The UK property market appears to be in a sombre mood. Home prices changed little, if any, across the country though some areas such as the east Midlands and East Anglia witnessed a surge while London experienced the opposite. Prices in the capital fell 3.2% between January and March, marking the biggest annual drop since 2011.
The overall market seems muted for the moment over Brexit and potential hikes in interest rates, which are still at attractively rock-bottom levels. The increase in stamp duty is another reason cited by property surveyors and estate agents in London.
This atmosphere is surprising for London, a coveted destination for home buyers and renters drawn to the city’s unique charm and special significance to Europe. Historically, the capital’s real estate story has revolved around a massive demand for homes and rising house prices. Despite these challenges, the enthusiasm for properties to rent in Marylebone, Soho, Covent Garden, Bloomsbury, King’s Cross and other desirable neighbourhoods have seldom waned. If anything, buyers, renters and investors have initiated quick transactions with their London estate agents and sealed deals without delay.
Analysts believe that eliminating stamp duty and replacing it with council tax that accurately rather than arbitrarily reflects the true value of properties, could restore price balance. It could be encouraging for homeowners, many of whom are choosing to wait and watch instead of accepting lower prices for their properties. More properties would translate into better choice for home buyers, particularly those seeking exclusive, high-end homes in the central part of the city.
A slowing London housing market is still attractive to buyers and renters who cannot stretch their wait. Unless you’re priced out entirely, in which case London was never really an ideal city to begin with, you could still choose from a number of luxury flats at prime locations.
Greater London Properties, London’s Residential Central London Agent can point you to your perfect future home. Interest rates remain historically low and if you can get a loan from a bank or afford the rents in central London, now is as good a time as any to make the move. With a changing political climate and fears around a smooth exit from the EU, property transactions in the future may fall further, at least for a short period of time.
Director, Greater London Properties