UK property tax reform boosts middle market, agents data suggests

Taylor Scott International News

Stamp duty reforms in the UK announced at the start of December 2014 helped to boost the middle market and encourage prospective home buyers, according to the latest National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Housing Market Report. NAEA member agents recorded the highest level of registered home buyers per branch in December for 10 years, while agents reported they saw a rise in the number of properties sold in the bands of up to £250,000, and £251,000 to £925,000. The data shows that the number of house buyers registered in December was on average 360 per branch, the highest level for this time of the year recorded in the last 10 years. The last time the number of house buyers registered per NAEA member branch was this high for December was in December 2004, in which 360 house hunters were similarly recorded. The NAEA says that the seasonally high figures suggest the changes made to stamp duty announced in December helped to encourage prospective buyers in a typically quieter month for the housing market. In addition, NAEA member agents reported some positive movement in the middle market, with 19% saying that they saw an increase of sales of properties in the £251,000 to £925,000 band, while 11% saw an increase in sales of properties up to £250,000. ‘Reforms to stamp duty was one change that NAEA members predicted would influence the market this year, and from our latest housing market survey it seems that we are starting to see the initial impact of these changes,’ said Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director. ‘December is typically a quieter month for the property market however it would seem prospective home buyers have been left feeling encouraged, while agents have also reported activity in the middle price mark picking up. The changes are obviously in the beginning stages of giving the market the boost it needs, making buying more affordable for many,’ he explained. The NAEA said that another promising sign was the slight increase in percentage of sales made by first time buyers in December. NAEA member agents reported the percentage of sales made by first time buyers increased from 24% of total sales in November 2014 to 26% in December. Out of those sales made by first time buyers in the month, almost half, 48%, were aged 18 to 30, suggesting a higher proportion of younger first time buyers had been encouraged onto the market than the previous month when just 38% of sales were made by first time buyers aged 18 to 30. However, the property market shouldn’t get too ahead of itself just yet, the association warns. While there was uplift in the percentage of sales made to first time buyers and a seasonally high number of eager house hunters on books, the number of houses available for sale on NAEA member agents’ books in December did not… Continue reading →

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