With so many conflicting reports being published and the forthcoming election inevitably leading to ever more desperate politicians saying ever more desperate things, perhaps now is a good time to assess where we actually are.
A few weeks on from the SDLT bombshell of December 4th, it appears the London market has shrugged its collective shoulders and moved on. No doubt helped by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) easing the rules on mortgage lending for high net worth individuals, along with the seemingly endless bad news from other parts of the world. It appears that London is now, more than ever, seen as a safe and sensible place to store capital and live. Whilst the recent announcement that Europe will join the Americans in printing more money to bolster the economy was greeted with a muted reaction, it appears that the inherent lack of trust in central bankers is pushing asset prices even higher. A recent survey by Christies commented that the cost of ‘luxury’ in Central London has doubled since 2009, from £2m to £4m and even this budget will secure you location, but precious little in the way of space. US buyers have been active in recent weeks, no doubt buoyed by the dollar’s remarkable strength, their money now buying 15% more than a few months ago.
In short, and echoing previous comments on this blog and our Newsletter, those buying now will almost certainly be paying less than those that start their search after the election. This will be especially true if the Conservatives find a way to stay in No.10. The much discussed Mansion Tax is now being referred to by Labour as a ‘£250 a month tax’ that will ‘save the NHS’, a description that is rightly attracting criticism from within Labour itself. It may not be the best or fairest reason for prices to climb, but the uncertainty and volatility seen in other countries, combined with the disillusionment and mistrust felt by many towards those managing the economy, will push the price of housing up further. We have seen many more Americans choosing to buy property in London and the continued strength of the dollar ( 1.52 at the time of writing), will only lead to more US buying.
As a Property Search Agent or Property Finder in London, specialising in Kensington and Chelsea, we are able to take the pulse of the market on a daily basis. Sentiment post December 4th was very low but this was also attributable to the traditionally slow December market and January saw a number of new buyers registering with agents. In some cases, especially when two competing US buyers were involved, we saw asking prices being exceeded, albeit, only modestly. We see the same agents continue to over value property and the same ones continue to value fairly. The sensible agents often miss getting the clients instruction until their home has been languishing on the market for weeks without viewings, at which point they reduce the price and sign up with the sensible agents and end up achieving a sale. If you price your property fairly and present it well, you will sell it.
If you are looking to buy a home or Investment in London, do get in touch with us, we are the Property Finder for Kensington and Chelsea.