What property reforms do homeowners most want to see?

What property reforms do homeowners most want to see?

Property experts Tepilo analyse what property market reforms homeowners would most like to see, from an end to gazumping to stamp duty changes.

What property reforms do homeowners most want to see?

Most homeowners have an opinion on how the property market could be improved, but what reforms would they most like to see?

New research of more than 2,000 UK adults – commissioned by Market Financial Solutions – has now outlined the top policy reforms homeowners would like to see implemented.

An end to gazumping

One of the most controversial and unpopular practices in the property sales process, gazumping is when a seller accepts a verbal offer from one buyer before then accepting a higher offer from someone else.

It’s no surprise, then, that 55% of those surveyed said they would strongly back the introduction of new legislation to stop gazumping from taking place.

Caps to property ownership

Elsewhere, just over half (52%) of homeowners taking part believe caps should be introduced to curb the number, value or location of properties that can be purchased by non-UK residents.

Of those who currently own more than one property, 47% are against a cap being introduced on the number of residential properties which can be owned by one person, while 41% of respondents support this measure.

Meanwhile, 62% of people with more than one property back the scrapping of inheritance tax on all property assets – the top policy reform those who own more than one home wish to see.

Stamp duty overhaul

Whenever reforms for the property market are discussed, the calls for changes to stamp duty are typically some of the loudest.

For 40% of those surveyed, the property reform they’d most like to see is new incentives such as a reduction in stamp duty or increasing the scope of Help to Buy schemes for both first-time buyers and existing homebuyers who purchase a new-build.

Some 19% have called for even more drastic reforms to stamp duty, so that the tax is payable by the seller as opposed to the buyer.

Helping renters to become buyers

Another proposed policy reform that went down well with those surveyed was a savings scheme to help renters in employment build up a deposit for a house, in which a proportion of their income is automatically transferred into an account which the government then top up.

Of course, for a well-functioning property market – in which people are encouraged to buy and sell – the incentives need to be there for first-time buyers or would-be first-time buyers to purchase. Schemes like this, as well as existing initiatives such as the Help to Buy and Lifetime ISAs, could help to achieve this.   

Incentives for renovation

What’s more, we regularly hear about the shortage of supply of homes to buy, so it’s not surprising that 44% of people believe financial incentives should be on offer for those seeking to renovate derelict properties to bring them back into use before putting them on the market for sale.

Overall, then, we can see that the thirst is there for new laws to prevent gazumping – which, in turn, would reduce the chances of property chains collapsing – while there is also a particular appetite for the removal of inheritance tax on all property assets and reforms to stamp duty.

The new Housing Minister Kit Malthouse already has a lot on his plate, but the ongoing reform of the property market will certainly be towards the top of his agenda.

It will only become clear, over the next few years, how successful he and Housing Secretary James Brokenshire have been in achieving the government’s long-term goal to ‘fix the broken housing market’.