The turmoil of 2016 may have passed, while the uncertainty of 2017 is spiralling beyond all expectations. But for one agency a strong finish to the preceding year has prompted its staff to sound a positive note.

Real estate giant JLL, which has offices in Canary Wharf, the City and Stratford , ended 2016 on enough of a high to be optimistic about the housing market in 2017.

“The end of the year is usually a quiet time in the residential property market, but activity in December was much greater than expected, with an increased number of buyers registering and new instructions coming to the market,” said associate director at JLL Canary Wharf Michael Whittaker.

“We are seeing a higher number of owner-occupier buyers – some 70% compared with 40% before March 2016. Interest is predominantly coming from young professionals under 40, who are either first-time buyers or second-steppers, working either in the City or creative sectors.

“Post EU referendum, the majority of activity during the second half of 2016 has been in the under £600,000 market, but in December, there was a flurry of activity in the £900,000 to £1,250,000 bracket, especially across Canary Wharf.

“There is still a wide choice of available stock in the E14 area, ranging from properties that would suit first-time buyers to large penthouses.”

The firm said it was a similar story elsewhere as Olympic regeneration and transport infrastructure exerted their influence.

JLL Canary Wharf’s Michael Whittaker

JLL Stratford property consultant Jack Arkell said: “The last three months of 2016 saw strong activity in the Stratford residential sales market, with a good level of buyers and a large number of sales agreed, as well as new property being brought to market.

“The majority of buyers have been owner-occupiers working in the City or Canary Wharf who are drawn to the area for its fantastic transport links, ongoing redevelopment and prospective capital growth.

“Since the 2012 Olympics and with the completion of the Elizabeth line on the immediate horizon, the east London corridor has become increasingly attractive to savvy buyers and investors. Overall, the continually changing landscape of the area means the outlook for Stratford is extremely positive.”

Towards the centre of town, however, it was a story of overseas buyers taking advantage of a flagging Pound.

Head of City residential at JLL Neil Short

“The referendum vote had a particular impact on the City, but the last quarter of 2016 showed encouraging signs for 2017 with a flurry of exchanges, enhanced by the weakened Sterling,” said JLL head of City residential Neil Short.

“There’s uncertainty in the City, but with companies un-freezing their hiring, we expect more investors taking advantage of strong rental demand and an increase in interest from the owner occupier market.”

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