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Prime central London bounces back from stamp duty impact

Prime central London has seen a 2% increase in trading volumes in the year to February 2018 compared to the previous 12-month period, according to LonRes.

The data revealed a 1.1% drop in average prices in the year to March. It was the fourth consecutive marginal annual adjustment, suggesting that prices are only 8% below their previous peak in August 2015.

Despite recent political events and a change in regulations, there is a sense of relative stability being restored in the market, with the impact of stamp duty being absorbed and now an accepted cost of transacting.

The over-compensation of asking price reductions over the last year implies the market has undergone self-correction following the bull market run between 2009 and 2014, the data says.

The average asking price reduction between £1 million and £5 million was 9.9% in the year to February 2018, while the difference between the new and old rates of stamp duty as a percentage of a £5 million sale is 3.3%. The equivalent figure for a £2 million sale is 2.7%.

What’s more, Rightmove data shows the number of properties listed for sale in prime central London was 5.4% higher in February this year than the same month in 2017. The equivalent difference in the lettings market fell by 21.2%, a reflection on the recent additional tax burdens for landlords.

However, with political uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process, this upswing in pricing and trading volumes may be a calm before the storm, the data cautions.

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