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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Viewings slump 20% in three months in central London

Latest figures on the central London market from franchise giant Winkworth show that viewings dropped 20 per cent in the third quarter of the year, compared to the previous three months.

Asking and sale prices in the third quarter also dropped, although by only 2.1 and 2.2 per cent respectively; however, price per square foot rose a healthy 6.0 per cent to £1,201, to demonstrate that better stock was coming to the market.

Transactions remained static compared with both the previous quarter and the same quarter last year. They were almost 30 per cent below the peak levels seen in 2014, before the majority of stamp duty changes came into effect.

Winkworth says transactions for smaller properties dominated activity in Q3 2018, with one and two bedroom homes accounting for 67 per cent of all transactions. 

Even so the agency, in its latest market report on central London, says: “It’s evident that there is still stability in the market, and we expect it to remain much the same for some time until a clearer [Brexit] outlook for the UK is given.” 

As an example of how times change, the agency says that when comparing the third quarter of 2018 and the third quarter of 2013 - five years ago - there has been a huge 52 per cent fall in new applicant registrations. 

However, even the Q3 2018 applicant registration is actually 28 per cent improved on the Q2 2018 level showing, according to the agency, that demand from buyers still exists in the run-up to Brexit.

“We’re encouraged by the increased applicant levels we’ve seen over the past two quarters compared with the same period last year, which signal some underlying positivity in the market” explains Dominic Agace, Winkworth’s chief executive. 

“What has now become evident is the price disparities between similar properties on the market due to their varying characteristics. As such, it’s all the more important for sellers to seek a quality bespoke service from agents who have proven experience and longevity within this highly complex market, who can provide guidance based on years of knowledge and practice.”

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    Good to see Winkworths being honest about the London market. But my question today is this: given that selling and especially buying agents are usually so vocal, why has there been almost no coverage of Ben Wallace's very important speech last week about the National Crime Agency looking at the role of buying and selling agents in facilitating the massive amounts of money laundering that we all know goes through London property each year? People like Henry Prior - who usually tweets what they had for breakfast - were strangely silent on this story. I wonder why everyone in agency went to ground? For the benefit of ETA, I give you the link again: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/minister-launches-updated-serious-and-organised-crime-strategy. Isn't it the job of ETA to publicise important stories like this? Seems to me only a matter of time before an agent (I am guessing a buying agent will be first) is jailed for abetting money laundering.

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