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Latest London Property News – November 2016

Market Overview

Prime Central London property prices fell by 0.4% in October, with an overall annual decline in prices to 2.3%. On the bright side, while prices may be falling, there is early evidence of increased demand from buyers.Sales volumes between £2m to £5m, for example, which is a bracket that has been hit relatively hard by previous stamp duty reform, were higher in October than in any month this year. The only exception to this was in March as transactions spiked ahead of the introduction of the additional rate of stamp duty in April for second homes. This increase in activity is very encouraging and demonstrates how quickly market sentiment can change. The market seems to have turned a corner, for now, as both buyers and sellers commit to deals as concern about the potential negative impact of Brexit is reduced, at least for now in the shorter term.

The triggering of Article 50 by the end of next March – which will formally start the UK’s exit procedure from the EU – could affect the market in two ways. It is possible it will create further turbulence and slow the market again, however it could lead to a further increase in activity over the next six months if investors take the view that the country’s economic prospects might take a turn for the worse.
Latest London Property News – November 2016

Autumn Statement

£3.15 billion is being set aside for 90,000 new houses in London. Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the investment, the highest ever secured for housing by City Hall, which will be used for housing tenures, including those with below-market rents for low-income Londoners and homes with rents set at no more than a third of average local income for middle-income earners. There will also be more shared-ownership homes to help those who want to buy but can’t afford to on the open market. £1.4 billion is being set aside to deliver 40,000 affordable homes. The issue surrounding first-time buyers trying to save for deposits is widely recognised and, while any help is welcome, property experts are arguing that this scheme doesn’t go far enough as many more homes are needed. Letting agents’ fees to be banned in England and Wales “as soon as possible”. Potentially good news for renters who are required to pay high administrative fees, including charges for printing tenancy agreements. However, letting agents expect the loss of income will simply be passed on in higher costs for landlords, who will in turn pass it on to tenants in the form of higher rents. However, Stephen Smith, director, Legal & General Housing Partnerships, stats: “The implementation of this policy in Scotland in 2012 does not seem to have had a negative impact either on rents or on the availability of private rented accommodation.” A £2.3 billion housing infrastructure fund is being launched. The aim is to help provide 100,000 new homes in high-demand areas, however there is little information on what is actually going to be delivered and the difference it will make. There was no reversal of stamp duty charges for second homes or on cuts to mortgage tax relief, as hoped by landlords. There has been a decrease in the number of property investors in the market since the increased stamp duty hike in March. Potentially good for first time buyers, although bad news due to lack of supply in the rental market.
Autumn Statement

Donald Trump

According to property portal and data provider Zoopla, traffic from the US was 45.3 per cent higher than on average for the past 30 days on 9 November, and 25.5 per cent higher than the average for the past six months. It is still too early to ascertain whether there has been an increase in demand from buyers from the states, however London is certainly a desirable option should buyers take offence to Donald Trump. It is estimated that approximately 6 per cent of buyers in the Prime Central London market were from the US in Q3 this year. We can expect investors from the US to look for safe havens to invest in to tangible assets, resulting in increased investment in Prime Central London areas such as: Chelsea, Kensington, Holland Park and St John’s Wood, which have long been favoured by Americans. Numbers are likely to grow regardless of Donald Trump.
Trump Tower
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