London property prices are in a rut, with the market facing additional headwinds from higher taxes, along with a warning from the Bank of England that U.K. home values could fall as much as 30%, depending on the way the impending Brexit is carried out.
In a report, Bloomberg list four overlooked areas that tell a more dire story of the London housing market than has previously been told.
Hidden Price Falls
Apartment units in projects nearing completion are selling for up to 25% less than the reserved value, the news agency reports, citing broker MyLondonHome as a source.
“Those vendors that have sold at a loss are hidden from the public eye,” said MyLondonHome managing director Andrew Griffith. At present, he says, the broker sells on approximately 15 of the contracts a month.
These numbers fail to be represented in official government housing data, as only the original price agreed when the market was in boom mode is recorded.
A report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), is cited as suggesting that London home prices are at a record low. Each real estate office sell an average of 8 homes every three months now, while some are shuttering outlets to cut costs. Sales are at the lowest level since RICS began compiling the data in 1994.
Crest Nicholson Holdings Plc, a residential developer, has shuttered its London division. Countryside Properties Plc, a housebuilding an urban regeneration company, is shifting focus away from London and the southeast of England, as is Berkeley Group Holdings Plc.
Data cited in the report, compiled by researcher Molior London, shows that new home sales are on track to fall by 25% this year. The number of unsold completed properties surged by close to half.
Homebuilders are being forced to diversify.
“The price-to-earnings ratio in Birmingham is less than eight, whereas in London it is just under 15 times,” said Stephen Conway, quoted by Bloomberg. He is executive chairman at Galliard Homes, which is developing homes in the U.K.’s second-largest city. “In Birmingham, the lower prices mean you have got no stamp-duty problems.”
As for Telford Homes Plc, rentals are becoming the main focus.
An additional stamp-duty tax for overseas buyers (for homes in England and Wales) is being considered by the government. Tax hikes have resulted in a decline of interest from Asia, which has led to developers offering more incentives.
These include Black Friday discounts of as much as 50,000 pounds (RM267,000), to seal deals.
Some offer to pay part of the stamp-duty bill for buyers, and the search for buyers has gone global, widening its net beyond the usual markets of Hong Kong and Singapore, to include Saudi Arabia, among others.
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