Galliard Homes will subsidise a six-month extension to the stamp duty tax across its developments in London, including its Harbour Central collection at Canary Wharf. The extension will apply to all properties priced up to £500,000 that complete before October 1st this year. For any properties priced above this, Galliard will pay the first £15,000. The move comes as the government is facing calls to completely scrap council tax and stamp duty and replace them with a flat-rate payment based on property value. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty holiday is set to end on March 31st. The tax, which adds 3% to the price of houses under £500,000 and rises to 15% for properties over £1.5m, was suspended on July 8th last year in a bid to keep the housing market moving. The chancellor is reportedly considering an extension to the holiday, and the House of Commons has confirmed there will be a debate on the issue after an online petition was signed by more than 100,000 home buyers and sellers. But now there are calls to scrap the tax altogether in favour of a single property levy, perhaps rolled into Council Tax. Many of the people who signed the petition fear that if conveyancing on their sales takes too long, they might fall outside the stamp duty holiday window and their chains will collapse. Charity Fairer Share is pushing for the Chancellor to scrap not only stamp duty but council tax as well, urging Mr Sunak to come up with a new, fairer tax for all property owners. They say one in four adults in the UK regularly goes into debt in order to pay their council tax.
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UK house prices have hit a record high, with Land Registry data showing the average price rose to £250,000 in November. Property values rose 7.6% in the year to November, with this marking the steepest annual price growth since June 2016. Across UK nations, England saw values climb 7.6% year-on-year in November, reaching £267,000; the average in Scotland rose 8.6% to £166,000; Wales saw growth of 7%, taking the typical value to £180,000; while Northern Ireland’s 2.4% increase took its average to £143,000. Analysts believe the stamp duty holiday has helped drive the market and push up prices, warning that the market and growth may slow once the tax break ends on March 31st.Howard Archer, EY Item Club’s chief economic adviser, said: Elevated housing market activity and robust prices will prove unsustainable sooner rather than later,” adding that prices could fall by up to 5% this year.
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Proposed housing law reforms to abolish ground rents and lease charges could boost house prices by £50,000, according to industry experts. Research by consultancy Capital Economics found that Government plans to change the leasehold system would save homeowners tens of thousands of pounds and boost house prices. The Government reforms include plans to abolish onerous ground rents and extra charges to extend a lease after it passes 80 years, known as “marriage value”. If these planned changes are enacted, leasehold homes sold with a short lease could rise in value, while the cost of extending leases for existing homeowners would fall. David Wadsworth, of JMW solicitors, commented that “The government reforms will make those homes more marketable.”
The Daily Telegraph (21/01/2021)
Rising house prices are pushing more first-time buyers into longer-term mortgages to afford their monthly repayments. About 70% of first-time buyers last year took out a mortgage with an initial term of more than 25 years, according to Nationwide's house price index affordability report. Ten years ago 45% of first-time buyers took out long-term mortgages, typically for 35 years. Andrew Harvey, senior economist at Nationwide, said that higher house prices were a driving factor and that some first-time buyers took out longer-term mortgages to be able to afford "a slightly bigger, better property". A rise in the retirement age has also made people more willing to take on longer-term mortgages. Nationwide also revealed that finding a deposit is still the biggest challenge for first-time buyers as house prices remain high. Outside of London, monthly mortgage payments relative to take-home pay remain affordable. However, trying to find a 20% deposit for a property is still proving to be a major obstacle with the average 20% deposit being 104% of the average income.
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Transport for London has released a new parcel of disused railway land next to Bow Church DLR station in Bow Road, to the Optivo Housing Association. The group is planning to build 150 homes, with half at the “affordable” low end of the rental market. The new site is part of the GLA's London Plan to reduce the housing shortage. Work has been started on 1,500 new homes across London, with thousands more in the pipeline. These are aimed creating revenue for TfL to plough back into the public transport network which is facing a cash crisis because of the pandemic.
East London Advertiser (12/01/2021
UK property prices crept up by 6% last year, according to the Halifax, but the lender is predicting "downward pressure" on values in 2021. The mortgage lender, part of Lloyds Banking Group, said that prices "soared" in the second half of 2020. Pent-up demand, a clamour for more space, and stamp duty holidays led to higher prices. However, the Halifax said the economic realities of 2021 meant activity would slow as the year progressed. Prices were at a record high in December, but growth has already started to slow. There was a 0.2% month-on-month increase in December, but this was significantly less than the 1% jump recorded in November. It was the lowest rate recorded during the six months of growth since the housing market started to reopen in England in May. "With the pace of the UK's economic recovery expected to be constrained by the renewed national lockdown, and unemployment widely predicted to rise in the coming months, downward pressure on house prices remains likely as we move through 2021", said Russell Galley, managing director at the Halifax.
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