Expert Comment: The London Magazine, November 2017
Seamus Wylie, director at Ayrton Wylie, SW1
I have been doing this for 26 years and it’s the toughest I’ve known the market to be. The main cause is stamp duty. One buyer recently worked out he would pay £600,000 in SDLT. With these wealthy people, it’s not an affordability issue. It’s about whether they want the property badly enough. When they hear the figure, they reel like a boxer after a right hook, then decide.
The UK isn’t as tax-friendly as it used to be. People would happily put their property in off-shore companies, but the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings makes that a less attractive option. Brexit is creating uncertainty too, although sterling is looking like good value for overseas buyers.
The properties we are selling distinctly show good value against others on the market. Big lateral space sells well, with high ceilings and prices in the realms of common sense.
Most vendors have realistic expectations about asking prices now, and if they have owned for five years or more, they will still make quite a nice profit. If they have bought in the last three years, they might struggle to get their money back.