New homes in London: the race is on for a Christmas property deal as prices are slashed and stamp duty discounts are on offer

With builders aiming to sell the few homes remaining within this year's new developments, buyers can take advantage of slashed prices - and discounts on stamp duty, legal fees, parking spaces and even furniture packs.

London’s homes market is alive, but not exactly kicking, except in isolated pockets such as Crossrail route hotspots. The cost of stamp duty, the curbs on interest-only mortgages and overpriced new-builds have been keeping buyers away.

​This atmosphere gives developers the jitters. By November, they are eager to sell and clear the books on the year’s projects before the new year brings a wave of fresh launches. 

Compared with a year ago, transactions are down in 31 out of 32 London boroughs, the exception being Barking & Dagenham, according to estate agents Portico. “There is demand, but only where buyers see value,” it says. 

Buyers are becoming very picky. Small houses and flats with little storage and poor layouts are being turned down. Agents say sellers are setting the price, but buyers are making offers, and this is where negotiations start.

TAKE A TOUR: THE NEW-BUILD LONDON HOMES WITH DISCOUNTS ON OFFER

 


“London is a city of two halves at the moment,” says Peter Rollings, chief executive of estate agent Marsh & Parsons. “At the top end, buyers are cautious. At the mid and lower range of the market, there is good activity when properties are priced correctly.”

Buyers and sellers need not fear a property crash, believe experts. Over the medium term, price rises in London will be steady rather than heady. While there are more people than houses available there will always be a market — at the right price.
 

 

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From £806,995: Fulham Riverside, a redevelopment of the former Kops Brewery. Call 0844 811 4334


The latest Land Registry figures show that higher stamp duty charges introduced earlier this year are clearly taking a toll. Homes in the price-sensitive £1 million to £2 million bracket have been hit hardest, according to property data firm LonRes, which reveals that 22.5 per cent fewer such homes changed hands in London during the three months to September. 

Transactions in the £2 million to £5 million price band were down 16.9 per cent.

Prices have been cut on 35 per cent of prime London homes on the market, with 365 properties having had their asking price reduced by £250,000 and, in some cases, much more.

Prime central London is no longer red hot, and there are fewer overseas investors wanting to buy into high-spec, high-priced tower blocks. This has created an oversupply — and the slowdown is spreading beyond central London to cheaper districts.

Since the stamp duty changes, buyers of homes worth less than £937,000 pay less tax, but those buying more expensive properties face a far higher bill.

Affluent families looking at a £93,750 stamp duty bill to trade up to a £1.5 million house are staying away, calculating that the same sum would fund an extension if they stayed put.
 

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From £350,000: Waterside Park at the Royal Victoria Docks in East London. Call 0844 811 4321


Builders are on the back foot: it’s time to haggle  
New-home builders are on the back foot and there are deals to be done right across the price spectrum, especially at schemes where there are only a few homes remaining. 

Developers like to clear away the “fag ends” in order to move on to the next big regeneration zone on the up. Of course, most developers are  reluctant to announce price cuts, preferring to dress up discounts in the form of stamp duty and legal fee refunds, furniture packs and deposit-paid deals.

But don’t let that stop you haggling hard on the price. Parking spaces — costing anything between £10,000  and £100,000 — are an obvious  bargaining chip. Be businesslike, act quickly and don’t get stuck in a chain, though part-exchange deals are available, too. 

For many buyers, Christmas is the deadline to complete the transaction and, with more than six weeks to go, this is still possible. So have your mortgage finance lined up and your solicitor ready to act.



THE LAST NEW-BUILD HOMES STANDING
1. Fulham
At Fulham Riverside — a redevelopment of the former Kops Brewery — stamp duty savings of up to £37,200 are available on flats priced from £806,995. The open area facing the river has a central communal podium garden, and there is underground parking, concierge, gym and waterfront café. Call 0844 811 4334.

2. Lewisham
Stamp duty deals are also available at 780-home Renaissance, in Lewisham town centre, where only 11 two-bedroom apartments remain for sale. The flats are on the 14th floor or above, so the views are good. Prices from £455,000. Call 0844 811 4334.

3. Putney
At Putney Rise, Barratt is offering a 12-month sale-and-leaseback deal that may appeal to buyers who want to delay their move for 12 months. A two-bedroom furnished flat, priced at £690,000, comes with a six per cent rental return.

4. Wandsworth 
A whopping £214,875 stamp duty saving is being offered on a £4.2 million new house at Spencer Park in Wandsworth. Call 020 7228 7474.
 

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£749,950: savings at Rosewood House in Storrington, West Sussex. Call  01306 730822


5. Hendon
The Lawns, Hendon, is a scheme of Edwardian-style mansion flats set in communal gardens with a tennis court. All homes have sold except for the £1.7 million show flat, which has been reduced to include furnishings worth more than £100,000. Call Regal Homes on 020 7328 7171.

6. Edware Green
At Edgware Green, in north London, four-bedroom houses aimed at young families stepping up the property ladder cost from £670,000.

7. Royal Victoria Dock
Waterside Park, at Royal Victoria Dock in east London, has one-bedroom apartments priced from £350,000 that come with stamp duty paid. Call 0844 811 4321.

8. Greenwich
In Greenwich, an area of spectacular river walks and architecture, stands Greenwich Square, a hospital redevelopment by Hadley Mace, which is paying stamp duty on townhouses priced from £825,000. It’s an incentive worth at least £31,250. Call 0800 077 8177.

9. Rotherhithe
Barratt is offering incentives at several schemes where homes are ready to move into. Furnished penthouses at 19-storey Oslo Tower, Rotherhithe, cost from  £795,000 and come with a parking space and stamp duty contribution. Call 0844 811 4334.

10. Commuter bargains
In the village of Storrington, West Sussex, developer Martin Grant Homes has cut the price of the remaining five-bedroom Rosewood House home from £875,000 to £749,950. Call 01306 730822.

But Buyer beware...
You have to ask yourself why a flat or house is the last one left on the shelf. You need to be sure what you are getting and not be totally driven by a property’s apparent bargain price.
 


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