Publicity } word from the street

SOMETIMES IT'S GOOD TO BE SHORT! March 2017

We have embarked on 2017 with one eye looking to Europe and the other focussed on America. The events of the past few months will impact upon London and it remains to be seen how our politicians will handle our exit from the European Union and our relationship on the global stage with America's new President.

Closer to home it is hard to determine how these changes will affect London's economy and its property market. In the immediate term London will be waiting to see how institutions and the City react. One hopes that the EU's Chief Negotiator, Michel Garnier's desire to maintain a special relationship with the City of London post Brexit will be realised. He will no doubt be keen to avoid any financial instability. In the meantime we are seeing an increase in inflation as the pound dips driving up the cost of imported goods. Yet, there are signs of optimism too as the economy has strengthened since the Brexit vote achieving 0.6% growth in the quarter following the Referendum. One of several indicators fuelling the economy is January's 12 year high in car registrations.

Clients will be watching and waiting before embarking on buying property. It would be fair to say that the new SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) hit London hard and especially at the top end of the market. However, prices had become inflated and last year's correction has brought them to a more realistic level.

One way of dealing with the current uncertainty whilst keeping a toe in the market is to consider purchasing a short lease property. The lower capital outlay has attractions especially as a second home (hit by that extra 3% stamp duty) and whilst one can usually top up the lease straight away (with the vendor co-operating by serving Notice on the freeholder) the more canny buyers are watching the market and extending when they perceive values are at the point of going up again. It is a good opportunity to buy a property in two stages - effectively taking a loan free mortgage from the freeholder! Many of Belgravia's stucco apartments are held on short leases by its landlord, Grosvenor, and they can make a very attractive proposition.

We of course look forward to a new and positive relationship for Britain and especially London post Brexit. London continues to be a vibrant global city. It has much to offer and will continue to do so for years to come.