The past 12 months have seen a lot more highs than lows as rising house prices and increasing consumer confidence drove mortgage lending to a seven-year high. Here, we look back at how Robert Holmes kept you up to date in 2015.
The property market received a double dose of good news in the New Year when reports of the Bank of England warning inflation was likely to fall below 0% increased speculation that its base rate will dip below the current historic low of 0.5%.
This led to some mortgage deals available in January being 41% cheaper than 12 months ago, while in February speculation that the BoE would keep its base rate on hold at 0.5% until mid-2016 became a widely-reported expectation.
In the same month, the average price of a home in the UK rose 2.1%, according to third-party property portal Rightmove.
Chancellor George Osborne came under fire in March after he used the Coalition government’s final Budget to announce measures that would allow tenants to sub-let privately rented property.
As the build-up to the general election gathered momentum in April, the Office for National Statistics reported that the pace of annual house price growth fell across the majority of the UK.
However, the Conservative Party’s surprise general election victory in May delivered a much-needed shot in the arm to London’s luxury property market.
More than £100m worth of prime property in central London changed hands the day after the polls closed as fears over the effect of the Labour Party’s proposed mansion tax were laid to rest.
One estate agent is reported to have said: “My mobile lit up like a Christmas tree once the election result became known. The phone vibrated and flashed all day and didn’t stop until it ran out of juice.”
Data released from the Land Registry in June showed property prices in London increased by an average of 10.9% over the previous 12 months.
Chancellor George Osborne came under fire again in July after he used the first Budget since the Conservative Party’s election victory to announce that tax relief for buy-to-let landlords will be reduced from up to 45% to 20% by April 2020. The only good news is that the tax changes won’t start until 2017.
Despite this, the property market became hotter than the summer of 1976 in the months that followed the general election.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders announced £20bn worth of home loans were approved in August – 12% higher than August 2014 and the highest since the credit crisis reared its head in summer 2007.
This followed the disappointment of Andy Murray losing to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Wimbledon Championships but worse was to happen at about 6.45pm on Sunday 2 August when Wimbledon Windmill lost a sail, which smashed through the Grade II* listed structure’s roof.
Better news arrived less than six weeks later when we reported that the landmark site on Wimbledon Common would reopen on Saturday 12 September, albeit without its sails.
Land Registry figures released at the end of October showed house prices in London were rising by an average of £5 every hour.
Landlords accused the government of trying to kill the buy-to-let sector in November after Chancellor George Osborne announced that anyone buying additional properties from April 2016 will pay an extra 3% in stamp duty land tax.
Some things never change. The year drew to a close with predictions being voiced in December that 2016 will be the year when the Bank of England raises its base rate for the first time since July 2007.
Those voices became louder last week after the Federal Reserve in the US raised its key interest rate for the first time in nearly 10 years from 0%-0.25% to 0.25%-0.5%.
Before we wish all of our landlords, tenants, vendors and homebuyers, a happy festive holiday and prosperous New Year, Robert Holmes & Co would like to point out that its offices in Wimbledon Village will close at 2pm on 24 December and reopen at 9am on 28 December. Over the New Year, we will close at 2pm on 31 January and reopen at 9am on 2 January 2016. In the meantime, have a fantastic holiday.