Why buying off-market strengthens your hand in a competitive market

Properties sold outside the M25 circle now account for more than half of the UK’s off-market sales, according to new research published by city-based estate agents Hamptons.

Every year, an estimated 100,000 homes are purchased without being publicly marketed as vendors seek to avoid the disruption and intrusion of putting their house on the open market.

Traditionally, London has been the UK’s hotbed for off-market sales owing to the capital’s typically higher price tags and its volume of luxury properties where space is at a premium.

But a noticeable shift in buying habits, prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, is reversing this trend. So, why is it more people are choosing to buy off-market ‘in the sticks’? And how can buying off-market strengthen your hand when competition is high?

We explore this and look at the key trends in our latest blog.

Off-market demand

Research by Hamptons revealed 56% of off-market sales completed in 2022 were done outside the capital. That’s an estimated 55,000 homes.

More significantly, identical research in 2015 confirmed off-market property sales outside of London accounted for just 45% of off-market transactions.

But why the increase?

It’s been well documented the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a surge of property sales as buyers’ demand for space increased while families took advantage of the Government’s stamp duty holiday.

This coupled with flexible working patterns and record-low interest rates created the perfect excuse for people to up sticks to rural parts of the country.

Why off-market?

Today, approximately one in 10 homes sold in the UK are not openly advertised.

For vendors, selling a house off-market eliminates communication with non-serious buyers. Only those who genuinely like the look of it get to walk through the door. The process is normally quicker and the asking price is kept out of the public eye.

For buyers, advantages of buying off-market include:

  • Exclusivity – very few people get access to off-market houses.
  • Fewer competitors can make the negotiation easier.
  • Less chance of “gazumping”

Beating the competition

The top end of Oxfordshire’s property market remains competitive.

Competition means it is essential for buyers to stand out from the crowd by positioning themselves as the people to sell to. By purchasing an off-market home, you can:

Avoid a bidding war

Getting access to off-market houses isn’t easy. Whether you are doing it via an agent or have had a response from a letter drop, there will be fewer potential buyers involved. This should prevent another party bidding the price up. But, be warned, the vendor might want a premium for the opportunity!

Establish a connection

The more you get to know the seller and their agent, the more they get to know you – and the easier it becomes to reach an agreement. Are they looking for a quick move, for example? And can you help them fulfil this?

Position yourself as a serious buyer

Sellers need confident, strong, buyers that can fulfil the deal. If you are a cash buyer or are chain free and can move quickly, then promote this. Give the seller every reason to believe you are the right person to take on this property and you’re more likely to secure a good deal.

Find your dream home

Husband and wife Astrid and David Gibbon waited decades to purchase their first home in Oxfordshire having moved to the area in the 1990s.

They were even rejected on a property when offering 8% over its asking price – a blow which ultimately led to them enlisting the support of a buying agent.

Now happily settled in Oxford, the couple are using their experience of accessing off-market properties to encourage more buyers to consider working with a buying agent to find their dream home.

“We feel like using a buying agent should be part of the process of buying a home,” said Astrid. “We agreed to place an offer on a home which we would never have found without Oxford Property Consulting’s support.

“They located the house, helped with negotiation and kept the sale on track when things could’ve fallen through. We’ve built a positive relationship with the seller since and that’s testament to our positive buying experience.”

Learn more today!

If you’re looking to source your dream home or make a considered investment in the Oxfordshire property market in 2023, why not drop our friendly team an email today?

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