The London residential sales property market remains strong, with demand boosted further by Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to extend the Stamp Duty holiday until June 30th 2021. After that, the threshold at which buyers will start to pay the tax will be £250,000, double the normal rate, until September 30th. From October, the point at which Stamp Duty is paid will return to £125,000.
There’s been more good news for the property market in that the recent budget also saw the government announce a new 95% mortgage guarantee scheme which will enable buyers to obtain a mortgage with just a 5% deposit, with the government underwriting 95% mortgages. This is available to all buyers from this month on properties valued at up to £600,000 with lenders including Natwest, Santander, Barclays and HSBC taking part in the scheme and more expected to be announced soon.
Of course, these measures are helping to boost demand for residential properties, generating interest amongst those who recognise that this is a real window of opportunity for buying their first property or moving up to their second.
The statistics speak for themselves. Rightmove recently reported that the average price of property coming to the market has risen by 0.8% in March (up £2484) 2021 due to record levels of buyer demand. In fact, this is the strongest spring seller’s market in a decade. You can read more about Rightmove’s latest statistics at https://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/house-price-index/
And here at Benham & Reeves, we are also experiencing an uplift in enquiries and valuation requests.
Buyers and sellers taking advantage of current market conditions
Traditionally, spring is always the busiest time of year for the UK property market and even more so this year. In the first week of March the number of sales we agreed was up 12% on last year, despite shortages of stock. But the good news is that we are also now busy with requests to carry out market appraisals for clients wishing to put their properties on the market and take advantage of the high demand for properties. Valuation requests received by our sales team were up 14% in the first week of March.
With the double boost to buyer demand from the Stamp Duty extension and the government’s guaranteed 95% mortgage products, sellers need to act quickly if they wish to get their property on the market and take advantage of this exceptional demand. While some areas, such as prime central London, have seen price growth subdued, a lack of supply in many areas in recent months coupled with high demand from buyers, means that sellers are securing a good price for their property. We expect this trend to intensify over the next few months.
In terms of what is popular right now, buyers are continuing to prioritise larger homes over location and London’s suburbs are performing extremely well now as a result.
Soaring demand for properties in Hampstead and Highgate
Key areas where we have seen a surge in demand from buyers include Hampstead and Highgate where enquiries are soaring thanks to the area’s larger properties with more space – both inside and out, the family-friendly environment locally and great amenities as well as its easy access to Hampstead Heath whose open green spaces have become a haven for Londoners during the last year’s lockdowns.
We are actively looking for new instructions throughout Hampstead and Highgate to meet this growing demand so please get in touch if you are thinking about putting your Hampstead property on the market.
Popular residential developments
Properties at residential developments across London remain extremely popular and it is hard to single out specific ones. But Beaufort Park in Colindale remains sought-after, particularly for British National (Overseas) passport holders from Hong Kong who are focusing their property search here, either looking for a home for themselves or a buy-to-let investment as there is now a thriving Hong Kong community locally. Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich (where we recently opened a new branch) is also seeing a lot of activity, with owner occupiers snapping up apartments while existing homeowners are looking to upsize to a larger property locally too. Rental demand here also remains good.
And Imperial Wharf on the fringes of Fulham and Chelsea, is also attracting a lot of interest from local buyers who are recognising that an apartment in this popular scheme could now be within their budget as prices have softened a little recently.
In fact, properties across London particularly those with riverside settings, from Fulham and Kew in the west to Canary Wharf and Woolwich in the east, are attracting a lot of interest from buyers keen to take advantage of the various government incentives currently available.
Buyers investing in high end luxury homes
At the high end of the market, demand for luxury homes is also strengthening. For example, we’ve just found a beautiful new property for a client, a newly renovated, £3m+ property in Covent Garden which they will use as their London home. And one of our most recent new instructions is a £5.5m property in Cadogan Place, London SW1 on which we are now carrying out viewings.
So buyers are looking for property across all price brackets and the reasons for buying or selling a property in London are many and varied.
Of course, we expect the return of international travel to be the catalyst for further investment too as lockdown starts to ease this month.
Are you buying or selling a property in London?
If you are planning to buy or sell a property in London, get in touch with our sales teams to find out more about our real estate services and available properties for sale.
View all posts by Anita Mehra