UK housing market shows initial signs of recovery
The number of prospective home buyers bounced back ‘noticeably’ in June, as did enquiries, agreed sales and instructions, according to the latest UK Residential Market Survey from the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS). While the impact of lockdown is clearly still being felt, with 12-month sale expectations remaining subdued against a ‘challenging economic backdrop’, the report certainly made for more positive reading than those of recent months. The survey also reported a boost in the number of properties being listed for sale, with a net balance of +42% of survey participants seeing an increase, rather than decrease, in listings. Meanwhile, pricing expectations also appear to have bounced back; while still in negative territory, a net balance of -12% of respondents believe that prices will fall over the next three months, as opposed to -43% in May.
Nationwide tax breaks
After the Chancellor’s announcement of a Stamp Duty holiday for England, Scotland followed suit with a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) holiday that will see the threshold temporarily rise from £145,000 to £250,000. The changes to LBTT will mean that an estimated 80% of buyers in Scotland will be exempt from the tax until 31 March 2021. The Welsh government also announced a Land Transaction Tax holiday which increases the threshold from £180,000 to £250,000. The new threshold will come into effect on 27 July to correspond with the full reopening of the housing market in Wales.
Increased demand for new builds post-lockdown
Interest in newly built properties has surged by 66% since the reopening of the property market in May – higher than before lockdown began. Property website Zoopla recorded the jump in the six weeks following 13 May, the day the housing market reopened for business. The surge in demand, it said, was particularly strong among first-time buyers, with a 46% increase for this group……