London luxury home sales fall to seven-year low

Buyers turned off by new taxes
February 14, 2016 03:00PM

Luxury home sales in London’s poshest neighborhoods hit a seven-year low in January, with many buyers waiting and watching for changes from a pending stamp-duty tax.

A total of 167 existing homes were sold in neighborhoods in central London, including Kensington, Chelsea, Mayfair and Westminster last month. That’s 30 percent below the average volume for the time of year since 2010 and the weakest month since January 2009, according to data compiled by London-based broker Huntly Hooper cited by Bloomberg News.

“People are waiting to see what impact the stamp-duty change in April will have on the market,” Oliver Hooper, the broker’s director, told Bloomberg. “There’s a hold-off between buyers and sellers at the moment because of the discrepancy in pricing.”

Luxury sales have fallen since Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne increased the stamp duty transaction tax to as much as 12 percent for the most expensive properties in December 2014. And starting in April, investment properties and second homes in the U.K. are subject to a tax 3 percentage points higher than those purchasing a primary residence. [Bloomberg]Christopher Cameron