Should I put my house in Hampstead or Highgate up for sale in 2017?

Should people in Hampstead try and sell their house next year?

Should people in Hampstead try and sell their house next year? - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

What with Brexit, stamp duty, changes to non dom tax relief and the stagnating Hampstead property market, is now a good time to try and sell? Aree Rand of Knight Frank Hampstead looks ahead at the property market in Hampstead for 2017.

Aree Rand, partner at Knight Frank Hampstead

Aree Rand, partner at Knight Frank Hampstead - Credit: Archant

This has been an eventful and exciting time for me to take the reins at Knight Frank’s Hampstead office. Over the year and a half I’ve been here, I’ve seen dramatic changes in the prime London property market, which have had a great effect locally.

At this point in 2016, the transaction volume in our prime and super prime markets has gone down compared to a year and a half ago. However, at the lower end of the market, between £1m and £4m there is activity; buyers are coming to view, making offers and we’re getting things agreed.

Is it slower compared to where it was this time last year? No doubt; however, there is definitive momentum in the market and we’re busy.

Is it taking longer to get things over the line? Absolutely, but if you come in with the right offer of eight to 12 per cent lower than the asking price, and the price is guided right on that first market appraisal, you can get deals agreed. Genuine sellers are receptive and if you bring them an offer they will listen.

I tell everyone in my office that in this market no offer is a bad offer. Encourage the offers, bring the offers to the table and see how the vendor responds. They’re going to reject it, we know that, but let’s aim to establish a level where they might be willing to transact.

There are deals happening. We’ve been involved in a recent £44m deal in St John’s Wood and several in Hampstead, one of which is in double digits.

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The Autumn Statement didn’t change as much in terms of property taxation as some people might have hoped. Most people agree that the higher stamp duty levels introduced in 2014 have had a very negative effect on the prime property market and have affected Hampstead property significantly. Some agents were hoping for a reprieve via a holiday, amnesty or a cut; however, it seems instead that Philip Hammond wants to let the changes bed in and to see how they will be affected by Brexit and the new state of the economy.

The confirmation that the changes to non-dom status will come into effect next spring could also be seen as a blow. Here in Hampstead a lot of properties on the more prominent roads are owned by high net worth individuals who are potentially non-dom. The ownership structure of these properties is held in a trust or an off-shore vehicle purely because of tax advantages. Clearly, there’ll be a ripple effect of changes because of that.

At the same time, a lot of international buyers are now benefiting from the fluctuations in their currency against sterling, particularly after the US election of Donald Trump.

I have a Saudi buyer who’s transacting in dollars. Yes, he has to pay stamp duty, we all do, but the fact that he’s a global buyer means he’s benefiting from the incredible fluctuation in the dollar compared to the pound.

As a result I think that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t capitalise on this and put your home on the market before Christmas. Everyone’s initial reaction would be to wait until the New Year to put their house on the market but, thanks to technology, the stretch between Christmas and New Year is one of the busiest times of year for property searches nowadays.

The traffic on RightMove peaks in the days between Christmas and New Year because people are together with time to look at property in front of their computer. If your home’s not on the market at this time it’s not going to get seen by all these potential buyers. And if you wait until January or February to list your property you’ll have to compete with all the other new sellers.Don’t miss the opportunity.

Aree Rand is office head at Knight Frank in Hampstead, 020 8022 3739