The new coalition Government is certainly ensuring that the property industry be alert to its having grabbed the keys to Downing Street.
Before Dave and Sam even moved in to their new home Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles MP and his Housing Minsiter Grant Shapps MP, had cleared out the Whitehall shed and thrown out the first bit of rubbish. HIPs were binned, but not to be recycled even, just thrown away. Sadly, bonfires are no longer seen as appropriate disposal methods.
Since the demise of HIPs many estate agents report that enquiries from property sellers have increased significantly with market appraisal valuation requests now dominating their working days at a rate not seen for a while. It is hoped that this activity then leads to actual instructions and then some resulting sales.Sales have been as rare as an MPs blank expense form of late and their return is somewhat overdue.
Then no sooner had this particular bit of Spring cleaning been done than the next proposal to affect housing had the covers taken off.
Capital Gains Tax currently applies to the profit on the sale of assets such as second homes. But it is currently charged at a flat rate of 18%. As part of the Con Lib coalition negotiations though, a CGT increase to ‘at or about the highest income tax rate’ is a move that the Conservatives gave way on to the Liberal Democrats. No amnesty on illegal immigrants, Mansion Tax, pledges on the Euro and Trident were bagged by Cameron & Co instead.
There are around 250,000 ‘second’ homes in the UK. Most of them will show their owners a tidy profit. And so if one were already considering a sell off then that will now certainly be put into action before the likely hike to 40% or even 50% in April 2011. Savills, an estate agent, already reports a 40% increase in market appraisals of such homes.
So in the coming weeks and months of the new Government’s clean up can we expect yet further measures which will impact upon the property industry? A swift kick up the bottom of stubborn mortgage lenders certainly wouldn’t go a miss…
But we welcome any initiatives that reduce barriers to buying and selling and which promote market liquidity. After all, estate agents exist on transaction numbers rather than price fluctuations and it is those volumes that need to rebound in order for the market to return to some reflection of normality. And if estate agents charge lower fees too then so much the better for the current austerity that seems to be all the rage.
Prudence certainly gets our vote.
eMoov.co.uk sell homes in Basildon, Billericay, Braintree, Brentwood, Castle Point, Chelmsford, Colchester, Clacton, Dagenham, Epping, Harlow, Harwich, Hockley, Ilford, Ingatestone, Leigh-on-Sea, Maldon, Rayleigh, Rochford, Shenfield, Southend and Wickford. We are estate agents but our fees are much less than ordinary estate agents.