It was only a matter of a few days ago that the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced the abolition of Stamp Duty for purchases of up to £300,000 for first time buyers. Since then, we have been waiting to see how the dust settles. We have also been seeking out the views via Twitter of our professional Estate Agency colleagues-so a big thank you for the feedback from Allen Residential, Cherry Tree Estates and Barons Property.
From our offices here in Midsomer Norton, it is fair to say that we are unable to report of rejoicing and dancing in the streets below at the surprise news. However, there is some cautious optimism, even though the main hurdle to the first time buyer has not been properly addressed.
Rebecca Robinson is the Head of our busy Residential Property team.
‘The sad reality on the ground is that there are many people in their twenties and thirties who simply cannot afford to get on the housing ladder,’ reports Rebecca. ‘I see what is happening to many friends my age or younger. They are either still living with their parents or rent a property, even though renting is very often more expensive than paying for a mortgage.’
‘It all comes down to the high price of property, even for a basic two-bedroom house or flat,’ adds Rebecca. ‘The deposits demanded by most lenders is simply way beyond the reach of most first time buyers. They may be able to afford the actual mortgage payments if they had a mortgage. However, the main problem is being able to afford a deposit in the first place. For many couples, unless there is financial help from parents or grandparents, getting on the property ladder remains a dream. If buyers still cannot afford the deposit, the reduction in Stamp Duty is somewhat academic.’
Some feedback from local estate agents indicates concerns that the move by the Chancellor may even lead to a rise in prices.
‘Anything to make it easier for first time buyers has to be welcome,’ says Rebecca. ‘The move on Stamp Duty is certainly a positive and therefore has to be welcomed. It still is very much early days. However, the local feeling does seem to be that the effect of the change is still uncertain and it is now a matter of just waiting to see what happens to the market. Watch this space!’
Rebecca Robinson can be contacted at email@example.com or on 01761 414 646