Stephen Stout, Executive Chairman, Landmark Information:
“With the arrival of the new Prime Minister, Mr Johnson has already stated his intentions of injecting a long-overdue boost in to the UK’s property market.
This is certainly welcome news to help revitalise what is currently a flat market, which is down by around 5% when compared with the same period last year. Brexit and prohibitive taxation has certainly made its mark and HMRC is already estimating that July will be significantly down compared to this time last year.
The impact of such stagnation is not only felt in consumers but the entire economy surrounding a property move; a great example being conveyancing firms where consolidation has seen a reduction of approximately 10% of the number of firms compared to just five years ago. Of course, consolidation is for a number of reasons but the stagnating property market is surely a major factor.
The Prime Minister is considering abolishing the Stamp Duty levy on homes worth less than £500,000, which he has said is “choking the market”. In doing so, it is reported that around 300,000 property buyers would no longer need to pay the duty – equating to almost three quarters of all residential sales becoming exempt from the charges.
This move, if it were to happen, would help unlock the sub-£500k market. If we look at Government figures from the first quarter of Q1 alone, there were 146,500 reported transactions – of those only 21,400 were for transactions on properties £500,000 or over, showing the impact this change would have.
As far as I’m concerned, any step to rejuvenate the market should be considered a matter of urgency and will be welcomed by all. Here at Landmark, we are working hard to help property transactions complete faster and with greater certainty. Our range of services and tools that support property lawyers, estate agents, mortgage intermediaries, lenders and surveyors are continually evolving to ensure data and technology are delivering efficiencies, with the overall aim of reducing the number of failing chains.
If the Government is able to kick-start the process by revising the duties related to the transaction process, the shackles will be removed in many thousands of purchases, and in our book, will be a positive step forward. We await the next Budget with great anticipation.”