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Wilford says the former chancellor’s tax hike is proving more ‘restrictive’ the higher up the market one goes. ‘Buyers would rather stay where they are and dig up a basement or extend sideways than pay a million’s worth of stamp duty to move house,’ he adds.
The sellers suffer, too, he says, as they’re the ones ‘taking the bitter pill of either accepting
the offer which encompasses the additional stamp duty or not selling the property’. Such
effects have dampened the Kensington and Chelsea market, where the west London specialist says prices have dropped by 9-12 per cent in the past year: ‘There’s no point in putting it on for the same price as a similar house traded out eighteen months ago — that’s being in denial.’
However, Wilford, who has recently sold half a Victorian villa in Holland Park, notices that transactions are taking a turn for the better this year. With more than eighteen years’ experience in the industry, he likens it to Lehman’s collapse in 2008: ‘Sooner or later the public just get bored of uncertainty and they need to move.’
Clients are the biggest motivators, the firm’s founder says, as he recalls one commending that he ‘outperformed the big corporates’ on a competitive sale. It’s worth the struggle he puts in daily, he says, juggling between chasing deals and catching up with his three-year-old toddler.