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General Election: estate agents react to Tory manifesto

The Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto has committed to resurrecting the Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme and temporarily removing Capital Gains Tax for landlords who sell to existing tenants.

The policies form part of the Tory’s final attempt to remain in power after the General Election as the party remains behind in the polls.

Despite scrapping the Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme in March 2023, the Conservatives have now said they would bring it back for first-time buyers while also maintaining Stamp Duty exemptions for this group at £425,000.

It would also make the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme permanent and proposed introducing a two-year temporary Capital Gains Tax relief for landlords who sell to their existing tenants. 
The manifesto said the party would pass the Renters Reform Bill and finish reforming leasehold by capping ground rents at £250, reducing them to peppercorn over time. 

The document has received a mixed response from the estate agency sector.

Simon Gerrard, managing director of Martyn Gerrard Estate Agents, said: “These proposals by the Conservatives are devoid of imagination and emblematic of a party that is completely out of ideas.

“The Prime Minister has admitted that it has become harder for younger people to get onto the housing ladder. Despite this, his proposals are rehashed policies that have so far failed to solve this crisis and will do nothing to solve the problem. The overwhelming cause of our children having nowhere to live is the total dearth of new supply coming onto market. 

He also said the Stamp Duty pledge doesn’t go far enough, adding: “The Stamp Duty system in the country isn’t fit for purpose by preventing transactions, jamming the market and disincentivising older people from downsizing homes. If the Government reformed Stamp Duty to encourage downsizers, then there would be more properties suitable for young families on the market, which are also desperately needed. The tax needs a complete revamp not more tinkering around the sides.”

Simon Brown, chief executive of property data firm Landmark Information Group, added: “Whilst cutting Stamp Duty will go some way in temporarily stimulating housing demand and generating economic activity, there remain systemic issue with the home-moving process that must be addressed to prevent further stress and uncertainty.

“Siloed processes, insufficient digitalisation, and overburdened professionals are impacting the volume of completions. Our data shows that home-moves still take 123 days on average to complete – with inefficiencies across the transaction chain and leaving the property market susceptible to external shocks. A cross-market effort is needed to address this – with increased digitisation and information-sharing – to create a healthier property market that works for home movers.”

Nathan Emerson, chief executive at Propertymark, was more positive.

He said: “It is encouraging to see the Conservatives making commitment to consumers via proposals to overhaul the threshold for when Stamp Duty is applicable. Propertymark is keen to see homeownership be a workable proposition and not an aspect that is ever out of reach.

"It’s also encouraging to see strategies for the fast-track regeneration of brownfield sites and urban areas. However, Propertymark awaits further clarity on how any ‘Help to Buy’ scheme would assist first-time buyers when taking their steps onto the housing ladder. Ultimately, we need a fully robust supply of new sustainable housing that is keeping pace with an ever-growing demand.”

  • Samantha Sullivan

    Not enough to help landlords, they are still selling up as soon as they can. Far too many people looking to rent homes, price hikes due to the supply and demand issue. I think they should stop the second home stamp duty / land tax for buy to let's.

  • Hit Man

    No a bad manifesto compared to all the other parties, Best of the bunch for most I think.

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