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Lewis Nedas Law are London-based solicitors. Frequently rated in both Chambers UK and The Legal 500, we can help you or your business today. Tel: 020 7387 2032.

The Property Update; November Newsletter

black and white housesThe Lewis Nedas Property Newsletter is back!

We took a break over the Summer and the early Autumn, to assess the ramifications of the Brexit vote and its effect on the Housing Market. It is still far too early to say what the true effects are, because there have been so many other variables to consider (the drop in the pound being one such major variable). It's accurate to say that the market is much quieter and price growth is much reduced.

The London prime markets, i.e. Zones 1 and 2, have however seen a marked reduction in prices, a record average drop of over £100,000!

Fewer people are able to buy property; in fact the number of under 35’s who are property owners has decreased by 1/3 since 2011, to 334,000 this year. The U.K is now outside Europe’s top 20 countries for house sales.


Buy to Let Market

It's plain that there are issues on the horizon for buy to let investors; they will see less tax relief and less mortgage availability the supply of housing is on a rising curve and rents are increasingly unaffordable.

Additionally those BTL landlords who used a supposed loophole, which appeared to allow landlords (before the increase in SDLT in April this year) to transfer properties into limited companies in an attempt to avoid the increase in tax, are likely to come to the attention of HMRC.

Such a device is likely to fall foul of HMRC and tax avoidance legislation, and could easily attract allegations of both tax and mortgage fraud. It is anticipated that HMRC would assume that such transfers to limited companies were artificial structures.


Residential Property

We have seen the usual contradictory reports about the market - the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) report that confidence in the housing market is back to pre- Brexit levels and an increase in demand in September 2016, though in the same month mortgage approvals were markedly reduced (by 15%) when compared with September 2015.

There was also a slight dip in the number of residential properties coming onto the market, again when compared with last year.

Sales of homes are now taking longer than in 2015, in fact they are taking an additional month longer and it can take 91 days to secure a sale.

John Lewis report that new build / newly converted properties in this country are now the smallest properties in Europe, and are on average 92% of the recommended size.

Property Partners latest research suggests that it would take the average Londoner on an average salary of £34,000 faces a period of 121 years before they could afford to save the average necessary deposit to buy a property in London, if they are unable to rely upon the bank of Mum and Dad.

The drastic fall in the value of the pound has attracted increased foreign interest in the London market, but the canny US/Chinese/Middle Eastern potential purchasers would appear to be hanging back to see if any further falls in the pounds value would benefit them more.

Certainly they would also seem to be casting their nets wider than the prime London zones 1 and 2.

Those areas likely to be affected (or benefited by) Crossrail and HS2 are also of increasing interest, in particular to shrewd Chinese investors.

Additionally we have noticed that foreign investors have computed that because of the increased SDLT, it makes more economic sense to buy a number of smaller flats in areas such as Colindale and Hendon, rather than pay the same amount of SDLT upon the sale of one larger property.

Our specialist property lawyers have also dealt with a large increase in clients seeking advice about potential compensation as a result of HS2 expansion - Our very own Richard Greenby ( is the lawyer to contact in that issue.

This brings us neatly to the issue of the Third Heathrow Runway expansion, recently given the official go ahead by government.

According to reports this is likely to depreciate the value of properties in the area by 20%, some 783 homes are expected to be demolished. It is said, that government are prepared to pay a purchase price of 125% of the value of the property together with stamp duty and related fees, the likely cost of which is rumoured to be in the sum of £1.5bn.

It is also said to offer a potential boost to the construction industry to the tune of £18bn.


Commercial Property

Again this sector is experiencing some major changes, a great many investors have removed themselves from this market.

The 'gig' economy is also have a huge effect on the market, Young flexible companies do not wish to tie themselves up with lengthy commercial leases of 20 years, instead the average lease is now about 7 years and likely to reduce further.

Business centres that offer office facilities are increasingly in demand and are proving to be a lucrative investment.


Equity Release

This sector is still booming away and has increased by 1/3 over the last 12 months.

An interesting demographic change in the type of Equity Release applicants has revealed increasing demand not just those from the lower socio- economic demographic but also those who on paper would certainly appear to be wealthier (with properties worth £1 million plus) but who have reduced incomes.


If you require an advice / assistance with any of the above issues, please contact our specialist and highly skilled property lawyers on 020 7387 2032 or use our enquiry facility on

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London Property Market - A Real Opportunity for European Buyers

housing squareThe majority decision of the British electorate on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union heralds a new dawn in the property market.

The uncertainty created by ‘Brexit’ has created new pricing opportunities for buyers who may otherwise have been unable to afford their first property purchase and encouraged overseas buyers, attracted by the cheaper pound, to purchase an array of properties at the higher end of the market.

Moreover, those clients who are selling their main residence and buying a new one, are now exercising greater flexibility in their pricing strategy. By accepting in some cases a lower price on their sale and successfully negotiating a larger discount on their related purchase.

The British Government as well as the Bank of England have also issued important and decisive policy announcements to embolden the country’s economy in today’s new era. Macro-economic policy changes include the Chancellor’s recent statement that he intends to lower the rate of Corporation Tax to under 15%. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has also stated that the Bank will step up its monetary measures to increase overall levels of confidence in the nation’s economy. Parts of the British press also believe that Mr Carney has already signalled his intention to lower in the near future, perhaps by this August, the benchmark rate of interest from 0.5% to 0.25%.

At Lewis Nedas Law, we as a team of property professionals are geared up for this new frontier in transactions- as we offer a Partner led group of conveyancers who can act quickly to achieve your objectives.

We also act for overseas clients from a range of countries including France, Spain, Italy and beyond- who require a more hands-on approach and greater level of advice during the course of their transactions.

To our prospective French speaking clients, we say: Nous vous invitons à considérer notre cabinet d'avocats. Nous offrons un service amical et un prix compétitif.

To our prospective Italian clients, we say: Vi invitiamo a prendere in considerazione il nostro studio legale. Offriamo un servizio amichevole e prezzi competitivi.

To our prospective Spanish clients, we say: Damos la bienvenida a considerar nuestro bufete de abogados. Ofrecemos un servicio amable y un precio competitivo.

And to one and all, we say: Welcome to Lewis Nedas, where we offer a friendly and competetively priced service on a range of property transactions.


If you are about to embark on a property transaction, please call Richard Greenby, Senior Associate  in our Property Dept on 0207 691 4560 for a free quote, or complete our online enquiry form here.


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Wily Developers have been Outwitting London Boroughs when it comes to Affordable Housing'

affordable housing comicIt seems that London developers in London and the South East have been outmanoeuvring London Boroughs, not one London local authority has met it’s ‘affordable housing’ targets.

Affordable housing is defined as housing whose value is 20% less than the open market.

At the same time, there are 7,500 empty local authority properties in London and an overall figure of 21,000 lying empty when taking the private sector into account.

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More Warnings for those who buy former Local Authority Properties on Estates or High Rise Buildings

housesAfter decades of underinvestment, many local authorities are having to find huge amounts of money to fund major works, and purchasers have found themselves presented with huge contribution bills.

The Guardian reports that in Oxford, 50 local authority property purchasers have been presented with bills of £50,000 each) towards these major works - there are no 'right to manage ' provisions which are available to leaseholders in the open property market, and those who cannot afford to pay are finding themselves having to surrender amounts of their equity to the local authority in lieu of payment.

It's an expensive lesson, but before buying such a property, do your research and make sure that your solicitor asks the right searching questions of the local authority and their plans for the future.

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At Long Last, the Mortgage Market is Waking Up

Housing questionThe mortgage market has finally realised that people are living for longer and the majority of property owners are asset rich and cash poor, and likely to lose out at the older end of the market to Equity Release, which has seen a huge surge over recent years.

After the early horrors of the early Equity Release products, the current offerings are clear, comprehensive but expensive.

Smaller specialist mortgage lenders have been prepared after the last financial crisis to lend to older borrowers but now the mainstream lenders have entered that older borrower market.

The Nationwide are prepared to lender BTL investors up to the age of 105, and The Halifax will lend to residential borrowers up to the age of 85 years.

Young people now fully expect to have a mortgage during their working lives and into retirement and so the mortgage market had to react to this and dispense with their ageist policies of refusing to lend after 65 years of age.

What is the best choice - Mortgage (mortgage extension) or Equity Release?

Equity Release, as we have already said is undoubtedly more expensive but it prevents repossession of the property. The ER borrower remains in the property until death or removal to a Care Home.

There is also the 'no negative equity guarantee'; i.e. that a borrower cannot owe more than the value of the property.

The huge increase in negative equity is used by borrowers to: assist family to get onto the property market; pay for grandchildren’s university education; meet the cost of home adaptations so that the borrowers can remain in their homes or to pay off existing debts There also remains the issues of potential beneficiaries, many of whom are shocked to learn after probate that their parents have obtained Equity Release against the family home, often the main asset. It's best to ensure that all potential beneficiaries are made aware, in writing, of your ER intentions before you go ahead.

If on the other hand you have an income in retirement it would be cheaper to mortgage or extend a mortgage but there always remains the threat of repossession should you default.

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