Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Brokers Hope London’s Vanishing Homebuyers Will Reapppear

Home brokers in London, faced with a cooling property market, are hoping that the end of the national election will bring back buyers.

Fewer than 7,200 homes were sold in London in January, 26 percent less than a year earlier, as the city’s property price rally stalled, the Land Registry said Thursday.

“Uncertainty ahead of the election, that’s a very big driver” on sales volumes, Numis Securities Ltd. real estate analyst Chris Millington said. That’s because of “the potential imposition of mansion tax, what personal taxation’s going to be.”

The Labour Party has promised to introduce a tax on the most expensive U.K. homes and impose a levy on bankers’ bonuses if it wins the vote. The value of houses and apartments in London were mostly unchanged in March compared with a month earlier, according to the Land Registry.

Income from sales commissions fell 12 percent to 15.5 million pounds ($24 million) in the first quarter from a year earlier, Foxtons Plc said Thursday. That was less than the 26 percent drop in the previous quarter, the property broker said.

“Sales transactions in London have remained relatively flat since the end of last year, with many potential buyers and sellers apparently delaying their decisions until the outcome of the general election is known,” Nic Budden, chief executive officer of Foxtons, said in a statement.

Countrywide Plc, the U.K.’s largest home broker, said the number of homes sold through its London & Premier unit fell 14 percent to 1,201 in the first quarter from a year earlier. Revenue fell 14 percent at LSL Property Service Plc’s London-focused broker Marsh & Parsons.

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