The gilded Greater London property market may no longer be quite so shiny, as figures for the first few months of the year show that overall house sales were down 29% compared to the same period in 2016.
The report – from estate agents, Your Move – also found that it was the second year running that property sales had floundered with transactions down 19% from 2015. The blame has been firmly placed on the undesirable trinity of high house prices, stamp duty, and Brexit.
House prices are on the up and in England and Wales you can expect to pay an average of £303,200 – a rise of 4% on 2016.
The changes to stamp duty came into effect on the 1 April and resulted in second home buyers being hit with a higher rate – that saw a surge in home buying in March as potential landlords tried to avoid the tax hike. So, although a drop in house sales was expected, the recent figures have shown a much bigger decline than expected. And of course, with Brexit ever looming and with nobody really knowing what’s going on, the uncertainty has influenced the housing market.
But it’s not all doom and gloom everywhere, and the Your Move report did show glimmers of buoyancy. Less expensive areas such as the north-east and Wales did show increases in house sales compared to two years ago – as did the cheapest areas in London, such as Newham and Havering.
Property is a bit like a game of snakes and ladders – one minute it can be up, the next minute it can be sliding its way down; and if you’re struggling to climb that first ladder, it can be really disheartening. Which is why, at comparethemarket.com, we don’t just compare stuff, we’re here to help – whether that’s offering advice on how to save for a mortgage or even just building up your credit score – we’ll help you on your way with our mortgages hub.
Or, if you’re one of the 59% of homeowners who’ve chosen to improve rather than move, then find out whether a loan or if remortgaging could give you a cash injection. But wherever you are on that slippery snakes and ladders board – home owner, tenant or landlord, make sure you protect what you’ve got with the right kind of home insurance.