Latest London Property News

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London home prices jump as pound drops

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London House Prices Surge to Near Record as Supply Shortage Helps Sellers

By Svenja O'Donnell

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Miles Shipside, commercial director at Rightmove Plc, discusses London home asking prices, which surged to a near record this month. Average asking prices in the U.K. capital rose 2.5 percent from January to 449,252 pounds ($710,300), less than 1,000 pounds below the record reached in October, the operator of Britain's biggest property website said. Shipside speaks with Owen Thomas on Bloomberg Television's "Countdown." (Source: Bloomberg)

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Peter Damesick, chief Europe, Middle East and Africa economist at CBRE Group Inc., discusses investment in London property by non-European buyers. He speaks with Andrea Catherwood on Bloomberg Television's "Last Word." (Source: Bloomberg)

Asking prices for London homes rose to close to a record in February, helping push national values up the most in almost a decade, Rightmove Plc said.

Average asking prices in the U.K. capital rose 2.5 percent from January to 449,252 pounds ($710,300), less than 1,000 pounds below the record reached in October, the operator of Britain's biggest property website said in a report today. Prices in England and Wales rose 4.1 percent on the month, the most since April 2002.

"Confidence in bricks and mortar in the capital seems set to continue, with 'seller-power' twice as strong in London compared to the rest of the U.K.," Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, said in a statement. "Upwards price- pressure is likely to be maintained in 2012."

A lack of supply is helping to prop up prices, while an increase in retail sales in January and better-than-expected services and manufacturing surveys suggest Britain won't plunge back into a recession. Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said this week the economy should "gradually" recover this year.

The number of new property listings in London fell 9 percent in January from a year earlier, Rightmove said. This is an "early indication that shortage of sellers and upwards price pressure will again feature in 2012," it said.

Nationally, home prices rose 1.4 percent in January from a year earlier to an average 233,252 pounds. In London, the annual price increase was 4.3 percent.

Capital Leaders

The London districts of Richmond-upon-Thames, Kingston- upon-Thames and Wandsworth recorded the largest monthly increases in asking prices within the capital, Rightmove said. Nationally, all 10 regions of England and Wales tracked by the company showed asking prices gained. The southeast led the increase, up 6.9 percent.

While Britain's economy shrank 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter and unemployment held at a 16-year high of 8.4 percent, U.K. retail sales unexpectedly rose for a second month in January. Meanwhile, manufacturing returned to growth in January and expansion in services accelerated.

"The onset of the spring moving season generally leads to more ambitious pricing of properties coming to market, partly due to estate agents vying for new seller instructions," Rightmove said. Search activity on the company's website "indicates a pent-up desire to move that out-weighs the uncertain economic outlook," it said.

In a separate release today, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said that while U.K. gross mortgage lending fell 14 percent to 10.5 billion pounds in January from the previous month, it was up 10 percent from a year earlier. A seasonal decline is expected in January, the London-based CML said.

"Should inflationary pressures continue to fall back, the squeeze on household finances should ease progressively and help support stronger economic recovery going into the second half of the year," CML chief economist Bob Pannell said in the statement. "This can only be good news for the housing market further down the track."

Article on London property

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London house prices will grow by 6pc this year. House Prices continue to slide- except in London

London house prices will grow by six per cent this year, CBRE has predicted. The firm's latest research reveals that average house prices in prime central London have already grown by 35 per cent in the last 3 years and are now 16 per cent about the market peak in 2007. Read more...

UK 2012 Budget updates - Property focus

A brief update on UK's 2012 Budget announced last week, along with a property focus. Please contact our Tax Manager at for any UK Tax or VAT queries.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

The Chancellor promises to clamp down on stamp duty avoidance. Key measures include:

  • A massive 15% SDLT will take effect on Mar 21, 2012 for residential properties over £2m brought into a corporate vehicle.
  • From Mar 22, 2012, a new SDLT rate of 7% on residential properties over £2m is to be introduced.
  • Effective from Mar 21,2012, new rules to be introduced to clarify that grant/assignment of an option cannot satisfy the requirements of SDLT sub-sale relief. (Sub-sale relief was originally intended to ensure that, where a property transaction happens in stages, SDLT is paid once on the full amount paid for the property by the person who ultimately acquires it and no double charge arises.)

Capital gains tax

To support the above, capital gains tax will apply where "enveloped" vehicles (e.g. companies) dispose UK residential properties.

Enhanced capital allowance

Enhanced capital allowances to be available from 1 April 2012 to taxpayers located in the following areas:

  • London Royal Docks Enterprise Zone
  • Designated sites in Scottish enterprise areas, including Irvine, Nigg and Dundee
  • Designated sites in Welsh enterprise areas, including Deeside in North Wales

(ECAs enable a business to claim 100% first year capital allowances on their spending on qualifying plant and machinery.)

Individual tax

Top rate of 50% income tax rate to reduce to 45% from April 2013.

Corporation tax

To support a more competitive tax system, main corporation tax rate to fall to 22% by April 2014 (i.e. down from 24% in April 2012 and then 23% in April 2013).


Correction of certain VAT anomalies/loop holes, e.g. applying VAT to the provision of self storage facilities and to approved alternations to listed buildings from 1 October 2012.

General Anti-Abuse Rule

The government is stepping up on introducing the General Anti-Abuse Rule to tackle artificial and abusive tax avoidance schemes. A consultation document will be issued in summer this year with a view to bringing forward legislation in next year's Finance Bill. Importantly, it has now been announced that the government will extend the GAAR to include SDLT.


More government consultation to take place in 2012 particularly around the role REITs play in supporting the social housing sector.

Investment in UK student housing will exceed $3 billion this year

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Google to develop new headquarters at London's Kings Cross

(Reuters) - Google Inc. is developing a new UK headquarters which could be worth as much as 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) when finished, the latest overseas property deal for the cash-rich U.S. Internet group. Read more...


Crossrail could help create £5.5 billion in added value to residential and commercial real estate along its route between 2012 and 2021 according to new research for Crossrail by GVA, the UK's largest independent commercial property consultant. Read more...

New tax regime could result in influx of French buyers in London, agents believe

The London property market could seen an influx of French people looking to rent or buy as a result of Francois Hollande winning the election as he has promised to increase taxes. Read more...

Budget 2012: stamp duty on £2m homes raised to 7%

The 7% rate equates to a £140,000 tax bill on a £2m house, as Osborne announces measures to clamp down on avoidance. The chancellor staged a tax grab on wealthy homebuyers by raising stamp duty on homes costing £2m or more to 7%, and attempted to slam the door shut on "morally repugnant" tax avoidance by hitting those who buy such properties through a company with a punitive 15% charge. Read more...

London house prices hit record high of £351,305 as buyers besiege market

>London house prices have hit an all-time high after a remarkable new year surge. Homes in the capital changed hands for an average of £351,305 in January, topping the previous peak of £351,233 in January 2008, according to official Land Registry figures. Read more...

Property insider: Paddington

Paddington is one of the fastest growing residential hotspots in the capital. With a new Crossrail station on the way, Notting Hill and Bayswater on its doorstep and the West End within strolling distance, this well-connected suburb is attracting homebuyers and investors from across the globe. Read more...

London set for property boom in wake of French and Greek elections as rich buyers flood to the UK to escape euro crisis

Estate agents are expecting a flood of buyers from the Continent if the euro is left unstable by elections in France and Greece. Experts say the price of property in some of London's most exclusive areas is already being fuelled by an apparent exodus of the rich to the UK. Read more...