David Lee, Head of Sales, Pastor Real Estate
“Gazumping in Prime Central London has been very limited for a considerable amount of time. However, if a property is marketed at a low price in an attempt to increase interest with the tag ‘offers in excess of’, this tactic has been seen to generate multiple bidding in certain cases. What we have seen in some capacity is gazundering, whereby purchasers have reduced their offers on the day of exchange, mainly tactically, to secure a lower price. Few vendors are willing to accept this practice but that is not to say that it doesn’t exist. Outside of Zone 1 and 2, where prices are more affordable, gazumping is certainly more prevalent, but I would imagine this is outside of the M25 at the moment.”
Jamie Hope, Managing Director, Maskells
“Many buyers are holding back from offering on a property when the market is a little sluggish, however when one buyer offers we are finding that that will often give other buyers the confidence to take action. With vendors nervous, ‘bird in the hand’ is very much a sentiment that is being adopted, and offers that have been accepted are being treated with an element of respect and loyalty. Rather than gazumping, we are seeing more competition between buyers right up to the moment an offer is accepted.”
James Robinson, General Manager, Lurot Brand
“The true meaning of gazumping is to offer in excess of the asking price, in order to win the contract from another buyer who has started the conveyancing process. This is something which I haven’t heard of happening since the stamp duty increase deadlines over a year ago, however we are seeing the return of competitive bids on some houses for the strangest of reasons. On a market experiencing politically induced ‘discombobulation’, buyers are fearful of over paying whilst sellers don’t want to under sell, so we are witnessing what my Chairman, Antoine Lurot, calls the ‘Red Indian Phenomenon’.
Like in old westerns, buyers are like the redskins dancing around the cowboy tied to their totem pole. Each Indian is unwilling to throw the first tomahawk but once one is thrown, they all throw theirs at the hapless cowboy and this is exactly how bidding wars are starting now. Buyers register their interest on a house they want to buy, then call us weekly to enquire whether there have been any offers yet and sign off with ‘you will let me know if anyone else offers won’t you’?
So I guess the London property market is like any other, being nothing more than a battle between buyer’s and seller’s fears and greed. The irony is that these buyers use short term views to buy long term investments, which they could have bought cheaper if only they had offered before all the other Indians turned up. They won’t be told, so I can only assume they need the comfort of competition to make an offer.”