The sad loss of a number of high profile personalities from the worlds of music, film and TV, the decision for the UK to Leave the EU and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, 2016 is a year that will go down in history for reasons some people may prefer to forget.
Team GB’s performance at the summer Olympic (and Paralympic) Games, Chris Froome winning the Tour de France (again!) and Andy Murray claiming his second Wimbledon title added some much needed positivity to a year that has been turbulent to say the least.
But throughout an unpredictable year with many ups and downs, London has shown its normal resilience, the buzz remains and people’s spirits are un-dampened, this is one of the greatest cities on earth so there’s still plenty to celebrate!
Demand has been unpredictable over the course of the year, but the overall picture is that people are continuing to be drawn to the West End to live, work and spend money.
We’ve seen an increase in the number of tenants requesting break-clauses in new contracts, allowing for job uncertainty whilst the government prepares to trigger Article 50 and the expected fallout over the two following years whilst the exit from the EU is negotiated, but we actually experienced an increase in enquires from foreign tenants relocating during September and October.
Our view is that the Brexit decision had little direct impact on the sales market, buyers are exercising more caution, but the market was already seeing a correction before June 23rd.
The previous Chancellor’s stamp duty reforms and the creation of a ‘fairer tax relief system’ in relation to buy-to-let landlords had a more damaging impact, with transaction levels above the £1.5-£2M mark significantly down across London, although a continued lack of good stock is keeping values stable, but our view is that sellers should be realistic in their expectations.
The weaker Pound has seen an increase of enquiries from foreign currency buyers taking advantage of their extra spending power, or seeing an opportunity to mitigate the risk of further price corrections and more punitive taxation of property, so London is still viewed as a safe haven for money invested in bricks and mortar.
See more on this and other stories in our Autumn/Winter edition of INTHEKNOW