2015 saw buyers take a more cautious approach following the stamp duty reforms of December 2014, with activity levels noticeably down on the previous year. However a continued lack of stock has seen prices remain fairly stable across the West End, although properties are remaining on the market for longer and sales are agreed below the asking price in most cases.
With a further stamp duty increase of 3% on investment and second-home purchases taking effect from April, we expect an increase in demand from investment buyers looking to complete transactions prior to the end of March to avoid additional costs.
That said, we anticipate continued caution during 2016 as yet another tax penalty on property, only a short while after the effects of the previous reforms had sunk in, will no doubt create further uncertainty. The continued efforts of the Treasury to capitalise on the buoyant property market has tempered things, but the market has shown resilience in the past and we believe London property will still remain attractive whatever the political or economic climate.
We would expect to see a continued price stabilisation over the course of 2016, with perhaps a minor correction in certain price brackets, but overall demand remains strong for good quality, realistically priced and well located apartments across the West End.