2015: a year in property
- Credit: © Trevor Coultart 2015
Nick Ingle, Head of Savills Harpenden Sales talks us through 2015.
The year started with some trepidation. The looming election in May and the fall-out from the Autumn Statement (which brought with it significant stamp duty increases for property over £1.5 million), led to a nervous start for properties at £2 million and above with a reluctance from both buyers and sellers to commit. Many believed the election result would, in turn, lead to a bounce at this level of the market, but the reality proved quite different. The stamp duty levels have further deterred buyers who want to see the increased tax they have to pay reflected by a similar reduction on the purchase price and sellers have not been willing to take the hit. In addition, demand from the London market has been tempered by the inability of many to sell their property there, although this is starting to ease.
Looking to next year, we are hopeful we will see more transactions not only amidst the certainty which comes with economic and political stability but also as buyers adjust to the stamp duty levies. However, much of this interest will be dependent on the movement within the London property market and the realisation by vendors that, to able to sell, they will have to be very realistic and competitive with their asking prices.
The story is quite different for the sub £1 million market, where a lack of available property throughout this year has meant the best homes, whether in town or the country, have sold quickly and often with competition, as buyers take advantage of the continued low interest rates and the new more advantageous stamp duty for this sector of the market. We are anticipating demand at this level will continue throughout the course of 2016, although further substantial price growth in the short-term may be tempered by the rhetoric surrounding a potential interest rate rise and continued rigorous fiscal checks.