Tag Archives: sales

Stamp duty hike hits prime property market in UK, research suggests

Sales of homes worth over £1.5 million in the UK have reached a plateau and are set to fall for the first time in two years due to property tax change, according to a new report. This is despite growth in this price sector of 36% year on year from 2012 to 2014, says the latest market analysis report from national estate agents Jackson-Stops & Staff. ‘The wider UK residential property markets are reasonably buoyant now that we have the general election behind us and the uncertainties that any potential political changes bring,’ said Nicholas Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops & Staff. ‘However, the revision to stamp duty rates late last year has contributed to the widespread stagnation of the higher valued markets in 2015, both in London and the country, where many properties are finding it difficult to attract buyers,’ he explained. ‘Sale volumes have plateaued across the country in response to high transaction costs, reflecting the fact that the UK has one of the highest taxed property sectors in the world,’ he pointed out. Under new stamp duty legislation the value portion between £925,001 and £1.5 million has resulted in an additional 10% bill, and anything above £1.5 million added another 12% charge. ‘We have an ageing house owner population with too few younger entrants onto the property ladder. Mortgage funding is difficult to raise for people in their forties, even if they have been previous house owners, irrespective of their credit history,’ Leeming said. ‘We need to encourage trading down so that larger houses are released to families needing more space. The changes to inheritance tax will incentivise older house owners to trade down, but we also need to enable property owners to move without new restrictions to mortgage funding and reduce the top levels of stamp duty to free up the higher value markets at no net loss to the Exchequer,’ he added. Alastair Hancock, the firm’s director at its Sevenoaks office, revealed that over a third of available stock is priced in excess of £1.5million and this is due to a lack of incentives for buyers at the mid to high end of the market. ‘Since the stamp duty hike last December, we have seen a significant decline in volume of sales at this level as the 12% continues to penalise the country house market, which is still struggling to recover from the recession,’ he said. Continue reading

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US pending home sales at highest for over nine years

Pending home sales in the United States continued to rise in May and are now at their highest level in over nine years, the latest index data shows. Gains in the Northeast and West were offset by small decreases in the Midwest and South, according to the Pending Home Sales index from the National Association of Realtors which is a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings. The index climbed 0.9% to 112.6 in May from a slight downward revision of 111.6 in April and is now 10.4% above May 2014 when it was 101.9. The index has now increased year on year for nine consecutive months and is at its highest level since April 2006. According to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, contract activity rose again in May for the fifth straight month, increasing the likelihood that home sales are off to their best year since the downturn. ‘The steady pace of solid job creation seen now for over a year has given the housing market a boost this spring. It's very encouraging to now see a broad based recovery with all four major regions showing solid gains from a year ago and new home sales also coming alive,’ he explained. However, Yun warned that this year's stronger sales amidst similar housing supply levels from a year ago have caused home prices to rise to an unhealthy and unsustainable pace. ‘Housing affordability remains a pressing issue with home price growth increasing around four times the pace of wages. Without meaningful gains in new and existing supply, there's no question the goalpost will move further away for many renters wanting to become home owners,’ he added. The PHSI in the Northeast increased 6.3% to 93.9 in May, and is now 10.6% above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined 0.6% to 111.4 in May, but is still 7.8% above May 2014. Pending home sales in the South decreased 0.8% to an index of 127.8 in May but are still 10.6% above last May. The index in the West rose 2.2% in May to 104.5, and is 13% above a year ago. Continue reading

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UK flagship Help to Buy reaches 131 new home owners a day

The UK government’s flagship Help to Buy schemes have created 131 new home owners every day since April 2013, according to the latest figures to be released. Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said that the data shows Help to Buy is an important part of the government’s efforts to ensure anyone that works hard and aspires to own their own home has the opportunity to do so. Since the launch of the schemes, over 100,000 people have used the Help to Buy equity loan, mortgage guarantee and NewBuy schemes at a fraction of the deposit they would normally require. The data also shows that four out of the five of these were first time buyers and 94% of the sales were outside of London, alleviating concerns expressed at the launch of the schemes that they would not reach out to the most needy. Launched in 2013, the Help to Buy: equity loan and Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee schemes were set up to support people who could pay a mortgage, but struggle to save the deposits required by lenders following the financial crisis. The Help to Buy: NewBuy scheme offers 95% mortgages for those buying new build homes and the number of new home owners has reached 101,972. Overall since 2010, over 225,000 households have been helped to buy and reserve a new home through government-backed schemes. ‘The figures clearly show the continuing success of the Help to Buy scheme in supporting many credit worthy, hardworking people who want to buy their own home. Our long term economic plan has turned this country around from the one we inherited, now numbers of first time buyers are at their highest since 2007, house building continues to climb and over 225,000 households have been helped to buy or reserve property since 2010 through government backed schemes,’ said Lewis. According to Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, Help to Buy continues to drive demand for new homes, and its extension to 2020 is a huge boost. ‘That demand is being met by the house building industry which is increasing output at the highest rate for decades,’ he said. ‘With this support for buyers in place, house builders are planning greater investment in land, labour and supply chains to maintain and sustain this increased level of activity. Delivering more, high quality houses will provide the next generation with decent homes, create jobs and boost local economies across the country,’ he added. The data also shows that the average price of homes under the scheme is £213,954, well below the £271,000 UK average. The scheme has also brought down the average deposit needed. Some of the main towns and cities benefiting from the Help to Buy schemes include Leeds with 1,477 sales, Birmingham with 1,301 sales, Wiltshire with 1,242 sales, County Durham with 1,169 sales and Bedfordshire with 1,128 sales. The government has already announced the extension of the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme to 2020, to help… Continue reading

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