London property: Expensive streets, new-build leaseholds and Brexit progress

The new year is now upon us, but there was still plenty going on in the world of property towards the end of 2017.
Here’s a quick round-up of some major recent pieces of property news.

London dominates list of most expensive homes

A report from Lloyds Bank has revealed exactly where the UK’s £1 million-plus homes are located – and, unsurprisingly, they are mostly to be found in the capital.

Grosvenor Crescent, slap bang in the middle of affluent Belgravia, was revealed to be the most expensive residential street in England and Wales, with a typical property value of £16,918,000.

Three of the top five priciest streets can be found in Belgravia, while the second most expensive street is Ilchester Place in Holland Park, which has an average house price value of £16,700,000.

All of the top six most expensive streets are located in the Prime Central London areas of the City of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.

Survey reveals frustrations with moving home

A survey has found that 62% of homeowners believe that moving home has become more difficult over the last decade. The cost involved with the process is also preventing many current homeowners from selling up.

As well as the cost of moving, other potential barriers included high stamp duty, a lack of suitable homes, rising house prices and affordability issues.

By contrast, the main motivating factors were: moving to relocate to a better area and moving to purchase a bigger property. For families, the main motivator was to be close to good schools, while for those aged 55 and above it was downsizing.

Sales of new-build homes as leaseholds to be banned

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that the government will ban the practice of new-build homes being sold as leasehold. This revelation came as the government outlined its response to the consultation on leasehold reform.

Legislation will be implemented to stop the sale of new-build homes as leasehold except in those situations where it’s necessary – for example shared ownership homes or those built on land with specific restrictions.

Javid will also make it clear to developers that the use of Help to Buy equity loans for leasehold homes should be strongly discouraged before the legislation comes into play, while developers who have customers currently paying ‘onerous’ ground rents should ensure they are properly redressed.

In addition, the government insisted it would introduce measures to make sure ground rents on new long leases will be set at zero (for both flats and houses). Existing leaseholders will also be supported with the process of extending a lease or buying a freehold made much less burdensome.

Brexit talks move on

Not strictly property-related, but Brexit negotiations have an impact on all parts of life and it was pleasing that some progress was finally made in December.

EU leaders agreed to move Brexit talks to phase two – and the outlining of a new trade relationship between Britain and the EU – after sufficient progress was made on the first phase of negotiations.

There remain some questions over the three main issues of the opening negotiations – namely the Irish border, the divorce settlement and citizens’ rights – but it’s positive that a step in the right direction has now been taken.

Getting everything sorted by March 2019 – the proposed date for withdrawal – is still likely to prove challenging, but progress to phase two should at least provide us all with a bit more confidence that uncertainty won’t reign forever.

For more help and advice on buying or selling a home in London, please get in touch with Atkinson McLeod.

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