Why 2015 was a year to remember

Written on 21 December 2015 by Alistair Boscawen in Company Updates


The past 12 months have seen rising house prices and increasing consumer confidence drive mortgage lending to a seven-year high, but 2015 did not start on such an upbeat note. Here, we look back at how Best Gapp kept you up to date with developments in the property market affecting Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Mayfair and the other exclusive areas of London we operate in.

January

Best Gapp warned that the Labour Party’s threat to introduce a mansion tax on residential homes worth more than £2m would have a severe impact on the property market in prime central London if Ed Milliband (remember him?) won the general election.

February

best_gapp_officeSoaring property values mean there are now 400,000 owners of homes in the UK worth £1m or more, with more than half of those seven-figure residences being found in London.

Land registry figures revealed 160 families a day became ‘homillionaires’ over the past 12 months and experts were saying that the rate of property millionaire households will reach nearly 200 a day in 2015.

March

As politicians started gearing up for the general election, the mainstream parties revealed plans to tackle the UK’s housing crisis. The Conservative Party promised to deliver 200,000 new homes on brownfield land by 2020 – double the number previously promised by the coalition government.

April

Phones4U billionaire John Caudwell unveiled plans for a £2bn apartment block in Mayfair. We reported that the Audley Square House development would include 30 super-prime flats and townhouses

And that a planning application for the 200,000 square feet neo-classical project on the site of a 1960s multistorey car park was with Westminster Council.

May

Following the Conservative Party’s surprise victory in the General Election, estate agents were saying the price of homes at the upper end of the London market could increase by 20% in the next year. Less than 24 hours after the polls closed, estate agents were reporting a marked increase in enquiries from international investors.

June

We reported the average asking price of homes for sale in London had jumped 17% since the general election. The rise was put down to owners of multimillion pound homes putting them on the market.

July

Research by Halifax revealed that Kensington & Chelsea was the most expensive place to buy a home in Britain. Residential property in the royal borough costs an average of £11,635 per square metre, nearly six times the national average of £2,033 per square metre.

Chancellor George Osborne came under fire after he used the first Budget since the Conservative Party’s election victory to announce that tax relief for buy-to-let landlords will be reduced from up to 45% to 20% by April 2020. The only good news is that the tax changes won’t start until 2017.

August

A scheme to convert the Grade II-listed Pantechnicon building in Motcomb Street, Belgravia, into a retail and dining space moved a step closer after owner Grosvenor Estates received the go-ahead for its plans.

We reported that the redeveloped building’s will contain a basement suitable for a café or bar, the ground floor, double-height mezzanine level and interconnected spaces on the second and third floors will offer open-plan retail space and the creation of a glass terrace on the roof will provide a second area for eating and drinking.

September

Asking prices for homes coming on to the market in England and Wales rose to a new record high. Property website Rightmove said the average asking price of a home in the UK had increased by 0.9% over the month to hit £294,834.

Meanwhile, Nationwide announced that a record high of nearly four out of 10 homes were purchased without the need for a mortgage in the first quarter of this year.

October

A report from consumer consultancy company Global Blue revealed that when wealthy overseas visitors splash out on luxury goods in London’s upmarket stores and boutiques, the chances of them buying property in areas such as Mayfair and Knightsbridge increases.

Spending on luxury goods in London stores by visitors from Saudi Arabia was up 28% since the start of 2015, according to Global Blue, while residential property sales in prime central London to Saudi purchasers jumped 18% year-on-year.

On the other hand, residents of Nigeria spent 12% less in the capital’s luxury boutiques in 2015 when compared with the previous 12 months, while their spending on London homes is also down 15%.

November

Landlords accused the government of trying to kill the buy-to-let sector after Chancellor George Osborne announced that anyone buying additional properties from April 2016 will pay an extra 3% in stamp duty land tax.

December

Some things never change. Rumours that interest rates in the UK will definitely increase in 2016 grew louder last week after US central bank the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate for the first time in nearly 10 years from a range of 0%-0.25% to 0.25%-0.5%.

Here at Best Gapp, we wish you a very happy festive break and look forward to continue helping our clients fulfill their property ambitions throughout 2016 and beyond.

Just finally, we’d like to remind you that our Elizabeth Street office closes from 12 noon on 23 December to 9am on 29 December. Over the New Year, our office will be closed from 5pm on 30 December until 9am on 4 January 2016.

Alistair Boscawen

Alistair has 32 years’ experience as an estate agent, starting in the country house department of one of London’s main international agencies before moving to the Knightsbridge house department of the same agency and learning the difference in values between freehold, long lease and short lease houses in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Chelsea and Mayfair.

All articles by Alistair Boscawen

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