Q.Dear Russell, I have heard that London property stock levels are still low. Will this change?

A.You would normally expect stock levels to be higher in late September than they currently are but people have been put off selling by low rates. For example, in Kensington & Chelsea you get a much better return by holding on to your property. For very prime properties, people are prepared to pay over the odds but there are plenty of houses where people need to free up the capital and are prepared to sell for a good price. They are more open to offers, particularly if they need to sell quickly. Prospective buyers should see the asking price as merely an asking price. You can start haggling from there and in this climate, there is certainly room to negotiate. For stock levels to improve, you would need to see interest rates going up.

Q.Dear Russell, with such high rental demand, is now a good time to buy-to-let?

A.Everybody I talk to, whether it is in Hammersmith, Kensington & Chelsea or in Fulham, the common theme is that there is a real shortage of good rental properties. At the same time, there is an increase in demand so people are fighting over the best on offer. Consequently, people are prepared to pay more for high quality rental properties.
I think it is a good time to invest but you do have to buy somewhere where the figures make sense so don’t rush into anything. You should be looking for a minimum rental yield of 4.5 per cent and preferably above 5 per cent. This requires doing your research about what similar properties in the area have rented out for.

Russell Hunt is managing director of Property Hunt, a search agent for London and the Home Counties.