June 30, 2014
-- Flats to rent and flats for sale in Central London have long been seen as a safe investment for the world's elite, with buyers spoilt with the choice of either living in the property; using it as a occasional base; renting it out on a permanent basis, or even leaving it empty with the prospect of handsome price appreciation.
However, the strength of sterling, capital gains tax to be paid on any profit made by an overseas owner of UK property and a new, lower £500,000 stamp duty threshold applicable to homes bought through a company - attracting a tax rate of 15% - are all factors threatening to derail the steam train of interest from international buyers.
While property commentators and the national press busy themselves with what might happen to foreign investment in the capital's property market, a different audience of flats for sale in Central London are breathing a sigh of relief. Winkworth Central London estate agents are once again being flooded with enquiries from UK nationals and those living permanently in London, sensing a change in landscape among the capital's mansions blocks and new build developments.
When Central London becomes too pricey or unattractive in the investment sense for overseas buyers, home-grown purchasers and tenants can take advantage of the rebalancing. House price growth in Central London has been supported by foreign investment since 2008 but, as figures from Nationwide indicated in June 2014, the rate at which house prices are rising is slowing down. Still, during the first quarter of 2014, house prices in London rose at an annual pace of 18% - almost twice as fast as the rest of the country. Yields on rental properties are also relatively low in Central London - close to 3% when compared to 8% or more in Southampton, Manchester and Nottingham.
The building picture is one of opportunity for UK residents hoping to secure an address in the capital. So long pushed out by the strength in numbers and the cash wealth of international purchasers, an exit of overseas buyers will prompt a recalibration in Central London.
There could be an adjustment of property prices due to an influx of flats for sale in Central London (http://www.winkworth.co.uk/search/list?geoLocationType=cu...
) - whether that's overseas owners choosing to sell their UK property portfolio in a climate of rising prices, or an oversupply of flats that are not being bought by international purchasers in the first place.
The landscape is also finely poised for those searching for a flat to rent in Central London. There may be a number of landlords wishing to realise their property's price appreciation by selling on the open market, which could lead to a shortfall of flats to rent. However, this could be immediately cancelled out by UK buyers who are themselves looking to become landlords in a market that still offers strong long-term prospects.
Winkworth Central London estate agents (http://www.winkworth.co.uk/regions/central-london
) agree that any exodus of overseas money will not cause the flats market in London to collapse. Far from it, there will be a number of home-grown buyers and tenants waiting in the wings to take their place.