The property market in wealthy Chelsea has stalled dramatically over the past couple of years as Brexit-induced political uncertainty puts off would-be buyers.
Figures from research company LonRes, quoted by the Financial Times, reveal there were just 251 transactions in 2017 compared with 500 in 2013.
The past 12 months saw 16% fewer transactions than the year before and 2018 will see the lowest number of trades since 2008, according to hybrid estate agent Yopa.
“The market was coming down for two years before June 2016, but Brexit has elongated and extended that, and we’re looking at four or five years rather than two or three,” said Matt Hodder-Williams, associate director at Marsh & Parsons.
Chelsea used to be a magnet for the affluent and the avant-garde, but many now complain the King’s Road has become homogenised.
“I don’t think the King’s Road even tries to hang on to its bohemian reputation. The Sloane Square end has a bit more to it and Duke of York Square is fabulous. Further down it’s just a procession of shoe shops,” Roarie Scarisbrick, a buying agent at Property Vision, told the FT.
There are efforts underway to revive the road and its surrounding area. Cadogan Estates is part way through a £500 million investment programme, which is focused on redeveloping Pavilion Road, a row of former stables that now houses artisan outlets.
“Stamp duty is the main villain. All the malaise, all the drama, goes back to those two stamp duty hikes,” said Scarisbrick.
So far, investment has failed to resuscitate trade in the residential market.
The average discount on properties sold this year is 10%, according to LonRes.
But instead of upping sticks, many of Chelsea’s homeowners are turning to the rental market, with lettings making up 85% of transactions this year, compared with about three-quarters in 2013, LonRes’ figures show.