We are no nearer being able to define the prospects for the London market than we were this time last year. There is now the possibility that we will leave the EU with no deal and only in the last few days, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland admitted that a no deal Brexit could lead to chaos and disorder in Britain. What this would mean for the London property market is still far from clear. Many would-be purchasers in London can be forgiven for postponing their decision to buy although on the other hand it should be said that in Prime Central London more properties to date have changed hands than in the same period last year, with sales up 3% on Q2 in 2018.
With Boris Johnson now confirmed as the new occupant of number 10 Downing Street, the market generally will be hoping that he follows through on commitments to revisit Stamp Duty this autumn. If he does, this could have a very beneficial effect on the market in both Prime Central London and also the more expensive areas in the South East.
Regretfully, stock levels in London remain an issue as fewer sellers are at present bringing their homes to the market. This means that committed buyers remain frustrated by the lack of choice with little fresh stock appearing. Indeed, Q2 2019 marks the fifth consecutive quarter where the number of new instructions fell compared with the same period a year earlier.
The lettings picture is however somewhat more rosy with agents in Prime Central London and Greater London in general reporting an increase in demand from prospective tenants during both Q1 and Q2 in 2019. This coupled with ongoing lack of stock means that rents have risen this year.
Every day sees new political moves which could very well have an impact on the London residential market and this does not even take into account the prospect of an early General Election.
An election before Christmas would be seen as yet another opportunity to delay making a purchase decision particularly as the outcome would be far from certain.
For this reason we have to echo the sentiment expressed in our last market overview in that London’s Surveyors and Valuers do not believe that the London residential market is likely to substantially recover this year.