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London Property Market 17 December 2014

The future of London's residential market

More than 100 key players from the property industry joined Chestertons' exclusive breakfast briefing on 'The Future of London's Residential Property Market' on Thursday, 27th November at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Speakers included Terrie Alafat, the government's Director of Housing, Rob Perrins, Managing Director of Berkeley Group and Robert Bartlett, CEO of Chestertons.

Rob Perrins was forthright in his views: "I would love for the government to stop meddling around with taxes and let us get on with building to meet the current undersupply of homes. The government has talked about releasing brownfield sites to make available much needed land in the capital; what we really need now is action." Mr Perrins also demanded better collaboration with councils and faster decisions from them. Also of concern for the future is the potential exit from the EU and the consequences it would have on securing labour to meet the increasing demand to build more homes.

On the issue of the Autumn Statement and forthcoming general election Perrins made it clear that the best thing the government could do from his perspective was… nothing. Robert Bartlett added: "The general election is creating a nervous market environment, with buyers and sellers holding back on transactions to await the results, which could arguably lead to a short-term deflation. The angst from foreign buyers on the forthcoming capital gains tax is also having a further disruptive effect on the market."

Terrie Alafat highlighted the various initiatives the government is implementing to stimulate the housing market and address the issue of undersupply. One of the main challenges, she claimed is affordability in London and whereas the 'Help to Buy' scheme has been popular nationally, in London it had more impact in increasing the supply of properties than helping buyers onto the property ladder. Growing the number of shared ownership properties, building suitable homes for an ageing population and 'building to rent' are all on the government's list of priorities to tackle.

Robert Bartlett concluded that despite the challenges the market is facing, London's residential market remains robust with an increase in transactions of 15 per cent in 2014 and a very strong sales environment for new homes with 70% presold under construction. Over a five year period, Chestertons predict property values to rise by as much as 40 per cent and rental values 24 per cent.

After the event, guests were invited to stay at the Royal Academy of Arts to enjoy the current art on display.