Property News: Impact of abolishing tenants’ fees

David MatthewsTenants will be delighted at the announcement last week that administrative fees to tenants are to be banned, effective immediately. Whether costs to landlord might increase as a result is yet to be seen. Our view is that anything that can be done to improve transparency in our business has got to be positive. Flushing out the less scrupulous of our industry is what all good agents want to see happen. For tenants worried that this policy will result in an increase in rents, fear not, we can’t see this happening. We think that the industry is going to innovate around this to the benefit of tenants and landlords.

We are looking forward with anticipation to the completion of Heritage Lane (a.k.a. West Hampstead Square). We are reliably informed that the first two blocks will complete in late January and have been approached by landlords looking to let flats in these blocks. Having had a number of tours of the scheme, we love the specification, especially the unusual choice of brass fixtures and fittings as opposed to the normal chrome. A heritage finish for Heritage Lane, so to speak.

We are also agents on the commercial units at Heritage Lane and have seen huge demand from local businesses and healthcare practitioners for space. To compliment west Hampstead’s new M&S, due to open early next year, we are excited to add more to West End Lane’s growing commercial offerings. We recently secured Gails and soon look forward to announcing another ‘tasty’ addition to the high street….

David Matthews
Dutch & Dutch
174 West End Lane
West Hampstead
NW6 1SW
020 7794 0075
moc.h1506158718ctudd1506158718nahct1506158718ud@of1506158718ni1506158718

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Brexit tests the nerves of West Hampstead property market

David MatthewsIt won’t be a surprise that it’s been a testing couple of weeks for London property. Tenants, buyers and indeed sellers have gone “a little quiet” to quote an understated fellow West Hampstead estate agent.

The post-referendum market feels very unnerved by the decision to leave the EU. Commercial property funds have been closing their doors, house builders’ shares have seen big falls and locally there are examples of buyers pulling out of purchases or re-negotiating the price.

This is of course all a fairly predictable outcome given the result of the referendum. After all the prime minster predicted house price drops of up to 20%, which was never going to instil confidence in a market already starting to feel a change in the wind. As it happens, we haven’t seen anything like 20% falls and most buyers are proceeding with fairly modest single figure percentage discounts at most.

The outcome of the referendum has been the catalyst, crystallising changes in the market that were already taking root. Stamp duty increases and the removal of mortgage interest relief were already putting downward pressure on prices, which of course was the intention of these policies in the first place. So no bad thing there, at least for the first-time buyers who are the intended beneficiaries.

However, Brexit uncertainty has potentially so many more wide-reaching consequences. How it will affect the property market in London is unknown. Only when the exit route is laid out and we have some idea what an independent UK will look like, will we be able to predict the impact on demand, supply, house prices, rents, housing policy and so on. Until then there will be a lot of questions on people’s minds: Is now the time to move? I was thinking of upgrading, is now the time to get a bigger mortgage? Is now the time to sell my investment flat? Are prices going to fall further?

What is certain is that it is uncertainty causing the problems. The route to EU exit is pretty unclear and there is no one at the helm. In time this will change, a new prime minister, and perhaps a new government, will take control, the fog will gradually clear and the market will find its feet.

The good news is that many young people still place huge importance on buying their first home. This week, we agreed the sale of a one-bedroom flat in NW6, at the asking price, to a first-time buyer who is very excited at the prospect of owning her first home–a desire too strong to be eroded by current economic and political uncertainty.

David Matthews
Dutch & Dutch
174 West End Lane
West Hampstead
NW6 1SW
020 7794 0075
moc.h1506158718ctudd1506158718nahct1506158718ud@of1506158718ni1506158718

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