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Cornwall replaces London as most searched location to live

Cornwall has replaced London as the most searched for location to live, according to data collected by Rightmove.

Rightmove registered over five million searches in a month in February 2021 for properties within the county of Cornwall.

The property portal suggests that people are seeking the countryside, coastal towns and villages to move to following ‘stay at home’ restrictions.

Dorset has also risen up from position 20 to position 10.

Six of the top 10 locations noting the largest rise in buyer searches over the past year have been in Cornwall and Devon.

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The village of Stithians in Cornwall has risen by a 224% on this time last year.

When looking at the second half of 2020 annual sales agreed grew by 69% in rural areas, compared to 49% in urban areas as more people looked to escape to the country.

Looking by number of bedrooms, five-bed detached homes have seen the biggest jump in sales being agreed, up by 38%, followed by four bed properties, up by 26%.

Rightmove outlined that this is also a likely result of the temporary stamp duty holiday savings being largest for more expensive homes.

The data shows that there has been a shift in more people who currently live in a city enquiring about a property that is outside of that city.

The biggest shift has been in London where this time last year 39% of Londoners were enquiring outside of London.

This has jumped up to 52%, and the trend is the same across all 10 of the biggest cities in the UK.

According to Rightmove, a year ago the most sought after property type for tenants was a two bed flat, and this has been replaced by a two bed semi-detached house, due to the desire for more space and a garden.

Asking rents over the past year vary dramatically, with double digit growth in some towns and suburbs, compared to double digit declines in areas of London.

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “The stand-out trends over the past year have been increased demand for countryside and coastal living, more people making the dream of a detached home a reality, and the increased appeal for a garden.

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“The huge population of London means that traditionally it’s the most searched for location on Rightmove, but the appeal of the coast and the countryside over the past year has seen Cornwall crowned the new capital this year.

“More space has always been the most common reason for people moving home, but the evolution for many from balancing their laptop on the end of a bed last March to making an office a permanent addition to a home, whether that’s by converting a bedroom, garage or garden shed, has led to a need for even bigger homes than before.

“This is evident with five bed detached homes seeing the biggest growth in sales, and two bed homes becoming the most sought after for people renting.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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London’s Islington leads the way on house price growth

Prices in London’s Islington surged by 13.4% to £727,922 in 2020, making it fastest growing area in the UK, Thirlmere Deacon analysis of Halifax data has found.

A number of other areas in Greater London also recorded strong rises, like Croydon (10.9% to £397,538), Hounslow (9.1% to £523,659) and Romford (7.6% to £391,000).

Outside London the biggest mover was Leeds, which had the country’s second-fastest rise, a whopping 11.3% to an average price of £247,116.

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Stuart Williams, founder and chief executive of Thirlmere Deacon, said: “Over the past 24 months, the UK property market has endured changing economic and political climates and remains to be incredibly resilient.

2019 brought political uncertainty and Brexit lingered over the UK, after the decisive election result in December 2019 the property market began 2020, with relative optimism and the ‘Boris Bounce’ triggered activity.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

“As the pandemic took hold and the UK entered lockdown, the property market was effectively put on pause though a limited number of transactions completed and off plan purchases were agreed during this time.

“Upon reopening in mid-May the UK property market saw pent up demand unleashed which has driven price growth upwards – every region in the country recorded an increase in house prices in 2020.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Merton leads London house prices higher as buyers seek space

House prices in the south-western boroughs of Merton and Sutton rose at the fastest pace in London in the year to July as buyers looked for more space during the coronavirus pandemic, according to exclusive analysis by property website Zoopla for City A.M.

Prices barely budged in the borough of Hillingdon on the western edge of the capital and in Enfield in north London, however, reflecting the uneven effect of Covid-19 on the city’s property market.

Zoopla’s new analysis of its latest house price index showed that prices jumped 3.2 per cent in Merton the year to July and 3.1 per cent in Sutton. That was well above the UK average of 2.5 per cent.

In joint third place were Newham in east London, Haringey in north east, and Wandsworth in south west, where prices climbed 2.7 per cent.

Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, told City A.M.: “We have seen rising demand for three-bed homes and larger houses in London. And the availability of this type of stock, across a wider range of price bands, is reflected in these locations.”

Stamp duty holiday boosts London house prices

UK house prices have soared to record highs in the wake of the coronavirus lockdowns, even as the country’s economy suffers its worst year in memory.

Pent-up demand – which accumulated while the property market was frozen in April and May – and the government’s stamp duty holiday have massively boosted the market.

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Zoopla said the stamp duty holiday, which raised the payment threshold to £500,000 until March, had lifted London sales by 27 per cent. Yet its analysis showed that the effect on the capital’s housing market has been uneven.

Hillingdon and Enfield were the least desirable for new buyers over the last year. Prices rose just 0.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively.

Gilmore said: “While we are seeing demand outstrip supply in many areas, putting upward pressure on prices, this is happening to different extents in different localities.”

Harrow saw the third smallest rise with 0.9 per cent growth. Ealing was next with one per cent growth and Bromley had the fifth-smallest increase, of 1.1 per cent.

“We are also seeing the effects of a ‘one-off’ shift after lockdown, with demand from households who have reassessed how and where they want to live,” Gilmore added.

Analysts and estate agents have reported that buyers are looking for gardens and properties near parks, as well as more space.

Kensington and Chelsea the priciest borough

London house prices on average grew by 2.4 per cent in the year to July. It outpaced other areas in the south of England such as the south east, which saw 1.2 per cent growth.

However, regions in the north of England achieved the strongest growth. Yorkshire and the Humber and the north west both saw prices increase 3.2 per cent.

The price discrepancy between London’s different areas remained huge in July, Zoopla’s data showed.

In Kensington and Chelsea, where prices grew two per cent in the year to July, the average house cost £1,170,700.

Westminster was the second-most expensive, with the average property worth £955,000. House prices grew 1.8 per cent over the year in the borough. The City of London, where prices climbed 2.2 per cent, was third with an average price of £786,400.

Barking and Dagenham was the cheapest borough, with the average house costing £293,000. Bexley was second cheapest, at £344,700, while Havering came in third, at £366,800.

What happened to house prices in your London borough?

London boroughCurrent priceQuarterly changeAnnual change to July
Merton £507,4890.8%3.2%
Sutton £394,2400.3%3.1%
Newham £374,6990.7%2.7%
Haringey £512,1140.3%2.7%
Wandsworth £626,2500.7%2.7%
Lambeth £525,4740.7%2.6%
Waltham Forest £445,1100.8%2.6%
UK£217,5280.6%2.6%
Croydon £375,7490.9%2.6%
Havering £366,7960.8%2.5%
Barking and Dagenham £293,0380.8%2.5%
Southwark £487,8770.5%2.5%
Greenwich £376,6450.3%2.4%
Lewisham £413,8030.3%2.4%
Islington £602,6250.4%2.4%
Kingston upon Thames £515,1660.9%2.3%
Hackney £528,1780.8%2.2%
City of London£786,376-0.1%2.2%
Hammersmith and Fulham £715,2140.3%2.1%
Kensington and Chelsea £1,170,6620.3%2.0%
Tower Hamlets £460,5190.8%2.0%
Richmond upon Thames £698,0550.3%1.8%
Hounslow £424,0550.3%1.8%
Westminster £954,9910.1%1.8%
Redbridge £425,180-0.3%1.7%
Bexley £344,6880.7%1.7%
Brent £485,7500.2%1.4%
Camden £722,3230.1%1.4%
Barnet £537,8900.1%1.3%
Bromley £460,2430.5%1.1%
Ealing £477,3890.1%1.0%
Harrow £471,8930.5%0.9%
Enfield £403,0360.8%0.4%
Hillingdon £412,708-0.2%0.3%

Source: Exclusive Zoopla house price index analysis for City A.M.

By Harry Robertson

Source: City AM

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Housing market booms since the UK lockdown

THE UK’S housing market has experienced a boom since the country went into lockdown.

The housing market is ‘incredibly busy’ across the Cumbria region with buyers seeking to find more space, says conveyancing specialist Adkirk Law.

Linda Kirk, director of conveyancing, said: “We are seeing the move to more space inside and outside of a property as a priority for many of those buying or seeking to buy. The benefits of the stamp duty holiday, added to the experience of coronavirus, seems to be fuelling the trend in all regions.

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“People are also looking for property with enough space to be able to work from home in the new way businesses are looking to the future.

“The north west market is certainly buoyant, and people are also realising how much more property and space they can buy in the region than in the south.”

Farrell Heyworth Barrow In Furness’s manager Louise Stewart said: “The market is certainly getting busier. There’s a bubble that’s been created by the lockdown. It’s happening across the board. We still have local investors, but many people who have been living with mum and dad and seem to want to move.”

By Luke Jarmyn

Source: In Cumbria

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Property increasingly seen as a retirement tool

Property wealth is growing in importance for funding care in later life – as people lose faith in savings and pension income, Key’s Tackling the Care Question report has found.

Three in 10 (29%) over-55s plan to use their homes now compared with just 19% a year ago.

Meanwhile 34% of over-55s (44% – 2019) believe their savings and investments will help fund care while 30% (40% – 2019) say they will use pension income.

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Will Hale, chief executive at Key, said: “When you speak to people, you find that the vast majority are keen to receive care and support in the comfort of their own home but struggle to know how, or how best, they might meet these costs.

“With the recent economic turmoil, confidence in savings and pension income has fallen while more people are looking to the value tied up in bricks and mortar to finance care. Getting good advice and understanding what resources you have to draw on is important – and making sure you factor these potential costs into your retirement planning is vital.

“At the same time as councils are under pressure, over-55s are waking up to the reality that they may well need to pay for all or some of their care in later life. This has created the perfect storm and it is vital that the government focuses on setting out clear plans for reaching a cross-party consensus on social care, and consider long-term reform and funding of the care system.”

Over-55s overwhelmingly want to receive care in their own property – with three-quarters (75%) planning to either stay in their current home or move to a more manageable property. Just 4% would prefer to move to a care home.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Housing market starts to reopen in Scotland as lockdown eases

From Monday 29 June, restrictions on housing moves will be eased in Scotland as part of the easing of its lockdown measures.

This will allow valuations and viewings to take place, and marks the initial stage in the reopening of the Scottish housing market.

This development in Scotland follows a similar move to ease lockdown on 19 June in Wales, which saw the government allow viewings to take place in vacant properties, and to ease restrictions on house moves where a sale has been agreed, but not yet completed.

In England, it has been more than a month since equivalent changes were made on 13 May.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, said: “The sacrifices that have been made – and I know how hard and at times painful they have been – have suppressed the virus.

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“They have also protected the NHS, and have undoubtedly saved a significant number of lives.

“They have also brought us to the position where we can now look ahead with a bit more clarity to our path out of lockdown, and I hope details announced today will provide people and businesses with more certainty in their forward planning.

“But let me be clear that each step on this path depends on us continuing to beat the virus back. That is why we must do everything in our power to avoid steps being reversed.

“The central point in all of this is the virus has not – and it will not – go away of its own accord. It will pose a real and significant threat to us for some time to come.

“Maintaining our progress also means all of us abiding by public health guidance.

“Wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces, avoiding crowded places, washing our hands and cleaning surfaces regularly, maintaining physical distancing, agreeing to immediately self-isolate and get a test if we have symptoms – all of these basic protections matter now more than ever as we all get out and about a bit more.”

A statement from the Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS, said: “This package marks a significant unlocking of the regulations and, for many aspects of daily life in Wales, we are moving into the amber phase of our traffic light system.

“We have been able to do this because of the actions everyone in Wales has taken to date in complying with the stay-at-home and stay local rules.

“We need everyone to continue to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones as we find a way to live and work alongside coronavirus.

“This means working from home wherever possible, maintaining social distancing and frequent handwashing.

“For some people it may mean wearing a face covering in certain situations, for others it will mean continuing to shield.

“I want to thank everyone for everything they have done so far. Together we can keep Wales safe.”

Mark Hayward, chief executive at NAEA Propertymark and David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “It’s great news for consumers and the industry in Scotland that the property market is reopening on Monday.

“Whilst it is not a return to normal, the new guidelines will allow members of the public to view, purchase, rent and move into new properties…reinvigorating the housing market and boosting the economy.

“Of course, safety is paramount, and we encourage all agents to follow the Propertymark guidelines on property viewings and moves closely to protect themselves and others.”

By Jessica Bird

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Demand for pet friendly properties on the rise

There’s been a 50% increase in enquiries for pet friendly properties as a result of the pandemic, proptech rental service Home Made has found.

As a result, it may be profitable for landlords to make their properties available to those with pets, despite the wear and tear that can cause.

Asaf Navot, founder of Home Made, said: “It seems many people have got a new pet during the pandemic or are planning to as they see they can work from home more in the future.

“The upshot is, landlords wanting to fill properties in the coming months need to adapt to this.

“Pets do tend to cause a little more wear and tear so consider hardwood floors over carpets, new furniture better suited to withstanding the impact of pets and bear in mind that tenants with pets usually stay longer.”

He added that renters are particularly keen on new builds, as there’s been a 21% increase in renters looking for new homes compared to old ones.

Meanwhile places with gardens are likely to see more demand.

In cities renters are likely to avoid public transport, meaning bike storage facilities and being in proximity to cycle lanes could add value.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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London property: Number of new homes on the market drops across all boroughs

The London property market has been hit by the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, with all boroughs suffering a sharp decline in the number of new homes on the market.

Outer boroughs such as Hillingdon and Bromley have seen the steepest drop, with the number of new homes for sale falling 91 per cent since restrictions were implemented last month.

Merton and Redbridge both saw new listings decline 90 per per cent and Sutton suffered an 89 per cent drop.

The number of new homes on the market dropped across the whole of the capital. However inner London boroughs fared better than more far-flung areas.

The City of London and Westminster saw the number of new listings fall 67 per cent and 74 per cent respectively, according to research by property platform Get Agent.

The coronavirus lockdown had the least impact on the housing market in Greenwich, where new homes fell 29 per cent, followed by the 64 per cent drop seen in Tower Hamlets.

Across the UK, Woking suffered the biggest decline – of 94 per cent – and West Lancashire came out on top with a drop of 25.8 per cent.

“In some areas, such as Woking, the market has pretty much dropped off a cliff since the lockdown was implemented, whereas other areas have seen a decline but continue to register more robust levels of new listings,” said Get Agent chief executive Colby Short.

“This is certainly due to influences such as a high concentration of new-builds, with many developers having to keep selling due to the fact that they have money tied into developments and interest repayments to make.

“Many new build developers also have the benefit of selling empty properties which makes social distancing measures easier, while many new build buyers, particularly those from overseas are happier to transact based on a virtual viewing.”

London boroughs
BoroughChange
Hillingdon-91%
Bromley-91%
Redbridge-90%
Merton-90%
Sutton-89%
Bexley-88%
Harrow-87%
Richmond upon Thames-87%
Havering-87%
Barking and Dagenham-86%
Ealing-86%
Islington-85%
Enfield-85%
Croydon-85%
Wandsworth-84%
Barnet-84%
Hounslow-83%
Haringey-83%
Kensington and Chelsea-82%
Kingston upon Thames-82%
Lambeth-81%
Waltham Forest-81%
Southwark-80%
Lewisham-80%
Hackney-79%
Newham-78%
Camden-78%
Brent-77%
Hammersmith and Fulham-76%
Westminster-74%
City of London-67%
Tower Hamlets-64%
Greenwich-29%

By Jessica Clark

Source: City AM

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Clarity Called For On Rent Payments

A clear statement is needed from Government in response to campaigners’ calls for rent payments to be stopped during the coronavirus crisis, said the National Residential Landlords Association this week.

It has logged ‘more and more’ landlord calls saying their tenants are under the impression they no longer have to pay rent as a result of the national lockdown. It is clear there needs to be more clarity in guidance on rents, making clear that these should continue to be paid where possible.

‘Some tenants believe that because lenders have provided the option of a three-month mortgage payment holiday to landlords, they should not pay rent for this period’, said the NRLA.

Groups including the National Union of Students are campaigning for rent breaks for all tenants, it has pointed out.

‘While the NRLA believes flexibility is necessary during these unprecedented times, it is calling on the Government to better publicise its guidance that tenants must still meet their legal and contractual obligations where they can – including paying rent – to dispel any myths’.

The response to the Coronavirus does not give tenants a green light to stop paying rent, said NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle.

‘The mortgage repayment holiday is only available for landlords who are struggling to make their payments because their tenants are unable to pay part or all of their rent as a direct result of the coronavirus and through no fault of their own. It is not an automatic payment holiday and landlords who successfully apply still have to make these payments later on. It is not a grant.

‘What it does allow is that where a tenant is having genuine difficulty in meeting their rent payment because of a loss of income, landlords have much greater flexibility to agree a mutually acceptable plan with the tenant to defer the rent due’.

The NRLA points out that 94 per cent of private landlords rent property as individuals and 39 per cent reported a gross income of less than £20,000. Many depend on the extra rental income for their livelihood. Without a rental income many would be unable to continue letting property, leading to a housing supply crisis when the epidemic eases, it said.

The NRLA has called on landlords to show as much flexibility with tenants as they are able to within their means. It said it has been ‘heartened by the many stories showing tenants and landlords pulling together at this difficult time’.

Source: Residential Landlord

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The Budget: Government pledges investment in housing

In today’s Budget, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that the government is investing in affordable housing, will create a simpler planning system and pledged to pay for the removal of unsafe cladding on tower blocks.

Sunak said that a further £9.5 billion has been earmarked for the Affordable Homes Programme, which will bring the total to £12.2 billion of grant funding from 2021-22 to support the creation of affordable homes across England. And local authorities have been given an interest rate cut of 1% on building of social housing.

Plus there will be £400 million for Mayoral Combined Authorities and local areas to establish housing on brownfield land across the country. The aim is to creating more homes by bringing more brownfield land into development.

The Budget also confirmed allocations from the Housing Infrastructure Fund totalling £1.1 billion for nine different areas including Manchester, South Sunderland and South Lancaster.

Another investment to help to stimulate housing and infrastructure growth across the country is an additional £328 million of housing investments in York Central, Harlow and North Warwickshire.

There will also be a new long-term Single Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock new homes in areas of high demand across the country by funding infrastructure and assembling land for development.

Frank Pennal, CEO of Close Brothers Property Finance Division, a specialist development finance lender, commented: “This Budget is exactly what the doctor ordered for the housing market. It is hugely encouraging to see that the housing crisis has not been totally overshadowed and the government is making good on their manifesto pledge to prioritise housing supply.

“After decades of reduced investment this £12 billion extension of the affordable housing programme should act as a lightning rod to stimulate affordable housing supply.”

Dr Kristian Niemietz, head of political economy at the Institute of Economic Affairs, disagreed and said the Chancellor’s announcements on housing miss the point: “The crucial bottleneck of the housing market is land supply: we are simply not releasing enough land for housing development.

“As long as that bottleneck remains in place, pumping more money into housing construction – whether that is the announced £12 billion for affordable homes, the 1% interest rate cut for loans to build social housing, or the £400m for building on brownfield sites – will simply push up land prices even further. It will therefore ultimately make little difference to housing affordability.

“If the government had the courage to sort out the above-mentioned supply-side bottleneck (on which the Chancellor had virtually nothing to say), it could quite easily improve housing affordability across the board, while saving taxpayers’ money in the process.”

Planning system

The most significant barrier to building more houses is land availability, which is constrained by the planning system. Tomorrow, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government will set out comprehensive reforms to bring the planning system and a Planning White Paper will be published in the spring.

These reforms aim to create a simpler planning system and improve the capacity, capability and performance of local planning authorities (LPAs) to accelerate the development process. If LPAs do not meet their local housing need, the government says there will be firm consequences, including a stricter approach taken to the release of land for development and greater government intervention.

Cladding

The government will also invest an additional £1 billion to remove unsafe cladding from residential buildings above 18 metres, such as the ACM material that was used on Grenfell Tower.

Richard Silva, executive director at one of the UK’s largest professional freeholders, Long Harbour, said this is a huge victory for residents and the industry.

He commented: “It follows an open letter sent to the Chancellor last month, from cladding campaigners, residents, property managers and the UK’s largest freeholders, calling on the government to step in following failures in the building safety regime that dates back decades.

“We are delighted that the Chancellor has listened to the calls from residents and building owners and has expanded the cladding remediation fund, whilst recognising that neither leaseholders nor building owners should have to bear the cost of regulatory failure in the construction industry.

“Freeholders and managing agents have been working hard to fix these buildings as quickly as possible but central funding is essential for the acceleration of this process. We look forward to working with government to make these buildings safe as quickly as possible.”

Stamp duty for non-UK residents

The government will introduce a 2% stamp duty surcharge on non-UK residents buying residential property in England and Northern Ireland from 1 April 2021. The government says this will help to control house price inflation and to support UK residents to get onto and move up the housing ladder.

The money raised from the surcharge will be used to help address rough sleeping and the government will provide £643 million for accommodation and support services to help people off the streets in England.

Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter, commented: “As promised during the Tory campaign, a stamp duty surcharge for non-UK resident buyers has been brought in during the 2020 budget. However, Sunak has not quite gone as far at the Tory manifesto pledge and has opted for a 2% rather than 3% charge.

“This represents a crowd pleasing policy which will win over people worried that foreign house buyers are hoovering up UK property as an investment, only to leave it empty, which further exacerbates the housing crisis gripping the nation.

“While this surcharge introduction is welcomed, increasing the UK’s housing stock will have a more important impact for domestic buyers. Planning reforms, set to be announced tomorrow, may reveal additional new measures which aim to stimulate the construction of more housing.”

Richard Donnell, director of research & insight at Zoopla, commented: “The additional 2% stamp duty surcharge for non-UK resident buyers represents the latest in a long series of tax reforms, and may have a short-term impact on demand in higher value markets once it is introduced.

“For those who are looking at a longer-term hold, the additional upfront purchase cost will diminish in significance over time.

“In the interim, however, there will likely be some increased activity among non-UK residents looking to purchase before the new rules come into force.

“Dollar-denominated buyers may find that the additional cost is partly offset by currency movements, with an effective discount of more than 20% for those buying UK property now compared to the summer of 2014 – purely due to movements in the pound.

Disappointment at lack of stamp duty reform for UK residents

Calls for changes to stamp duty went unheard in this Budget and Richard Donnell said that stamp duty has become a southern tax.

He explained: “With SDLT lining the Treasury’s coffers to the tune of £8.3 billion as of March 2019, up from £2.7 billion ten years’ ago, it was always unlikely that the Chancellor would consider a significant stamp duty reform – particularly without an alternative source of revenue.

“Stamp duty has become a southern tax, and is widely regarded as one of the biggest inhibitors to market liquidity in London and the South East – from which 61% of SDLT receipts are generated.

“In keeping the tax bands unchanged and not in line with price inflation, 2.7 million homes have been pushed into the 5% band since 2015.”

By Joanne Atkin

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette