Stamp duty: Kentish Town sees the benefits today but Hampstead properties were rushed through last night
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North London agents were buoyant today after seeing an unseasonal level of activity following George Osborne’s announcement of stamp duty reforms yesterday.
Gavin Juniper, HOUSE Presso in Kentish Town
“We were really busy all day yesterday. We had a property due to exchange yesterday or today on Leighton Road. We were talking to the solicitor at 11 last night to get it through before midnight and we managed to get it through. I know for a fact that there were some solicitors doing more work last night.
“We did have one deal which was a high end one – a developer wanted to buy a block of flats in Kentish Town for £4.1 million. He instantly retracted because it almost doubled his SDLT obligation. He’s gone away to do his sums and he may come back with a lower offer.
“We’ve got a couple of properties at £375,000 and £550,00 that are going to be saving money on both of those. Everybody seems to be happy, we’re not negotiating anything. They want to exchange before the end of the year.”
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Steve Bastow-Irwin, sales manager at Oliver’s, Kentish Town
“We’ve had a bit of a ramp up of people registering to buy. Bearing in mind that it’s December, so you wouldn’t expect it at this time of year. We’ve had a bit of a glut this morning. People looking around the £300,000-800,000 in Kentish Town or Camden.”
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Andrea, Barnard Marcus, Muswell Hill
“We’ve not had any issues or problems. A lot of our buyers are buying around the £500,000 mark so they’re all very happy.
“We haven’t, at the moment, got a sale going through that’s over a million, they’re all below the £937,000 threshold. It’s all been a positive outcome.”
James Monteith, negotiator at Keats estate agents, Muswell Hill
“Probably in the new year I’d imagine quite a surge in first time buyers but for now it’s been pretty much business as usual.”
Richard Evans, negotiator at Day Morris, Highgate
“I suppose I’ve had one or two queries about it. It honestly hasn’t affected any of my sales and we’ve got quite a few properties that fall into the higher bracket. I think after the initial shock people have just swallowed it.”
James Wilkinson, Winkworth Highgate
“There’ve certainly been properties that have rushed through to exchange before last night’s midnight deadline. We did one conditional exchange on a house for £1,805,000 where they weren’t at all ready to buy but if they’d done it any time today onwards it would have been an extra £40,100.
“We’ve also got one house which didn’t managed to exchange yesterday, which was priced at £1,830,000 and we’re re-negotiating that at the moment.”
Kris Smith, partner at Knight Frank, Hampstead
“We had a very hectic afternoon yesterday. We had three exchanges go through before the deadline yesterday, all above £1 million.
“We had one around £1.5 million, one around £8 million, and one around £30 million, which actually exchanged at 11.55 last night, five minutes before the deadline.”
Peter Brookes, Savills Hampstead
“It’s been pretty much business as usual. We had one property for £1.84 million that exchanged yesterday and one for £2.65 million who we asked if they wanted to try and rush through but they were happy to absorb the additional £46,250.”
Mark Pollack, co-founder and director, Aston Chase
“When I first heard the announcement, I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing, as an agent who deals primarily with prime central London stock.
“I was watching Tottenham get thrashed last night, feeling very sorry for myself and I started to get emails through from people in the office about all these night time sales happening.
“We exchanged on three properties yesterday, one in Hampstead and one in Brondesbury for £3.5 million each, and one in Regent’s Park for £5.75 million.
“Lower down the market it’s been a boost. Our new homes department has reported a significant spike today.”
Richard Barnett, managing director of Litchfield
“No-one’s pulled out yet but we had about five exchanges yesterday from people who were close enough to rush it through, which was a wise decision because it didn’t cost them anything. I think maybe there’ll be some more negotiations in the next few weeks.
“Most people it’s going to cost them more money than will benefit in this area.
“I think it’s a little unfair that the Ham&High area is taking the brunt of the increase but I can understand why the government did it, it’s purely political.”
Trevor Abrahmsohn, director Glentree
“Increasing the Stamp Duty from 7% to 12% (effectively) is a massive increase and will surely stop the market in its tracks since the cost of selling and buying will become prohibitive. Less liquidity, less SDLT receipts.
“A person selling a £2 million house wanting to trade up to a £4 million house will not only need an extra £2 million but a further £450,000 to pay for the tax (plus estate agents and solicitors fees) which is simply too much for most.
“They could spend the £450,000 on extending their existing home that will buy them at least 1500-2000 sq ft of new space. They could then sell the property and make a handsome tax-free profit.
“This sector is on its knees in London and cannot take a further ‘clubbing’. If the Chancellor is expecting SDLT receipts from this market he will be ‘whistling for it.’”