News Benham & Reeves Director calls for action as London named 'worst performing property region in UK

Published by AgentPro on 15th January, 2018

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House prices in the UK rose by a modest 2.6pc in 2017, a drop from the 4.5pc rise recorded in 2016, according to Nationwide’s latest house price index.

However in London the average house price dropped by 0.5pc in 2017 against prices in 2016.  This is the first fall in eight years and means that the capital is now the UK’s worst performing region for the first time since 2004.

Commentators have blamed brexit fears combined with increased property taxes, as well as a generally weak economy for the fall, and called for politicians to do more to support the Capital.

James Morton, Director of High-end London estate agents Benham & Reeves told Estate Agent News:

“It is disappointing to see property prices falling, particularly at the high end, but this is hardly surprising because the value of many London properties sees many of them hit by the higher rate of stamp duty, which came into force in December 2014 and further increased by 3% for second homeowners in April 2016. The double whammy of Brexit and excessive stamp duty is hurting the London property market, and our politicians seem to have their heads buried in the sand. The knock on effect to the wider economy with less transactions is costing far more than the stamp duty collected.

“At the higher end of the market, the drop is being more acutely felt and property owners need to have realistic expectations if they want to sell their property within a sensible timeframe (fast). 

“The good news is that buyers still have a good appetite for property and we are already seeing an uptick in activity in 2018 for the more desirable areas where we operate, where properties are still selling, albeit at slightly lower prices.  If anything, there is a shortage of available properties, especially at the sub £1million end of the market, though across the board properties in Highgate, Dartmouth Park, Hampstead and West Hampstead remain highly desirable.

“Successive housing initiatives have effectively ignored London because of higher than average prices in the Capital– one can only hope that the new Housing Minister, Dominic Raab, and Sayid Javid, with new housing responsibilities, will remember that the London housing market needs as much support as any other area in the UK and will plead our case to the Treasury ahead of the Spring Statement in March 2018.”