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London Property Market 24 February 2016

The Smart Move

The window to avoid the 3% stamp duty surcharge on second and Buy-to-Let homes is closing fast, and the flurry of sales is definitely slowing as deals agreed now may not complete before 1st April, says Cory Askew, Executive Director of Chestertons.

Many agents are complaining that some deals will be held up in the conveyancing process, as property investors demand priority to ensure their purchases complete with incurring the extra tax being added to the price. Conveyancing solicitors and surveyors are struggling to keep up with demand, and agents are pushing harder than ever to make sure deals get across the line in time.

However, sellers shouldn't panic. We predict that many home purchasers, and first-time buyers in particular, have merely been biding their time, preferring not to compete with investors and putting off their property searches until March and April at the earliest. When these buyers return to the market it's likely they will sustain the ongoing demand for homes across London, once the mini flurry of activity from investors keen to beat the stamp duty hike has subsided.