A look back at the London property market in 2014
Mon 15 Dec 2014
As we approach the end of what has been an interesting and eventful year in the London property market, I thought Id look back at whats happened in 2014 and then look forward to what 2015 may bring.
The first quarter of 2014 was madness! I think all of us working in the London market were a little taken aback by the 'feeding frenzy' of the market and with the benefit of hindsight, the Mortgage Market Review was an inspired policy from the Bank of England, which applied the brakes to the runaway train that the market had become. However, in London it had the effect of stamping hard on the brakes and the market slowed dramatically throughout the remainder of the year. Again, this is no bad thing and it has enabled buyers and sellers to take stock and address their entry into the market in the light of new and much tougher lending criteria.This has undoubtedly had the effect of softening prices in many parts of Prime London.
The big bombshell in December was obviously the new Stamp Duty Land Tax. This is something that many of us in the property industry have been calling for for a while and it is undoubtedly good news to get rid of the clumsy 'slab' structure of the tax and onto a more progressive system. For 98% of homebuyers, Im informed that its great news however, for our market? Not so much! Having said that, as I suspected, most property buyers simply took this in their stride. Some renegotiated their prices, but many didnt, and the market will quickly adapt to this new norm.
2015 will be an interesting year with the May General Election being the most notable event. I think we can get too focussed on this; life will go on, both before and after, and whilst I dont expect to see the market roaring away in the first half of the year, I think the commentators who suggest it will be 'dead' are way off the mark it will be what we make of it. Dependant on the result, we will see modest growth in the second half of the year as buyers and sellers enjoy renewed certainty and move on with their lives once more.
It will be another year of growth at Marsh & Parsons, with offices opening in parts of London where we dont currently have a presence, so we will all have our work cut out to ensure our continuing success!
I wish all our clients, past, present and future very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.