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London housing market shows signs of resilience

James Bailey, Chief Executive of Henry & James writes about the resurgence of the London housing market as investors turn to bricks and mortar for added certainty.

One of the beauties of the London housing market is its underlying resilience. Property in prime central London is so inherently desirable that, even when the market wobbles, for whatever reason, it very soon stabilises.

We have noticed definite signs of resurgence and a return to the stability which people naturally associate with the capital in recent weeks. During an unusually active July and August Henry & James have sold and agreed numerous deals, 50% of which have been off-market properties, and this looks set to continue with a busy start to September.

The weaker pound is starting to have a real impact, with more and more investors taking the long-term view and choosing to invest in bricks and mortar. There is hardly a street across Belgravia, Knightsbridge or Chelsea without at least one property that is being renovated by forward-looking owners.

Things are also looking up in the rental sector where, for a period, over-supply was threatening prices. With the busiest time of the year for lettings now in full swing all the signs are that, in prime central London, the sector is stabilising and will enter 2018 in rude health.

If only the Chancellor of the Exchequer could see his way to reduce  stamp duty on properties at the top end of the market – a course which more and more Tory backbenchers, are urging him onto – we could see the recovery in the market firmly entrenched by the end of the year.

We are not going to go mad and predict a major boom in the London housing market. But talking to investors, both from the UK and overseas, we are confident that the market is far more robust than many would have you believe.

  • James Bailey is the Chief Executive of Henry & James, Belgravia and Chelsea’s premier estate agent for residential sales and lettings (