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Well it wasn’t a particularly inspiring budget for property. Two measures made headlines – both ostensibly designed to help those struggling to board the housing train. The price at which a property becomes liable for Stamp Duty (SDLT) was permanently raised to £300,000 for first time buyers. And the Government’s Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme received a £10bn injection. The private investor was offered little comfort.

So small stamp duty savings will be made but hardly enough to make much of a difference to first time buying power. As for Help to Buy, could the Government be feeding the beast that will eventually grow to devour values?  Whilst well meaning, it has long been argued that Help to Buy has only driven demand and exacerbated affordability. The sustainability of prices (I hesitate to say values) must ultimately depend upon genuine affordability supported by economic growth, job security and simple confidence in the future.

But affordability levels across the UK – as measured by the house price to earnings ratio – are undergoing a fundamental redistribution. In London prices are on average 14.5 times higher than annual earnings – more than ever before (source: Hometrack). Although the capital is registering price increases of 3%, this is largely driven by the suburbs. Many commentators expect London prices on average to remain static for a couple of years as prices adjust. That said, there are still likely to be postcodes which move ahead of the rest. In 2017, Clapton (E5) stood out as the fastest growing post code at 5%, closely followed by Stratford, Haringey, Islington and Stockwell.

Contrast the large regional cities. This year, we have seen the country’s biggest cities outside of London outpace price growth in the capital. Manchester prices have risen by 7.9% and Birmingham by 7.3%. Here affordability levels are in line with the 15-year average. Whilst we have seen cautious but continued interest in London assets in the auction room, investors are waking up to the opportunity further afield. The promise of higher yields and greater capital growth has seen properties in the regions increasingly catch their eye. If growth remains robust and unemployment continues to fall, the regional cities could continue to be today’s smart buys.

Allsop is offering over 250 lots on 14 December. The auction will take place at The Cumberland Hotel on Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7DL. The catalogue can be viewed online.

Notes to editor

Gary joined Allsop in 1987 and was invited to join the Partnership in 1991. Since then, he has been head of the Residential Auction Department with Chris Berriman. The department is now the largest residential auction house in the UK and sells up to 2000 lots each year to a value of around £400 million.

Gary is vice chair of the RICS Auctioneering Group, a member of the RICS Auction Legal Review Group and a former member of the RICS Estate Agency Group. He is past chair of the RICS Agency Skills Panel and past chair of the ISVA Auctioneering committee.

Gary is the author of many articles in regular trade press, a frequent speaker at professional conferences and a regular charity auctioneer.


If you would like to get in touch with Gary, please contact him: or +44 (0)20 7344 2619