Camilla Dell

Q.Q: What are your predictions for the 2011 property market? Will there be more stock? When is a good time to buy?

A.The prime central London property market has constantly suffered from a shortage of stock, and our advice for potential buyers looking for a home is to focus on finding and buying the right property rather than the price. In terms of prices, we don’t anticipate any significant price falls in central London this year. Yes, the market does face challenges – mortgages are still extremely difficult to access, and taxes, VAT and stamp duty are all going up next year. However, price falls are likely to be limited in central London, where the buyer profile is very international, and there is a constant lack of supply. In addition, recent reports suggest that a significant proportion of bank bonuses are likely to be spent on London property next year. With prime property in the capital yielding between four and five per cent and borrowing costs at three per cent, rents rising at their fastest pace for years, and the high prospect for capital appreciation, a buy-to-let property is a far more attractive investment than leaving your money on deposit.

Q.How will the changes to the congestion charging zone affect property prices?

A. We don’t see that the changes will have any significant impact on property prices. (For full details of the new chages, see However, some buyers, who once were intent on living in areas within the congestion zone in order to benefit from the 90 per cent discount, may now decide to live elsewhere. When the congestion charge first came in, there was a lot of speculation that roads in Kensington and Chelsea would benefit because they would be less busy, but this never actually materialised. Ultimately, the draw of living in a good location, regardless of whether it is in the congestion charging zone or not, will far outweigh the downside of having to pay congestion charge.

Camilla Dell is the managing partner of Black Brick Property, the finding agent.