While the surge in activity on property priced £1million and above has largely been attributed to the stamp duty increase (from 4% – 5% on properties priced over £1million), this is not the case for LDG.
Laurence Glynne, partner at LDG, said: "We did not experience a surge in completions from people trying to avoid the stamp duty increase. Instead, I believe the higher number of sales of property in excess of £1million is because we saw an increase of nearly 20% of people buying their main UK residence in the West End last year and as confidence has returned to the property market here, vendors have been more willing to put their homes on the market, in turn encouraging buyers.
"The West End has a very short supply of family properties so those looking to buy their main home here are often willing to pay a premium to secure a property that is right for them. A mixture of people are choosing to have their main UK residence in the West End – from families with young children, to professional couples to overseas buyers.”
It has been widely reported that there has been an increase in foreign buyers in the London property market but, contrary to this, LDG has seen the proportion of its UK buyers rise to 70% in 2010/11, from 57% the previous year.
Glynne said: "The increase in UK buyers is a positive sign that domestic confidence is returning to the property market – prices are steadily rising which is encouraging buyers to act.
"We are also seeing an increase in cash buyers who would rather invest their money in property in the West End, which is largely unaffected by national house price shifts, than receive little return on cash in the bank as a result of low interest rates.
"International buyers are still operating at the top end of the market, but despite the political turmoil in the Middle East and the natural disaster in Japan, we have not yet seen any evidence to suggest that we will see an influx of foreign buyers to the West End.”
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