End of stamp duty holiday cools property market

A recent surge in property prices is coming to a close as the stamp duty holiday is withdrawn, bringing an end to a boom that has seen increases in the cost of housing hit a 17-year high.

The holiday, brought in alongside a raft of other measures designed to cushion the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on ordinary families, has been credited with causing the surge, alongside a general desire for more living space caused by the realities of lockdown life. This surge sent house prices soaring to a level 10.5% higher than the same time last year, with the average residential property now costing £244,229, as buyers rushed to make purchases in anticipation of the measure’s tapered withdrawal.

However, that effect is beginning to wane, as houses worth more than £500,000 which led the boom with a 37% year on year increase become eligible for the full level of stamp duty payments again. This is likely to halt the steep rise in prices seen in recent months, but it may not puncture a hole in the market as some have feared.

Martin Beck, a senior economic advisor to the EY Item Club, said: “The pandemic has had potentially long-lasting effects on property preferences, not least raising demand for larger homes in a world of more home working. Combined with fuel for property deposits provided by the substantial savings accumulated by households during lockdowns, the ingredients are in place to maintain house prices at current, elevated, levels.”

Brought in during July 2020, the stamp duty holiday was designed to help people whose circumstances were affected by COVID to move house and brought the cost down to zero for houses worth less than £500,000. After almost a year, the holiday is now being slowly withdrawn and only affects houses worth less than £250,000 from 1 July 2021, and from 1 October the cost will go back to pre-pandemic levels.

Need to make your move before it’s too late, or do you want to strike while the iron is hot and get the most value for your assets? Get in touch with OGR Stock Denton. With 50 years of experience providing residential property services to thousands of families across London and the UK, we have the experience and skills to make your purchase or sale as quick and easy as possible.

To make an appointment to discuss any aspect of residential property law please email or phone 020 8349 0321.

Demand for UK commercial property on the rise, says RICS

Demand for UK commercial property is on the rise and the market has recovered from a ‘post-Referendum slump’ in activity, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The RICS has said that net occupier demand increased by +12 between late September and early October – up from just zero in July.

According to their quarterly market report, July saw several major property funds halt investors from withdrawing their investments – a move dubbed the ‘most visible casualty’ of the Brexit vote by Reuters.

However, a “rebound for demand” for commercial property from both British firms seeking additional space and foreign investors sweeping in to take advantage of the reduced value of sterling suggests that the market is beginning to prove resilient, according to RICS Chief Economist, Simon Rubinsohn.

“Overseas buyers look to capitalise on the opportunity to buy prime assets, given the significant discount provided by the weak pound,” the RICS has said.

This sentiment was echoed by a separate study carried out by Savills estate agents, which suggests that overseas investors accounted for 78 per cent of all commercial property purchased in London over the course of July, August and September.

Savills suggested that a weaker economic outlook could see commercial property prices dip over the next two years – but market analysts have argued that, while this may shake market confidence, a price reduction would also attract increased investment.

Analysts added that prices were only likely to fall by ‘up to ten per cent’.

Ben Menahem, Associate in OGR Stock Denton’s property team, said: “Undoubtedly the market halted over the summer after the Brexit vote, yet our firm were keen to maintain investor relations and pro-actively provide interim advice on any potential transactions. This has subsequently led to our international Hungarian clients securing new commercial premises in North London earlier this month”.

Almost half of all neighbourly disputes are left unresolved

Almost half of all disputes between UK neighbours, including those involving ongoing abuse and arguments, are left unresolved.

Furthermore, one in five Britons have found themselves caught up in a neighbourly dispute at least once, while one in ten have become embroiled in a dispute which lasted 12 months or more, according to research from a UK insurance provider.

The study, dubbed A portrait of the modern British community, was carried out by Co-op insurance in a bid to provide a snapshot into neighbourly behaviours in 2016.

Worryingly, it revealed that a large proportion of Britons had been experiencing neighbourly disturbances on a regular basis and, worse still – many are failing to do anything about it.

77 per cent of Britons told the survey that they had been subjected to disrespectful behaviour, while three quarters added that their neighbours were regularly rude, intolerant or noisy.

44 per cent said that they had suffered excessive noise from their neighbours on a regular basis, while a further 22 per cent said that they had fallen victim to neighbourly abuse.

Meanwhile, 72 per cent added that their neighbours were inconsiderate when it came to parking their cars, while a further 19 per cent admitted to being embroiled in ongoing ‘parking wars’.

Boundary disputes and a failure to keep shared facilities properly maintained were also cited as common problems causing neighbourly tension in the UK.

Ben Menahem, Associate in OGR Stock Denton’s property team, said: “Communication here is key. Trying to build a polite, practical relationship with your neighbours at the outset, may well see these figures drop”.

For advice and support on any residential or landlord-tenant disputes, please contact Ben Menahem, Associate in our property team.