IS IT A GOOD TIME TO BUY?

BUYING OR SELLING PROPERTY? SOME GOOD NEWS – AND SOME BAD NEWS …

There’s been a bit of good news for the property market of late.

It’s no secret that there’s already been significant pressure on the Government to consider a change to legislation on Stamp Duty. Many feel first-time buyers – already struggling with spiralling prices – simply can’t afford to shell out even more to cover tax due on house purchases over £125,000.

Some want to see the threshold raised to better reflect the average asking price of a house in 2017 while others have suggested it ought to be the seller not the buyer who pays. Both could lift the burden a little and even help rejuvenate a flagging market.

The Good News …

At last, its seems the lobby has made some in-roads with back-benchers in Parliament who are now reported to be applying pressure on Chancellor Philip Hammond to include some form of concession in his November Budget.

It’s by no means cut-and-dried of course. There will probably have to be quite a bit more to-ing and fro-ing in the corridors of Westminster before anything is confirmed – but at least it’s a step forward because, earlier this year, the Treasury seemed more or less determined to ignore all calls for change.

But, then …

The Bad News …

After a long period of stability – which has helped keep the UK’s property market ticking over despite global turmoil – the Bank of England has hinted that it may be forced to consider a rise in interest rates.

If it goes ahead, it’s an obvious blow for those who have a mortgage already as lenders are likely to follow suit – but it could also signal an end to some of the deals being offered to help first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder.

A rise wouldn’t necessarily have an immediate or a telling impact but it could be enough to stymie movement in the property market for a while. Sellers may opt to stay put rather than stretch their finances, possibly reducing the amount of new stock available.

Combine that with the clocks going back – a time of year when folk often manage to convince themselves (incorrectly) that homes don’t sell – and we could be looking at some of the positives inspired by changes to Stamp Duty being negated.

Our advice? Well, as ever, if you’re selling, now is as good a time as any – particularly if you want to avoid the risk that you might have to pay the Stamp Duty on your property yourself.

And if you’re buying? There could be some better deals out there in the short-term if enough sellers want to move swiftly but, after that, it’s hard to tell at this stage if you’ll be better or worse off. If the Stamp Duty burden is transferred to sellers, a first-time buyer could be looking at lower costs – but, that pesky interest rate rise could peg them back a little too.

But, as ever, if you’d like more advice on moving home, feel free to browse our earlier blog posts or please do drop us a line or give us a call. We’re happy to help if we can.

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