Property sales slump after introduction of stamp duty surcharge but estate agents say buyers are queuing up for quality homes in good areas
A dramatic fall in the number of properties sold between March and April does not signal the end of the property boom, say estate agents.
Garton Jones Nine Elms Estate Agents says 94,370 properties changed hands in April, down from a record high 164,400 transactions in March as buy-to-let investors rushed to complete deals before the higher rate of stamp duty on second homes came into force.
At 70,690, the number of residential properties sold in April was the lowest for three years and down 14.5% when compared with April last year.
However, South London estate agent Eden Harper – which has branches in Brixton and Battersea – says the sharp reduction in transactions is not unexpected.
A spokesman says: “The month of March was particularly hectic because buy-to-let investors were keen to complete deals before a 3% stamp duty surcharge on second homes was introduced on 1 April.”
The factors that have contributed to rising property values in London and south-east England remain in place.
Even in a strong market, most sellers want to achieve the highest price in the shortest possible time.
Waiting months to receive an acceptable offer can not only be frustrating but could jeopardise the purchase of a new property.
Wimbledon estate agent Robert Holmes & Co says moving house often involves the new owners wanting to put their own stamp on the property.
This is worth bearing in mind when selling property. It is, therefore, advisable to present a blank canvas to viewers by carrying out a spot of redecorating.
This should involve changing brightly coloured walls, skirting boards and coving to neutral shades of white or cream.
Next, carry out minor repairs that may be needed in the kitchen or bathroom and take steps to let as much natural light as possible enter the living areas.
Even if your living room is not light and airy, ditch the thick, dark curtains and replace them with window dressings in a lighter material.
First impressions count when selling a home, so take care to improve your property’s kerb appeal.
This can be achieved by keeping any grassed areas trimmed, repainting exterior woodwork and planting tubs of flowers near the entrance.
By mowing the lawns, cleaning any grimy or tired-looking brickwork and cutting back overgrown trees or plants, you will give the impression that your sale property is low maintenance.
Sometimes the simplest things can help improve a home’s kerb appeal. Moving the car out of the drive, for example, ensures the view of the property is unrestricted and viewers have somewhere to park.
The price is right
Many property sales take longer to complete than sellers expect because they are over-priced.
Before approaching an estate agent, go online and do some research into what similar homes in your area have sold for in the past 12 months.
But bear in mind that every home is different and even flats in the same block do not always sell for the same price, particularly if one has a parking space or an extra bedroom.