FLATWATCH – CHRISTMAS 2016
The property market still seems to be suffering a hangover from the aftermath of June’s Brexit vote, but to an extent the fallout has been mixed. The sharp fall in the pound sterling is perhaps leading to some stronger interest from overseas, although the top end of the market has been depressed, but perhaps more due to the pre-Brexit vote stamp duty changes. Even so, given all the uncertainties involved, Barbican prices appear to have been remarkably resilient so far. The local estate agents are reporting some small price falls, while it is perhaps too early yet to tell how the prospects of a Donald Trump Presidency across the pond will affect sentiment going forward.
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Most analyses seem to suggest that overall prices are fairly stable, but perhaps weaker in central London, although this may well be because of the number of ultra high priced residences in Prime London which have perhaps been particularly affected and reductions here will have had an exaggerated impact overall on average prices. Consensus seems to be that overall prices for ‘normal’ properties may continue to rise, but at a slower rate than in the past couple of years.
In terms of Barbican properties there do seem to be some anomalies developing. High floor tower block properties in pristine condition appear to be seeing asking prices of around £2 million, but good 2-bed flats which had been selling at around the £1million mark have perhaps come back a little because of the £925,000 10% stamp duty threshold. Larger one beds in in-demand blocks have thus also come down in asking price accordingly, while the buy-to-let sector is also weaker given the additional 3% stamp duty incurred.
But with the slightly weaker sales market at these levels, the local estate agents specialising in Barbican properties appear to be seeing an increase in demand for rental properties which is beginning to impart an upwards movement in rental prices. As always the Barbican remains popular in this sector of the market given its location in the City which otherwise doesn’t have many other lettings options
However, whether the Chancellor’s clampdown on upfront charges by letting agents will affect the lettings market is too early to say, although the consensus is that it may lead to an increase in rental costs.
LOCAL ESTATE AGENTS’ COMMENTS
Glen Cook of Hamilton Brooks: I think for years to come Economists the world over will pore over details of the Brexit Effect and Trump Presidency and all argue as to what the effect has been. So rather than try to comment on both issues I would rather just say this, in all the times of instability that I have dealt with in the past 30 years in the City of London since 1987, of which we have seen many, bricks & mortar ( or concrete!) have always been the safest option, whether that is investing spare cash into the market or not selling as the cash it would generate would not have a safer home to go to. I am pretty certain with City market will weather this storm equally well. www.hamiltonbrooks.co.uk
Tina Evans of Frank Harris: The sales market has certainly slowed down this year and prices have softened a little. With our network of offices across the capital and access to our New Homes Dept database of buyers we are agreeing more sales than some of our competitors. Our top tips for a quick and successful sale would be to dress your property as best you can, remove excess furniture, books, personal items and make sure all your paperwork for the property is in order. If you would like an informal valuation or just a chat about the market please don’t hesitate to contact me.
We would like to wish all our Barbican residents a Happy Christmas and look forward to meeting you at some stage in 2017. www.frankharris.co.uk
Nick Scott of Scott City: Instruction levels and new supply in the Barbican has improved in the last few months and there are signs that demand for the City is strengthening once again. We have seen some price reductions and with the currency exchange rates we are seeing increased activity from overseas buyers. Prices have not moved for over six months and central London has seen a fall of 2% in the year to October. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Autumn statement as there is increasing pressure on the government to look at cutting stamp duty and hopefully inject some confidence and stability into the market. www.scottcity.co.uk
Joe Davison of Scott City: The last few months have been a very successful lettings period as there has been plenty of demand for Properties within the Barbican. We have had a good supply of apartments from studio apartments to 2 beds properties, with a wide range of price ranges being achieved. The current rental market is showing no signs of slowing, even with the Christmas period just around the corner. Scott City are currently advertising a Large style Studio flat in John Trundle Court, please visit our website for our full details.
Robert Sayers of Frank Harris: As the sun begins to set on an unforgettable, topsy-turvy year for both world politics and the Central London property market alike, one thing has remained stable for us here, and that is the constant demand for rental property within the iconic Barbican Estate. With “uncertainty” remaining the buzz word whichever news outlet you choose to read, the lure of renting a property within both the City area and the estate remains attractive to either tenants with an eye on a long term purchase, or individuals just based in London on a contract for six to twelve months. We are very optimistic for a busy and productive 2017, and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and happy New Year.
Glen Cook: One of the upsides of uncertain times shows itself in terms of increased letting inquiries. In the last quarter we have seen a near doubling of letting enquiries, which due to a low supply in now putting pressure on rental values in an upwards direction, we have a shortage of good quality one and two bed apartments.