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Demand for prime central London real estate remains high and Chinese interest continues to grow, according to a new analysis of the sector, despite stamp duty reform and the looming election. According to the report from independent property buying agency, Black Brick, a rise in the US dollar against the pound has boosted international demand, while record low mortgage rates are encouraging domestic demand. Black Brick has signed new clients from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Cyprus and the UK so far in 2015, with budgets varying from below £1 million to above £10 million. ‘At first glance, the global backdrop hardly seems positive for the prime central London market. Renewed concerns about the Eurozone, heightened geopolitical risks, and plunging oil prices, add in the changes to stamp duty land tax and it is not hard to see why vendors are now having to be more realistic,’ said Camilla Dell, managing partner of Black Brick. ‘It is no co-incidence that the falls reported at the top end of the capital’s property market equate roughly to the additional 5% in stamp duty that buyers must now pay. Importantly, while price adjustments have been the order of the day for deals already in progress, there has been scant evidence of deals falling through due to the stamp duty changes. Though very early days, we believe this bodes well for the market’s ability to absorb the higher tax rates and adjust accordingly,’ she explained. The firm said it has seen continued interest in prime central London property from its client base across the world as stamp duty reform and the impending election have not deterred them. Shorter term supports include the sterling’s recent weakness, particularly against the US dollar. The 14% decline in the value of the pound against the US dollar since the summer is a significant boost to many overseas buyers with dollar assets. Meanwhile, the changes to stamp duty are providing a welcome fillip to potential property buyers at lower price bands. ‘Chinese interest in London property continues to grow apace. According to figures recently released by the government, the number of so-called investor visas granted to Chinese nationals doubled in the year to the end of September. Chinese nationals accounted for 43% of all investor visas, the highest proportion of any country. It’s no surprise that we have seen continued growth in interest from this market,’ explained Dell. To cope with the firm recently hired Grace Ding, a fluent Mandarin speaker who will focus on assisting Black Brick’s fast growing Chinese client base and on developing its business network across Asia. As far as other trends for 2015 go, the firm believes that home owners with existing large basement extensions will now be able to command a significant premium over neighbouring properties given the restrictions announced on future development by the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. ‘The… Continue reading →
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