There have been some interesting reactions to the budget changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax; changes that have clearly been targeted at the London market, but will have impact on transaction levels at the top of the market right across the United Kingdom.
Many agents in prime central London have already noticed significant numbers of deals, some with long chains, falling out of bed. Buyers in the form of offshore companies in particular have attempted to soften the 15% blow by reducing offers by 10% and not surprisingly, sellers have withdrawn. A number of commentators have already started prophesying woe and doom, saying that although the Olympics may have some short-term impact, the collapse of the Prime Central London Market will "ripple out" to the South East as a whole and further suppress the market in the rest of the UK. Others are claiming that as the London market was principally driven by gangsters and crooks seeking a money laundering outlet, it is no bad thing that they may be steered elsewhere.
It is highly probable that the shortage of supply will ensure that the Prime Central London market continues to flourish despite the notional high levels of SDLT. What will be interesting will be to see if there is any spreading of that activity into prime central Oxford. To date there has not been the same level of Pacific Rim money and Oil Money buying in Oxford as there has been in Prime Central London, but with the secondary drivers of education and de-urbanization for the young family, we might expect to start to see activity from that quarter in the very near future.