housing supply

UK housing market ripe for young property investors after stamp duty cut

A recent spike in buyer enquiries shows how the stamp duty holiday is already boosting the market. Has the government done enough for young property investors?

Property investors aged between 18 and 34 are the most likely to take advantage of the government’s recent stamp duty change, new research reveals. According to a survey by FJP Investment, 43% of this age group plan to invest before next April.

Across all investor age groups, almost a quarter (24%) intend to buy one or more properties before tax rates change. Data from Rightmove and a number of other property firms and agencies shows that interest in the UK property market has soared in recent weeks.

The new temporary thresholds mean buyers don’t pay stamp duty for the first £500,000 of a purchase. This can mean savings of up to £15,000. For second homes and investments, the 3% surcharge is still payable, but the bill can be significantly lower.

While the easing of lockdown restrictions has played a part, the stamp duty cut is seems to be the biggest draw for buyers. The mortgage market is also very favourable right now in terms of interest rates. Further to this, rental demand is continuing to surge across the UK.

What do investors want?

While the stamp duty cut, alongside the mortgage payment holiday, have helped thousands of buyers and homeowners, many believe such measures should continue for longer. In FJP’s survey, 42% of people said the government should do more to help homebuyers and investors.

Further to this, 54% would like the mortgage payment holiday scheme to extend past 31st October. The same percentage also said they had “lost faith” in the government after its handling of Covid-19.

Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment: “[The] research shows that investors are clearly worried about the long-term financial consequences of the pandemic. News of the UK entering a recession will likely have shaken confidence further, too.

“One of the key findings is that faith in Boris Johnson’s government is waning. While there is support for the financial support schemes and economic stimuli that have been introduced so far, investors feel that much more must be done if the UK’s post-pandemic recovery is to be successful.”

“The pressure is very much on the Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to allay these concerns. Boosting investors’ confidence will be vital in order to inject life back into different financial markets and bolster GDP.”

The effects of the stamp duty cut on UK property

A report by Savills demonstrates some of the early impacts of the new temporary thresholds. Overall, it says, the biggest winners are those buying at the lower end, including people using Help to Buy. As the scheme applies exclusively to new-builds, demand in this area has soared as a direct result of the cut.

Within the Savills team, new-build buyer enquiries increased by 51% on the day of the announcement. In the week to 28th July, demand was still 15% higher than it had been before the cut.

The Help to Buy scheme has also been extended by a further two months by the government. This gives new homes until 28th February 2021 for practical completion, and 31st March for legal completion, to qualify.

According to Savills, the new lower tax threshold will bring a flurry of property investors to the market.

“The stamp duty holiday will make the difference between a home being a profitable or a loss-making purchase for many,” says the report.

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