Winkworth: 'Return of commuters and overseas buyers… – Estate Agent Today

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The return of commuters and international buyers has seen buyer demand return to 2019 levels, a major London agent claims.
Dominic Agace, chief executive of Winkworth, has claimed the first couple of weeks of January 2023 have shown the market is in a very different place from the final quarter of 2022.
Speaking on the latest Property Exchange podcast, presented by property commentator and journalist Anne Ashworth, Agace said: “Internationally, China has opened up and there is a huge surge of interest. China has always been a big buyer of London property and investment in London.
“They can now travel and for the wealthy, pick up global assets. This is good news for central London which was a bit behind other markets as travel was locked down for longer.
“In the first week, we saw the number of applicants at the same level as 2019, which is the last normal year.”
Agace said the mortgage market has affected people’s affordability levels but added that pricing is already dropping.
He said: “We have stepped away from the 6.5 % level, which was stretching the stress tests that came in 2014. We’ll be seeing a more positive year than perhaps some have anticipated.”
Agace also claimed that the race for space and demand for country homes has slowed.
He said: “In terms of the country markets, it was a bit of an artificial period – there was such conviction that things had really changed forever and that people will never go back to the office. We look at the London Underground and other transport and they are busy with people going back to work. 
“The surge to the country has abated and we’re moving to a more normalised situation. Prices have grown far faster in some of these markets than they have in London and I think some of that will come off but you’ll still be well above where we were before the pandemic. It just feels that we’re finally moving on from a traumatic event and the property market is settling to a sort of long-term trend. 
“For landlords, buying for income in their retirement, you can get some fantastic returns out of London, including student rentals accommodation in university towns. The yields are far higher but your capital growth traditionally has been lower.  For people who hold property in London, it continues to compete as a global hub.” 
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