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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Transactions plummet across UK and particularly London

Transactions across Greater London have plummeted - they were down 7.9 per cent over the past three months and a whopping 15.3 per cent in the past month alone.

That’s the verdict of London Central Portfolio, an investment consultancy which has analysed Land Registry and other data.

It says transaction levels across the capital are now at their lowest since the introduction of Additional Rate Stamp Duty.

The picture is almost as bad across the UK as a whole, says LCP, with transactions falling 12.6 per cent over the quarter and 15.4 per cent in the last month.

New build transactions fell 18.0 per cent over the quarter, representing a 9.9 per cent market share, down from a 14.4 per cent share high in June 2016.

“Prime Central London has experienced unprecedented pressures with a series of new taxes targeted at the residential sector. An unsettled political backdrop and slow progress on Brexit negotiations have further dented sentiment, resulting in a picture of price sensitivity and falling transactions” explains Naomi Heaton, the LCP chief executive.

“Nevertheless, there were signs towards the end of 2017 that prices were hardening, with the market - excluding new build - experiencing six successive monthly price rises. These were buoyed by some high value sales.

“Since then prices have fallen back with a 2.9 per cent drop in April. They are now around the level seen during the 2014 high, prior to the introduction of graduated stamp duty which resulted in a top rate of 12 per cent.
 
“Transactions [in PCL] remain exceptionally low, at just 951 over the last quarter. This is only slightly more than during the Global Financial Crisis and the collapse in transactions post the introduction of Additional Rate Stamp Duty in April 2016” says Heaton.

As for Greater London, Heaton admits she is at a loss to explain. “However, economic uncertainty around Brexit and a weak market may be encouraging buyers and sellers to sit tight” she claims.

“With the multitude of taxes that residential property has been hit with in the past six years, coupled with the uncertainty around Brexit, confidence in the market appears to be disappearing quickly. The government is going to need to find some way of reassuring the nation soon, otherwise it is unlikely there will be any change in sentiment this side of March 2019” she says.

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