The Chancellor has announced a Stamp Duty holiday to take immediate effect and which will run until the end of the financial year. The details have been published and the official online Stamp Duty calculator has been updated so you can calculate the tax you will owe. SDLT is due on completion – unless possession has been taken or 90% or more of the price has been paid (the two triggers for ‘substantial performance’). the nil band rate which until today applied on the first £125,000 has been increased to £500,000 for any buyer. The additional 3% higher rate stillContinue Reading

You’d be surprised how many people equate ‘value’ with an asking price. It’s not hard to see why – agents call their pre-marketing pitches “valuations” and sellers often mistake of choosing an agent to sell their property based on the asking price they recommend. The asking price is all part of the marketing, it’s there to lure people to come and see the property. A good asking price should be viewed by a buyers “more than I’d want to pay but I guess about what I would expect”. Things that don’t count when working out what you should ask forContinue Reading

The market is open for business again but all people really want to know is what’s happened to prices?Continue Reading

The Government has unlocked the housing market and the sales and lettings agents are getting back to work. Advice on moving home, how to view a property and what agents should do has been published here.Continue Reading

Almost half of the questions I get at the moment is from people who have negotiated a deal and are moving towards exchange of contracts on their purchase and they’re reading that perhaps house prices may fall after the Pandemic. Time after time during the Live Q&A I did for the FT I was asked “Should the re-negotiate the price?” Some already have but “.. is 5% enough?”. So, if you were wondering too then here are my thoughts. Even The Sunday Times is begging to know. Carol Lewis makes the point “Those looking to renegotiate will be more likely toContinue Reading

The Bank of England has issued a pretty bleak warning that the economy is heading towards the mother of all recessions. The Bank’s latest Financial Stability Report makes for somber reading. The Bank’s scenario was consistent with a 16% drop in house prices. One in seven mortgage holders has taken a payment holiday so far. The number of new mortgage deals on offer had halved in just over a month. There has been a huge contraction in deals for buyers with a deposit of less than 40% In London the Q1 update from Lonres shows just how dramatic the LockContinue Reading

Lock down has been extended for another three weeks but even then it seems difficult to work out what might happen to the housing market, to transaction volumes and to prices. In past crisis the market has at least ticked over but for now there are almost no transactions making it as good as impossible to be confident about values. For what it’s worth, here’s what I think happens next.Continue Reading

Of course what everyone would like to know is “what will happen to house prices once this is over?”. On Twitter I find there are quite a few estate agents who would prefer not to speculate – one or two feel that it would be self-fulfilling to do so but of the 100+ ‘Covid Clinics‘ I have run over the past ten days this is the question that almost every single one asked. Ray Boulger at Charcol warned in mid-March that prices ‘could’ fall by 10%. Jefferies, analysts for whom I don’t have much time were quoted as suggesting perhapsContinue Reading

Government advice has been thin but consistent. If you have contracted to move then you can continue but it would be much better if you agreed with the buyer or seller to postpone the completion until after the lockdown. If you haven’t then it would be better to wait. In response to demands from those who wanted clarity the Government has updated their advice. It’s now clearer that the process of buying and selling has been frozen. Most people will be frustrated but some will genuinely suffer. Many removal companies have pulled booked moves leaving a lot of people whoContinue Reading

Writing in The Sunday Times Carol Lewis has the unenviable task of trying to predict what might happen to the housing market during the Covid19 epidemic. As usual she has sought the views of experts like Lucian Cook at Savills and Liam Bailey at Knight Frank. She has also quoted Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons who says: “I think we’ll see a fall in transactions, but it is unlikely to affect pricing too much. It’s widely acknowledged that the coronavirus is a temporary problem, and I think most sellers will just choose to wait it out.” Personally, I’mContinue Reading

Reports in the Telegraph today suggests that property viewings are down by as much as 50%! According to the National Association of Estate Agents their members have “seen a marked reduction in viewings and enquiries, particularly in the last 10 days, with quite a rapid slowdown,” according to their chief exec.. The article goes on to suggest that “there may be some casualties” amongst the nations 25,000 estate agents. I viewed 19 houses last week with clients. I met 15 agents and not one mentioned this trend but if it isn’t ‘a thing’ now then perhaps it might become one.Continue Reading