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Annual house price growth in prime central London declined marginally to 3.3% in March and this could be due to the forthcoming general election, according to a new analysis report. It was the sector’s lowest rate in more than five years and despite a 0.1% rise in March, prices have remained broadly flat over the last six months as uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the election on 07 May intensifies, says the report from real estate firm Knight Frank. ‘Activity is stronger in lower price brackets and where there is a more pressing need to act, though some parts of the market are treading water ahead of the vote and one of the most unpredictable elections in decades has caused some buyers and sellers to postpone decisions until there is clarity around the outcome,’ said Knight Frank associate Tom Bill. ‘As electioneering got underway in March, the polls still indicate a hung parliament is the most likely outcome. However, strong activity in some markets suggests there is a degree of pent-up demand that could be released after May,’ he added. The report says that the top three markets by sales volumes at the start of 2015 have been Knightsbridge, Islington and St John’s Wood. ‘Islington has benefited from the fact property taxes such as stamp duty have affected lower value properties to a lesser degree than higher value areas and annual growth of 7% is the second highest in prime central London after Hyde Park,’ explained Bill. He also pointed out that sales in Knightsbridge have been strong due to a series of high quality new build and newly refurbished properties that are ready for immediate occupation. ‘Buyers in prime central London are increasingly focussed on the quality of the property’s finish and facilities rather than its postcode, though in the case of Knightsbridge both have combined to produce a strong sales market at the start of 2015,’ said Bill. Meanwhile, St John’s Wood is benefiting as more buyers seek better value and more space than markets further south in central London. ‘While the overall picture is subdued, what is happening in these three markets highlights some key trends that could contribute towards driving the market after the general election,’ added Bill. Continue reading →
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