Stamp Duty Frenzy Masks Acton House Price Uncertainty

Nearly a fifth of sales in second quarter were for over a million

A semi-detached house on Hale Gardens sold for £1,785,000
A semi-detached house on Hale Gardens sold for £1,785,000

A flurry of sales of houses for over a million pounds in Acton should not be taken as representative of the true state of the market according to local estate agents.

With the stamp duty reduction due to expire at the end of June many sales were rushed through to meet this deadline particularly of higher priced properties for which the tax saving was more significant.

In all eleven sales for prices in excess of a million pounds were processed by the Land Registry in the W3 postcode area in the second quarter of 2021. This represents nearly a fifth of total sales during the three month period, an unprecedently high proportion for the area. (Note – the figures in the table below do not include some of these sales).

As a result the average sale price for the period from April to June was £660,130 a 19.6% increase on the same period last year.

One local agent said, “After all great parties comes a hangover and we are currently dealing with the flip side of what has happened earlier in the year with transactions, particularly of larger properties, falling off a cliff. The problem we have is that the bog standard Acton terrace or local flats, whether new build or old, are not taking up the slack. The market for them has been quite moribund for some time.

“I think we might get a Crossrail related bounce in activity at some point in the next 12 months but other than that it would be a great time for estate agents to take a holiday (if holidays could be taken). Some might not have any choice as I think we will see some more industry consolidation ahead.”

The top priced sale in the most recent quarter was for a house in Hale Gardens near Twyford Crescent which changed hands for £1,785,000 just a few days before the expiry of the Stamp Duty deadline. A house on Avenue Crescent went for £1,715,000 and one on Twyford Avenue sold at £1,618,000.

So far this year 17 sales of new build flats have been reported by the Land Registry most of which are on Wilde House or Wiltshire House on Avenue Road.

Donald Collins of Go View London, said, “We are definitely sensing that there is a return to normality with more and more people returning to the office. Buyers typically who have entered our market in Ealing and Acton in recent years have been looking for spacious homes, near to parks and great schools and commutable from Central London - we have all the ingredients in the area to reflect London’s bounce back.

“We see that many offices are now re-opening in the City and requesting staff return at least 3 days a week in a lot of cases. We have seen a step up in both sales and lettings new registrations this month already compared to previous months to reflect this.”

Acton Property Prices (April - June 2021)
Area Detached Sales Semi-det Sales Terraced Sales Flat/
Sales Overall
W3 0 0 0 725000 2 640000 1 0 0 696667 3
W3 6 1485000 1 0 0 1026650 3 321237 8 594571 12
W3 7 0 0 827500 1 610000 1 362300 5 464143 7
W3 8 0 0 731000 3 817000 5 479024 10 614902 18
W3 9 1375000 1 1246010 4 0 0 562500 2 1069148 7
Total 1430000 2 945454 10 841495 10 411865 25 660130 47
Change in Quarter - - -6.6% -50.0% -8.6% -60.0% -9.5% -64.8% 0.5% -60.2%
Change in year - - 20.6% 0.0% -10.8% 66.7% -10.6% -55.4% 19.6% -36.5%
Change in three years - - 9.4% 0.0% 14.1% -50.0% -11.6% -75.5% 18.0% -65.2%
Change in five years - - -6.6% 11.1% -2.8% -16.7% 0.0% -63.2% 23.6% -47.8%
Change in ten years - - 72.8% -37.5% 69.1% -68.8% 60.2% -63.2% 81.7% -59.5%


The average price of a property in the UK was £265,668 at the end of June according to the Land Registry a rise of 13.2% over the year and 4.5% over the month. London’s rise was well below this level with prices in the capital up by just 6.3% over the year. The North West by comparison saw a rise of 18.6%

Between May and June 2021, UK transactions increased by 74.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis as volumes recovered from lows seen during the lockdown.

The Nationwide’s House Price Index suggests that the market paused for breath in July with prices falling by 0.5% compared with the previous month.

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said, “Annual house price growth slowed to 10.5% in July, from the 17-year high of 13.4% recorded the previous month. In month-on-month terms, house prices fell by 0.5%, after taking account of seasonal effects, following a 0.7% rise in June.

“The modest fallback in July was unsurprising given the significant gains recorded in recent months. Indeed, house prices increased by an average of 1.6% a month over the April to June period – more than six times the average monthly gain recorded in the five years before the pandemic.

“The tapering of stamp duty relief in England is also likely to have taken some of the heat out of the market. The nil rate band threshold decreased from £500,000 to £250,000 at the end of June (it will revert to £125,000 at the end of September). This provided a strong incentive to complete house purchases before the end of June, especially for higher priced properties. For those purchasing a property above £250,000, the maximum stamp duty saving reduced from £15,000 to £2,500 after the end of June.

“The stamp duty changes drove the number of housing market transactions to a record high of almost 200,000 in June as home buyers rushed to beat the deadline. This was around twice the number of transactions recorded in a typical month before the pandemic and 8% above the previous peak seen in March.

“For example, the number of transactions involving properties bought for £500,000 or higher increased by 37% over the 12 months to March 2021, compared to a rise of 2% for all properties. As a result, between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021 the share of transactions involving a property valued at £500,000 or above has increased from 12% to 18%.

“There has also been a shift in the composition of property types that have been transacting. Over the past six months the proportion of sales involving detached and semi-detached properties has increased, while the proportion involving flats has declined significantly.”

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September 23, 2021