“Surveyors continue to be cautious when valuing properties.” says David Lee, Head of Sales at Pastor Real Estate.
“Unless instructed independently by the purchaser or seller, a residential chartered surveyor is likely to be working on behalf of a mortgage lender or other financial institution. Surveyors who sit on a lenders “panel” of surveyors are therefore obliged to obtain recent comparable sales evidence (i.e. properties that have completed within the last 3 months) in order to justify their pricing decision.
Many valuers are struggling to find recent sales evidence in certain areas (due to reduced transaction levels) in order to compare values, which is making it more difficult to accurately calculate prices (certainly more so than in previous years).
Many surveyors are somewhat downcast about the general market conditions, whilst others are more positive, depending upon their own personal experiences and area of expertise. Ultimately surveyors must try and make an informed judgement on value, often no easy task. They must also protect their own interests and ensure they take responsibility for their decision. It is for this reason why many surveyors are airing on the side of caution when it comes to residential property valuations.
Sellers’ agents should try and gather recent sales evidence to help support their clients property valuations whenever possible. This could make or break a surveyors opinion. Ultimately, surveyors are chartered independent experts who will look at a variety of sources to come up with their own decision, but having additional information to present on the day of the inspection can only be seen as a positive step.
Some purchasers feel they may need to adjust their offer price following the results of surveys and building inspections. However, it is still quite uncommon to find purchasers reducing their offers on the day of exchange. The practice of “gazundering” does exist but there are few sellers willing to accept reduced offers, unless there is some form of justification. Overall, the market in Mayfair remains highly price sensitive, but given the nature of the area, very few clients are under any pressure to sell, due in part to exceptionally low holding costs and record low borrowing rates.”
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