There are lots of icebergs bobbing about in the property ocean just at the moment, uncertainty is all around and as everyone knows, like all markets the property market hates uncertainty.
We’ve got; The prospect of a new Prime Minister, a more certain Brexit date of the end of October with even the threat of crashing out. We have the prospects of a General Election soon afterwards perhaps and with that the chance of a Labour Governtment led by Jeremy Corbyn. We have the economic turmoil that might froth around both Brexit and an Election, the Budget promised as soon as the new Prime Minister is takes office and the stream of cunning ideas that are being floated that might be included.
Most of these ideas are just kites, suggestions floated either to test a reaction or to generate one. Changes to Stamp Duty, more regulation for landlords, Rent Controls, more rights for tenants. Some may even make it through to a debates in Parliament and in the press. Any could impact on prices, rents, on sale volumes and on the tax raised from sales, on fees, on capital gains etc..
Many people have understandably asked if perhaps it would be most sensible to hunker down and wait until we get some clarity. Wait until the purchase tax that is Stamp Duty is reduced perhaps or even removed for homes up to £500k.
I’m not convinced. Whilst sellers may think that such changes could prop up values buyers, I fear, may face the prospect of bolder vendors expecting to be able to extract a bigger price. There is a market today but threats to yields introduced by rent controls, changes to how property might be taxed through some form of Land Value Tax perhaps and even the much mocked suggestion that the Capital Gains Tax exemption on principle private residences might be removed could seriously undermine confidence.
My advice to anyone thinking of moving is to get on with it. I expect things to become much less clear in the short term as we get to grips with new leadership and start to understand just how weak that leadership really is.