As prime Surrey estate agency celebrates 50 years in Virginia Water this year, Partner James Wyatt muses the year ahead: "At the end of 2014, I predicted that the FTSE 100 would end 2015 at 7125. It is clear that my crystal ball needs a serious service. "The price crash in commodities and oil during 2015 has laid waste to my prediction, and therein lies the rub when it comes to predicting where the property markets may be headed - we just don't know what might be round the corner.
Despite worldwide woes, the UK property market has been hit over the last year by a staggering array of extra stamp duty taxes by our Government. Receipts are forecast to be down by nearly £1bn this year - mainly as a result of 10-12% lower transactional levels. The top end of the market (over £5m) is in the slaughterhouse with 12% stamp duty killing off the golden goose. So there are several issues to watch in 2016.
Impact 1 - Buy-to-let 3% extra on purchases. Another Government stab in the back for those investing for their retirement. Watch very strong sales up to £300,000 in Q1 then listen to the tumbleweed...
Impact 2 - Interest rates The US have moved. We are likely to see our base rate shift up in Q3 or Q4. Despite its inevitability, the increase will spook just about everyone with mortgages.
Impact 3- Brexit I sit on the wall about this but an exit would end the UK's position as a grand world influencer. The £ and property would suffer.
The good news is that 10% deposit mortgages are back and so 2016 will see a strong first time buyer market in most areas. Major towns and cities outside London may see prices increase by 10%.
The Home Counties will be hard hit in the £2m+ market. Expect to see modest price increases of 2%. Over £5m prices will remain static as buyers factor in a 5% increase in stamp duty.
London - will - probably be nursing a property hangover for all of 2016. It's a rocky road ahead. Make sure your seatbelt is on!"For more information on these predictions contact James Wyatt on 01344 843 000 or visit