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First time buyers may be emboldened to make an offer following the Stamp Duty cut announced yesterday, but industry figures and experts warn it's only a sticking plaster.
Firstly Robert Cote, Chairman of the Office for Budget responsibility, revealed that his organisation thought the tax cut would push up prices by 0.3% and that “the main financial gainers will actually be people who already own properties, rather than first time buyers themselves”.
Treasury Chief Secretary has subsequently dismissed the OBR’s prediction and just a “minor increase”.
“We have seen this in areas where Help to Buy is offered, as it attracts a great deal of interest from first time buyers,” he said.
“Cutting stamp duty for first time buyers is unlikely to do much – the majority of first time buyers don’t pay anything or only a small amount presently, so it won’t make a huge difference to the masses,” she told The Express.
“The only people it will really help are first time buyers purchasing high worth properties, who already have the funds to do so.
“Essentially, it strikes me as a bit of a PR stunt designed to generate headlines, but something that will actually make very little difference to the market.”
Alison Platt, CEO of Countrywide (pictured, right), however, didn’t think the Stamp Duty cut went far enough.
“It is activity among movers that is most critical to the growth of transactions in the wider housing market,” she said. “While first time buyers face affordability issues, so do movers and without making it easier for these second steppers to move on the supply of property to buy will always be limited, adding more to price pressures.”
This is the home of Mike Russum, an architect, and his partner Sally Cox. It has been longlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) House of the Year award, which is the subject of a four-part series on Channel 4; the winner will be announced in the final episode on Nov 28.
It's the sort of house that makes people stop and stare. "If I see someone standing outside looking, I invite them in and give them a tour," says Russum.
If I see someone standing outside looking, I invite them in and give them a tour"I like houses to be a series of unfolding surprises," says Russum. The first is Sally's study on the upper ground floor, with a glazed back wall that opens on to a full-width terrace overlooking the garden and trees beyond. Sally, a retired interior designer, creates designs for her wood sculptures here.
They had to dig into the hillside of the sloping plot to create their fourstorey home. Two en suite bedrooms are "below decks", on the lower ground floor, and the main bedroom is flooded with morning light from sliding doors that lead straight on to the garden.
A floating conservatory is suspended above the living space; it has a circular yellow floor and a curved blue structure that is part seating and part planter filled with tropical foliage. The glazing curves up into a dome ceiling, with views over gardens, trees and the city.
"It's like sitting in a tree canopy up here," says Russum. "It's a great place to come for a sundowner, and at night you can see the moon very clearly. This is a small house – 1,345 sq ft – but I wanted the main living space to be as grand as possible, so we devoted the two upper floors to open-plan living and made it double height."
"This is a great house for summer parties, everyone spreads out onto the terraces and up into the conservatory," says Russum. The final outdoor space is a balcony jutting out from the living space, suspended over the garden like the prow of a ship.
"We call that the Kate Winslet balcony," says Cox, "as in Titanic."
Rental income continues to rise,
despite increase in supply
Rightmove’s most recent Rental Price Tracker shows asking rents outside London in the second quarter of 2017 were 2.8 per cent up on the previous quarter. While some may expect a rise in rents to be at least partially a result of low supply, the opposite was in fact true with property availability up by seven per cent in comparison with Q2 in 2016.
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London house prices:
Haringey enjoys biggest annual house price gains while Islington named the biggest faller
Sales of London homes to the end of April were 29 per cent lower than the same period last year, according to Your Move’s latest England and Wales house price index.
House prices in the capital continued to rise, up 2.7 per cent in the year to April 2017, but this is the second lowest annual rise seen in London since March 2012. The average house price in London at the end of April stood at £615,838, up 0.1 per cent on the month before.
Haringey was named the best performing borough, with house prices up 12.5 per cent annually thanks to an increase in prices of flats. In contrast, Islington was the worst performer with house prices down 10.4 per cent following a surge in sales of terraced houses ahead of the three per cent stamp duty surcharge on second homes introduced last year.
The index also found that prime property in the capital registered strong growth on an annual basis.
Kensington and Chelsea, where average prices stand at £1.9m, enjoyed annual growth of 8.8 per cent while house prices in the the City of Westminster rose by 9.7 per cent. Meanwhile, the City of London saw the biggest monthly increase up 9.6 per cent to £998,709.
Meanwhile, average house prices in England and Wales during May reached new peak of £303,200 despite "General Election uncertainty", Your Move said.
Transactions in the north east (up 10 per cent), North West (six per cent), Yorkshire and Humberside (seven per cent), East Midlands (four per cent), West Midlands (six per cent) and Wales (13 per cent) are all higher in the three months to the end of April 2017 than the same period in 2015.
Meanwhile, transactions in greater London and the south east are down by 19 per cent and seven per cent respectively.
Oliver Blake, managing director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, said: “There was a lot of talk about housing from the parties in their election manifestos, it’s now time for those words to be put into action.
“The market remains resilient and there’s encouraging activity in the north, but we need to urgently address the serious blockages in house building holding back labour mobility and economic competitiveness in too many areas of the country.”
|RANK||LONDON BOROUGH||Apr-16 (£)||Mar-17 (£)||Apr-17(£)||Monthly change||Annual change|
|1||KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA||£1.83m||£1.95m||£1.99m||2.1 per cent||8.8 per cent|
|2||CITY OF WESTMINSTER||£1.62m||£1.75m||£1.77m||1.1 per cent||9.7 per cent|
|3||CAMDEN||£1.03m||£1,03m||£1.07m||3.5 per cent||3.5 per cent|
|4||CITY OF LONDON||£978,300||£911,046||£998,709||9.6 per cent||2.1 per cent|
|5||HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAM||£924,728||£870,635||£850,121||-2.4 per cent||-8.1 per cent|
|6||RICHMOND UPON THAMES||£787,671||£759,416||£768,301||1.2 per cent||-2.5 per cent|
|7||WANDSWORTH||£779,290||£776,782||£765,262||-1.5 per cent||-1.8 per cent|
|8||ISLINGTON||£793,998||£726,011||£711,374||-2 per cent||-10.4 per cent|
|9||BARNET||£638,817||£649,619||£672,427||3.5 per cent||5.3 per cent|
|10||HARINGEY||£574,186||£647,189||£645,872||-0.2 per cent||12.5 per cent|
|11||MERTON||£628,355||£625,435||£641,754||2.6 per cent||2.1 per cent|
|12||SOUTHWARK||£646,663||£652,751||£623,206||-4.5 per cent||-3.6 per cent|
|13||LAMBETH||£593,444||£599,002||£598,081||-0.2 per cent||0.8 per cent|
|14||BRENT||£550,006||£569,111||£583,612||2.5 per cent||6.1 per cent|
|15||HACKNEY||£592,321||£577,075||£571,739||-0.9 per cent||-3.5 per cent|
|16||EALING||£527,086||£562,858||£558,959||-0.7 per cent||6 per cent|
|17||KINGSTON UPON THAMES||£565,193||£536,596||£538,036||0.3 per cent||-4.8 per cent|
|18||HOUNSLOW||£507,108||£527,306||£535,569||1.6 per cent||5.6 per cent|
|19||HARROW||£495,212||£539,875||£528,555||-2.1 per cent||6.7 per cent|
|20||TOWER HAMLETS||£485,493||£541,603||£521,627||-3.7 per cent||7.4 per cent|
|21||BROMLEY||£469,537||£486,981||£493,660||1.4 per cent||5.1 per cent|
|22||ENFIELD||£444,711||£469,098||£472,220||0.7 per cent||6.2 per cent|
|23||HILLINGDON||£450,907||£462,411||£462,014||-0.1 per cent||2.5 per cent|
|24||WALTHAM FOREST||£434,126||£455,296||£452,757||-0.6 per cent||4.3 per cent|
|25||LEWISHAM||£447,725||£451,719||£451,838||0.0 per cent||0.9 per cent|
|26||REDBRIDGE||£420,450||£445,638||£449,066||0.8 per cent||6.8 per cent|
|27||GREENWICH||£439,019||£431,684||£420,661||-2.6 per cent||-4.2 per cent|
|28||SUTTON||£398,310||£399,118||£404,936||1.5 per cent||1.7 per cent|
|29||CROYDON||£377,330||£397,070||£393,490||-0.9 per cent||4.3 per cent|
|30||HAVERING||£352,493||£375,895||£377,291||0.4 per cent||7 per cent|
|31||NEWHAM||£361,310||£373,505||£365,573||-2.1 per cent||1.2 per cent|
|32||BEXLEY||£338,756||£353,308||£352,643||-0.2 per cent||4.1 per cent|
|33||BARKING AND DAGENHAM||£289,577||£297,827||£298,224||0.1 per cent||3 per cent|
|ALL LONDON||599,661||614,971||615,838||0.1 per cent||2.7 per cent|
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