Property buyers and sellers in Wimbledon will benefit from the government’s decision to put its planned privatisation of the Land Registry on hold.
The Land Registry, which has recorded the ownership of property since 1862, was due to be sold off as part of a strategy drawn up by former Chancellor George Osborne to raise £5bn by 2020.
Details of the sale were expected to be included in the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, which was launched in Parliament earlier this month.
Although the Bill reveals how the government proposes to support more housebuilding, increase the amount of local say over the development of land and speed up the compulsory purchase order system, there is no mention of the Land Registry’s future ownership.
A government source explains: “No decision has been taken on the future of the Land Registry. A consultation on the Land Registry’s future closed in May and we are carefully considering our response. It is only right that new ministers take time to look at all their options before making a decision.”
Opponents of the Land Registry’s sale point out that none of the options in the consultation document set out a framework for customer complaints or how any new owner would be held accountable for errors.
The British Property Federation adds that the Land Registry currently has a customer satisfaction rating of 94%, although steps could be taken to make the service even better, such as preventing criminals laundering illegal money from buying land or property.
However, the Land Registry’s good reputation around the world is one reason why many overseas investors feel safe and secure buying property in Wimbledon.
What does the Land Registry do?
Although the registry is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, it operates as an executive agency and a trading fund.
In 2014/15 alone, the Land Registry cost almost £261m to run, but it generated £297m of revenue.
How? The Land Registry holds a record of land and property ownership worth more than £4 trillion, including more than £1 trillion of mortgages. The Land Register contains more than 24.5 million titles, which show evidence of ownership, covering more than 88% of the land mass in England and Wales.
For a fee anyone can inspect the register, find out the name and address of the current owner of any registered property or obtain a copy of any registered title.
This service is most commonly accessed by conveyancing solicitors when carrying out legal searches on the behalf of property buyers to verify ownership and ensure there are no other factors affecting the ownership of a property for sale the buyer should be aware of.
UK House Price Index
The Land Registry’s data is also used to produce the UK House Price Index (HPI), which is calculated by the Office for National Statistics and the Land and Property Services Northern Ireland.
The new HPI, which was launched in June and replaces indices that were published by the ONS itself and the Land Registry for England and Wales, places particular emphasis on the Land Registry’s price paid dataset.
The prices reflected in the HPI are the final transaction prices, so valuations such as remortgages are excluded from the figures, leaving just owner-occupation and buy-to-let.
Other details gathered by the Land Registry include the date of completion, the full address, the type of property, whether it is new-build or not and whether the property has been purchased with the help of a mortgage or was a cash-only deal.
The benefits of the Land Registry remaining in public ownership are clear. However, if you require an accurate up to date valuation of how much your property in Wimbledon, Wimbledon, Coombe Hill, Merton Park, Kingston Hill, Putney, Southfields, Wandsworth or Raynes Park could be worth, contact Robert Holmes & Co today.
Our property valuations team has an in-depth knowledge of the local property market and helps homeowners maximize the value of their property.