The housing market in Westminster continues to face challenges. The number of house sales during 2015 was 15.4% down on 2014. The revision of the stamp duty system at the end of 2014 had a significant impact, with buyers often looking for sellers to lower their asking prices to offset the increased tax bill on the purchase.
Under the revised system, homes valued at more than £1.4m attract nearly 20% more in stamp duty, and for properties above £2m the tax bill is 54% higher. Second-home owners and buy-to-let investors also face an additional 3% surcharge on top of current stamp duty rates from April 2016.
Price rises slowed through 2015. Average prices in Westminster were 5.7% lower than in 2014. Nonetheless, average prices are still almost 70% above their pre-global recession peak in 2007.