Before we wish Eden Harper’s vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants a very happy festive period, we’d like to take this chance to look back on a very successful 2015.
While the past 12 months have seen rising house prices and increasing consumer confidence drive mortgage lending to a seven-year high, 2015 did not start on such an upbeat note.
Predictions that the Bank of England would raise its base rate from its record low of 0.5% were doing the rounds at the start of 2015, and in January we shared some tips from the Government-backed Money Advice Service about how to prepare for higher mortgage costs.
Interest rates may have remained static in 2015, but in February we reported that Lambeth residents were facing a 1.99% increase in council tax bills.
In the same month, Eden Harper announced it was supporting Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s crackdown on the cruel practice of backstreet dog breeding.
As politicians started gearing up for the general election, Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans in March to build 200,000 new homes for first-time buyers by 2020.
In the same month, fire ripped through the historic Battersea Arts Centre destroying about 30% of the first and second floors of the property, including the Grand and Lower Halls.
However, in April Eden Harper reported that the venue had been handed a £1m renovation grant.
The general election result in May delivered a much-needed boost to the property market. Eden Harper reported: “The feelgood factor has returned to the property market in Battersea and Brixton following the Conservative Party’s surprise victory in the general election.
“David Cameron’s return to 10 Downing Street promises to clear away the clouds of uncertainty that hung over the housing market in the months before polling day and create an increase in both demand for and supply of properties for sale.”
Not that property prices in Lambeth had suffered. In June, figures from the Land Registry revealed that the average value of a home in the borough was £534,304 after rising 11.9% in the 12 months to April.
June also saw Eden Harper announce our support for Brixton Windmill's Flour Power fund, which is looking to raise money in a bid to get the local landmark grinding again by 2016 - its 200th anniversary.
Chancellor George Osborne came under fire 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.
In August, London Mayor Boris Johnson announced that 100,000 new homes will be built on the Thames waterfront by 2020.
And London’s new riverside residents will be expected to commute to work by boat. Transport for London has unveiled proposals for new river bus routes and marinas that will see passenger numbers double from six to 12 million a year by the end of the decade.
Brixton received a boost in May when a new venue opened and by August POP Brixton was in fully up and running.
We reported this was a real foodie destination, but what makes this pop-up venture unique is it aims to support local jobs, training and enterprise.
In the months that followed the general election, the property market became hotter than the summer of 1976.
Research released in September showed that the average rent for properties let to new tenants in England jumped 3.8% in the past 12 months.
And back in October, we reported that £20bn worth of home loans were approved in August – 12% higher than August last year and the highest since the credit crisis reared its head in summer 2007.
But it is not just property buyers who are keeping Eden Harper busy. We said: “Our lettings department has been dealing with a record number of enquiries from both landlords and tenants seeking to let and rent homes in Brixton and Battersea.”
Brixton continues to grow and evolve, with work due to start on a £135m project to transform its Grade II-listed town hall due to start next month, as Eden Harper reported in November.
In the same month, landlords accused the government of trying to kill the buy-to-let sector 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 ended 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 forecasts became louder last week after US central bank the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate for the first time in nearly 10 years from a range of 0%-0.25% to 0.25%-0.5%.
Here at Eden Harper, we wish you a very happy festive break and look forward to continue helping our clients fulfill their property ambitions throughout 2016 and beyond.
Just finally, we’d like to remind you that our Brixton and Battersea offices close on 23 December and reopen at 10am on Tuesday 29 December. Over New Year, we close at 3pm on 30 December and reopen at 9am on Monday 4 January 2016.