First Time Buy­ers stamp duty re­lief has im­pact

Belfast Telegraph - Propertynews - - News -

THE Chan­cel­lor’s First Time Buyer stamp duty re­lief seems to be hav­ing the de­sired ef­fect, as sales to the group rose in Fe­bru­ary.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Hous­ing Re­port from NAEA Prop­er­ty­mark, first time buyer sales sat at 29% in Fe­bru­ary, up slightly from 27% in Jan­uary.

NAEA Prop­er­ty­mark (for­mally Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Es­tate Agents) is the UK’S lead­ing pro­fes­sional body for es­tate agency per­son­nel.

Their fig­ures show that this year’s Fe­bru­ary sales were the best since 2015. Last year they stood at 22% and in 2016, only 24% of sales were made to the group.

The av­er­age num­ber of sales agreed per branch rose from seven in Jan­uary to eight in Fe­bru­ary – the high­est amount since Oc­to­ber 2017.

How­ever the num­ber of prospec­tive house hunters fell by 16% dur­ing the month – from 367 reg­is­tered per branch, to 309.

Year on year this is down by 28 per cent, as agents had 425 house hunters reg­is­tered per branch in Fe­bru­ary 2017.

In line with de­mand, the num­ber of prop­er­ties avail­able for sale per branch dropped from 36 in Jan­uary to 35 in Fe­bru­ary.

Also of those which sold, 74% went for less than the orig­i­nal ask­ing price, with 4% sell­ing for more than the ask­ing price.

The rate of prop­er­ties which sold at ask­ing price stood at 22% – the high­est level since June 2016.

Mark Hayward, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, NAEA Prop­er­ty­mark said: “Since the Chan­cel­lor cut stamp duty for first-time buy­ers, there have been a good level of sales to the group, but they haven’t rock­eted.

“Our mem­bers have no­ticed FTBS hold­ing off on mak­ing pur­chases since the rule was in­tro­duced opt­ing in­stead to save for longer to max­imise the full stamp duty re­lief.

“This may be one rea­son why sales are up but not as high as we might ex­pect; the other rea­son is that the cost of buy­ing is still very high, and FTBS are still find­ing it dif­fi­cult to save for their de­posit.“

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