Housing Market to suffer with interest rate rise, Brexit looming and more… ?

“Inflation has been creeping up and The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has increased interest rates to 0.5% to compensate, despite the annual growth rate being at its weakest for four years.

A 0.25% rise is not going to have a significant impact on the economy as a whole, but it will further depress a falling property market, particularly in prime central London. Currently, the market is flat.  As an example, there are two blocks of apartments near our Regent’s Park office that are historically very sought-after and if a property came available we would be swamped with buyers and a sale would be made very quickly.  In one of those blocks, in the same month in 2016 there were three apartments on the market and they all sold. This year, there are ten apartments currently available but there are no buyers for them.  In the other block, a very similar situation, there was one property on the market in 2016 and in 2017 there are ten that are not selling.

There are two main reasons for this. The first is that they are overpriced. Vendors still believe that values are what they were two years ago. I called the top of the market just over a couple of years ago and it has been drifting down ever since, with a bit more yet to go.  With so many tax changes (increased stamp duty, an extra tax for buy-to-let investors and foreign investors’ tax) and Brexit looming, there is too much uncertainty and buyers, particularly overseas investors, have been put off making big financial commitments.

The government is being urged to abolish stamp duty ahead of the budget. Undoubtedly, this would be the best thing to happen to the property market. London is the driving force for every market and scrapping this tax would provide buyers with an incentive to start moving again.”

Andrew Ellinas, Director, Sandfords

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