest of the UK could follow.

“Looking at this latest research, we believe it is increasingly likely that the London market will see an imminent price correction across the board before volumes begin their recovery.”

The research, presented to a meeting this week of National Landlord Association members in London, says that central London has shown a “dramatic volume decline” with a “risk of contagion”.


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  1. surreyagent

    its just a natural correction. a stagnation of the market. less number of buyers and an overpriced market will cause the market to stutter. the quality buyers and quality stock will keep certain areas/sections of market bubbling away nicely. can see this lasting next couple of years…… doubt we have a crash on our hands yet until money stops becoming cheap…….

  2. Robert May

    London and the SE are about 23% above trend line valuation,  at some point interest rates have to rise, Mark Carney said so and we passed his indicator point 20 months ago.

    So who wants to be  sat there with theoretical negative equity  even at 80% LTV  (recent) purchase facing the possibility if interest rates rise by 1% it will double the interest element of a mortgage?


  3. Property Paddy

    OK being a bit long in the tooth I remember post crash 93/94 (yes that crash not the last one) and the London property market went through a phase of low stock volumes and therefore lower sales. OK not as severe as this particular market crisis however we saw house prices recover and overreach buyer affordability and stagnate for a while.

    So what I am saying is:

    Yes London market very over priced

    Yes market stagnation


    Market recovery based on wage inflation and willingness of banks to lend means it is just a matter of time, about 24 to 36 months domestic market should take up the slack from overseas buyers.


    could be wrong of course !

    1. Robert May

      93/94? Pah! I remember 1st August 1988 when someone turned the market off overnight and prices (relevant to me dropped) by 44%

      1. Property Paddy

        Yes a funny day that

        The phones stopped ringing.



        1. Robert May

          I learned a lot about selling from that!

  4. LandlordsandLetting

    Saying something frightening albeit silly is always a good way of attracting attention to yourself. The principal reason for the 2008 crash was grossly irresponsible real estate lending in the USA. The London and South East market is underpinned by a massive and increasing demand for flats and house to live in.

  5. smile please

    Hardly going against the grain as he puts it.

    Most agents are have trouble with stock levels and we all expect a correction in the market. An interest rate rise would be welcome. Lose a few poor agents and give us a more stable market.

  6. Richard Copus

    Fear!  Panic!  The end of the world is nigh!

    As London becomes more and more a city state so its ups and downs affect the rest of the country less.  The boom the year before last did not ripple out to the west country or many other areas of England (Wales and Scotland are even more out of the equation).  Unless there is a major slump in London, rather than a natural correction in residential property values, life will continue everywhere else with our stable markets and price increases at a sustainable level.

  7. Property Paddy

    Actually I meant the 88 to 92 crash with the post crash stagnant market in London 93/94 sorry early morning brain still starved of caffeine

    As it happens (and to re-cap on my previous remarks)

    in 93 we saw prices accelerate back to and beyond peak ’88 prices then there was a massive slowdown because there wasn’t anything for sale and when something came to market always full price and nearly always beyond buyer affordability.

    Hence the slowdown then and today we have massively overpriced London market, overseas buyers staying away, domestic market unable to afford the prices asked.

    So property crash?

    No property stagnation Yes.


    nuff said !

  8. Traditionalist

    The 88 crash is etched in many memories particularly those of us who endured it, agents and homeowners alike.  Cant remember though that prices ‘accelerated back to and beyond peak ’88’ by ’93.  I sold my London home (prime Central London) in 1998 for exactly what I bought it for 10 years earlier (and glad of it at the time).  We were selling off plan in Central London for a leading developer in 1998 and the only people who were buying, were the Irish and at knock down prices!  In1987 everyone thought the only way for property prices was up, despite us suffering the failings of the worst PM in history, they thought the same in 2006/7 and again this year.  Those agents and sellers relying on overseas buyers and the lack of stock to keep prices up and the market booming – are now seeing how indeed the market can go up, as well as down and fast! It was only 3 years ago I can remember the exchange of comments with agents on these types of forums trying to find all sorts of innovative ways in which to sell a property because the property market was so bad. When the proverbial sh** does hit the fan, we will see the demise of online agents and the spivs who have jumped on to the agency bandwagon seeing it as easy money and only experienced dedicated agents will be the ones to survive.


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