Naomi Heaton, CEO of London Central Portfolio comments:-
“The stagnant performance for the country is another disappointing economic indicator for the Government. With prices approaching the 1% Stamp Duty threshold of £250,000, it is now more important than ever that the Chancellor revisits this at the next Budget and raises the ceiling, or risks further suppression of the market.
The 14% increase in average prices in Prime London Central (PLC) over the year underlines its continued global appeal despite the new property taxes unveiled at the last Budget. The Chancellor increased Stamp Duty to 15% for individuals buying through a corporate vehicle and announced a consultation process on an annual levy of up to £140,000 per annum and a new capital gains tax.
The ensuing uncertainty has now been put to bed as the picture has become clearer and with the announcement that it will not apply to any genuine bone fide businesses such as development or buy-to-let investments. This is already providing another boost to the market.
An element of the price increase, however, is undoubtedly due to the fact that some buyers are now choosing to avoid the new tax measures by buying in their own personal names, in-line with the Chancellor’s declared intention.
It has been widely reported that the sale of properties in newly created corporate wrappers, which enabled buyers to avoid paying Stamp Duty, were predominantly in new developments. It is therefore interesting to note that of the 20 properties in PLC over £10m registered by Land Registry this quarter as being bought in personal names three were in London’s most prestigious new developments:
One Hyde Park – £13,000,000
The Lancasters – £13,650,000
199 The Knightsbridge – £14,100,000
This has undoubtedly increased the average price reported by Land Registry for Flats and Maisonettes, which is up 26% over the same time last year.
With a significant increase super prime property sales in PLC from 2 in Q4 2011 to 20 in Q4 2012, it would appear that the Chancellor’s objective for companies to de-envelope is working. Whilst the increase in average prices recorded by Land Registry appears to be good news for the property market, this data needs to be scrutinised with great care. The Land Registry figures will no longer be comparing ‘apples with apples’ as average prices will increase disproportionately if people transfer high-end properties out of corporate wrappers or choose to come into the market in their own name. The 10 fold increase in sales over £10m+ equates to a value of almost £1/3bn compared with £31m the year before.
PLC was not the only place to see high value sales. Camden registered 4 sales (3 in Regents Park) over £10m. The most expensive purchase outside London, recorded in Land Registry, was in Bicester, Oxford. It sold for £23,495,000.
This quarter has also witnessed sales in England and Wales between £2m and £5m making a sharp come back from the shock of the increase in Stamp Duty from 5% to 7% in the last Budget. Transactions increased by 71% over the last quarter, as buyers, who were holding back, came to terms with the increased cost of moving. The Chancellor would be well advised to reflect on this, if an increase in Stamp Duty from 4% to 5% over £500,000 and 5% to 6% over £1m is on the agenda. It is very likely that these buyers will find it much more difficult to pull together the increased Stamp Duty costs causing a longer term dampener on the market.”
For further information contact: Naomi Heaton, Chief Executive, Hugh Best, Head of Investment Management or Lauren Awcock, PR Manager on +44(0) 20 7723 1733 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About London Central Portfolio Limited (LCP):
LCP specialises in the Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea boroughs that make up its core prime London Central focus. LCP has access to the entire residential market and sources and buys the best properties which it will, in turn, refurbish, let to major blue chip corporate tenants and manage for its clients. It uses proprietary financial modelling to determine yields and returns and to evaluate each investment. LCP has £500m of assets under management and is a leader in its field. Since 2000, the increase in value of its managed portfolio has outperformed the market growth by over 50%. It has successfully brought three funds to market, capitalising on this sector.
LCP in-house research
HM Land Registry Q4 2012 Standard Report
HM Land Registry Bespoke price paid data Q4 2011 and Q4 2012