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Spotlight: Prime London & Country 2017

It's a rare moment when we can say that the prime housing markets beyond the capital have performed better than London. But that has been the case since the middle of 2014.

The introduction of higher rates of stamp duty and a 3% surcharge for additional homes have shaped the prime market. Increased exposure to capital gains tax for international buyers cooled the prime central London market, while Brexit uncertainty compounded this effect across the prime London market as a whole. The surprise UK election announcement will add to the uncertainty in the short term, but is unlikely to change the shape of our forecasts.

In State of the Market, Katy Warrick looks at the situation for buyers and sellers in London, and at what the future holds. Kirsty Bennison takes up the story beyond London. Although not immune to tax pressures, the prime suburban markets have been less exposed, resulting in modest price growth and some interesting emerging trends.

Clearly, sellers have had to adjust their expectations. In prime central London, there is evidence that the market understands this. In the rest of prime London, the market seems further from acceptance, meaning the gap between buyers and sellers expectations is wider. That is contributing to a greater pool of overpriced stock. Even if values do not fall much further in this market, sellers expectations of them will have to.

The resulting lack of liquidity in this market has had an impact on the flow of housing wealth leaving the capital for prime housing in the commuter zone. Lower price growth over the past dozen or more years in the prime housing markets of our regional cities and rural locations means the gap in buyers and sellers expectations is smaller and the market is more fluid.

We also look at property hotspots, identifying the high premiums that coastal and historic properties attract. We reveal London's position in Savills Tech Cities ranking, and preview the super-prime property market across central London, the Home Counties and private country estates. I weigh up the evidence and prospects for a future cut in higher-rate stamp duty. Looking ahead, the market will remain price sensitive during the next 18 to 24 months. Over time, political uncertainty will pass and the market will adjust to whatever tax environment it faces. That should set the platform for greater optimism and a return of more consistent price growth.

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