London’s largest independent estate agency, Dexters, suggests that the stamp duty holiday ending in 12 weeks time will have relatively little impact on the capital’s market.
And it says that it plans to add six more branches to its network this year.
There are two reasons why the firm bats away any significant problem caused by the stamp duty holiday ending: firstly the amounts saved are minimal when compared to the 12 and 15 per cent rates payable over £1.5m anyway, and secondly the holiday will end in the spring, which is in any case the start of the busiest time of the year for Londoners moving home.
The agency is extremely bullish about the year ahead in London: the volume of transactions across its network will double in its 70 offices across London, it says, with the likelihood of a vaccine roll-out making the prospect of 2021 better than 2020.
In particular Dexters hopes the return of international travel - eventually - will help with “a wave of buyers, tenants and investors returning to the London market”.
It says the desire by many Hong Kongers to relocate to the UK, buy homes in London and take up residency remains strong and has merely been paused due to the pandemic, while Saudi Arabia buyers want to purchase ‘bolt hole’ homes in London due to concerns over the political and economic stability of their country.
In terms of neighbourhoods, Dexters tips Camden to be one of the ‘stand out’ London boroughs in 2021 for property transactions following a record year for the firm’s 10 existing offices in the borough; meanwhile they expect the The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea to be the lead borough in terms of activity and price growth.
It forecasts a 2.0 to 3.0 per cent rise in prices across London generally this year, with an 18 per cent rise in turnover in 2021.
It also anticipates six more offices to be added to its network in 2021.
Andy Shepherd, agency chief executive, says: “We have an unshakeable belief that London will very quickly bounce back from the challenges of the pandemic. In the past, such as 2008 when prices were briefly depressed, they quite quickly bounced back.
“Based on our favourable sales and lettings data during 2020 Dexters expects to see sales and lettings transactions across its prime central London offices doubling in volume during 2021.
“During 2021 the COVID-19 vaccine will bring a return to normality and a restart of mass international travel, resulting in a wave of buyers, tenants and investors returning to the London market. Buyers and investors should always be looking five, ten, even twenty years ahead, over those time periods there is almost universal agreement that the only way for prices is up.”
*In a separate statement franchise network Winkworth, which has 60 branches in London, says it “has plans to expand the footprint of the business across the capital and also increase its presence in the Home Counties.