It came as no big surprise that there was a large rise in both transaction volumes and sales prices in the first quarter of this year, prior to the introduction of a new 3% stamp duty hike on second homes in April 2016.
According to Turnbull Property, in prime London alone, £141.5m was paid in stamp duty in Q1 2016, up 9.9% from Q4 2015 and 32.6% from Q1 2015. The firm reports in its April 2016 Monthly Market Bulletin that: 'Comparing Q1 2016 to Q1 2015, transactions (in Prime London) were up by 9.3% and the average price paid was 15.4% higher at £2.2m. Much of this uplift in activity has been driven by the rush to complete additional home purchases before the end of March.
'While transactions were up for the whole of Q1, the most noticeable difference came on deadline day. More sales were completed on the 31st of March than any day since the rules were last changed in December 2014, and more than double the number of sales for the last working day in March 2015.'
Despite the rise in property prices in prime London in recent years, Turnbull reports that a weaker pound is still offering some international buyers bargains in the capital. 'Average quarterly exchange rates from the Bank of England demonstrate
that a £5m property would have cost (US) $8.4m in Q2 2014, but is now (US) $7.2m in Q1 2016.'