Latest news for sellers: political uncertainty, a transaction surge and moving fees

Latest news for sellers: political uncertainty, a transaction surge and moving fees

We're about to enter an important time for the property market. Next week, Londoners will go to the polls to decide who will replace Boris Johnson as Mayor of the capital.

And in June, the whole country will have a say on whether or not the UK remains part of the European Union.

The next Mayor of London and the UK's EU future will both have a significant impact on the housing market.

It's always important to keep up with the latest property news when selling a home. However, as we enter this landmark time, if you're already on the market or thinking of selling soon, staying in the know is especially crucial.

Each month, here at Sarah Beeny's Tepilo, we put together a round-up of the biggest stories affecting the nation's property sellers. Here's some of the latest stories you'll need to know about:

 

Political uncertainty could affect market

As alluded to above – the upcoming London Mayoral Election and, even more so, the EU Referendum in June are likely to have an effect on the housing market.

In 2015, in the lead-up to the General Election it was widely reported that the market experienced a lull as buyers and sellers delayed moving decisions until a definitive result was achieved.

The same situation reportedly occurred in Scotland before 2014's Independence Referendum.

Many housing commentators have already forecast that a similar scenario will occur as we build up to June 23.

One survey – carried out by removals firm Bishops Move – found that 47% of Londoners are likely to delay buying or selling a property until after the big day.   

 

Public support controversial stamp duty measure

The stamp duty surcharge may have been unwelcome amongst property professionals but, according to findings from the HomeOwners Alliance (HOA), a high proportion of the public actually support it.

The consumer group found that 47% of the people it surveyed supported the measure – which charges buyers of buy-to-let properties or second homes an extra 3% in stamp duty – while 20% declared themselves neutral and 18% opposed it.

Interestingly, the study also indicated that buyers and sellers' concerns over stamp duty have softened since the system was overhauled by George Osborne in late 2014.

The HOA reports that in 2014, 64% of UK residents it spoke to said stamp duty was a serious problem. In 2016, that figure has now fallen to 52%.

 

First-time buyers benefitting from investors' absence

The increased stamp duty charges for investors seem to already be having their desired effect, according to the latest report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The organisation says that during March 28% of sales were made to first-time buyers, up from 24% in February.

What's more, some 39% of the agents surveyed by the NAEA said they expect that interest from buy-to-let investors will decrease further and that there will now be 'reduced competition' for first-timers.  

This is good news for sellers as it shows that traditional buyers are willing to step into the breach left by investors who pushed through their purchases before April 1.

Overall demand, therefore, should remain at a steady level as we move into the summer months.

 

Stamp duty change responsible for huge transaction surge

Whatever you think about the stamp duty surcharge, one thing that has been proven is that it was responsible for a huge surge in transactions in the first part of 2016.

According to HMRC's most recent figures, there were 70% more residential transactions in March this year compared with the same month in 2015.

There were 165,480 residential transactions in March, which HMRC says is 42% higher than the figure recorded in February.

 

Movers underestimating extra costs

A study of 10,000 UK residents – carried out by Pegasus Personal Finance – found that many property buyers are underestimating the extra costs of moving home.

Additional fees which many purchasers – particularly first-time buyers – didn't expect to have to cough up for are CHAPS bank transfer fees, Land Registry fees, stamp duty and solicitor's fees, among others.

The research also highlighted that some buyers are not fully aware of the hit their bank account will take directly after moving home.

One in five of those surveyed said they did not account for a rise in utility bills as a consequence of moving to a larger property.

Meanwhile, the same number said they were shocked to see their car insurance costs rise when they bought a home.

The moving process can of course be expensive but if you plan ahead and budget accordingly, there shouldn't be too many shocks along the way.

 

If you want to find out more about moving costs, we've written about them here.

 

That's it for April, we'll be back in May with another round-up...