This month we are seeing a slight improvement in market activity, as the wealth of positive consumer confidence data that we have seen coming through over the last month or so starts to make some favourable impact on the property market. However, it is clear that the market is still marked down by a number of negatives, as we are yet to see initial registrations and viewings convert into real movement, to budge the sluggish moving transaction rates that we are currently experiencing. The market also continues to suffer from a lack of housing stock, something that needs to be rectified in light of the number of new homes Sajid Javid claims we need to support our growing population.
Although we are seeing some landlords return to the market this month, levels are still quite severely down annually. To see an improvement, SDLT must be eased to help buy-to-let activity reach the levels that we were seeing before the hike in tax imposed by George Osborne. London continues to bear the brunt of this, as we see the South East and the East of the Capital’s rental markets surpass that of London for the third month running, as buy-to-let landlords are retreating to England’s regions where they are likely to see better returns on their investment. Easing the stamp duty burden on landlords will increase fluidity in the market, rectifying the log jam that we are currently experiencing.
Things are continuing to look up for first-time-buyers, as mortgage rates, deposits and first-time-buyer house prices continue to fall, something that has been reflected in mortgage lending, which is up on the month and largely up on the year. However, we must not become complacent. This increase in activity is unlikely to last long as the Government’s Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme will be coming to an end this December. The government must look to ensure more incentives for first-time-buyers in order to promote more home ownership within the UK.