To the surprise of some, the National Association of Estate Agents says Labour’s proposals to scrap stamp duty for first time buyers spending under £300,000 could be “a real vote swinger” which would “only mean good things” for young purchasers.
NAEA managing director Mark Hayward says: For many, hidden costs such as stamp duty can be the difference between being able to afford a home, and not being able to afford one. Our recent research showed that just under a third of house sales were made to first time buyers, and hopefully we’ll see this significantly increase over the next three years.”
He continues that: “This could be a real vote swinger for those looking to step on the housing ladder. Scrapping stamp duty for homes under the price of £300,000 would only mean good things for hopeful first time buyers.”
Not everyone in the industry has been so supportive.
Jeremy Blackburn of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, says that while it would help some first time buyers, the drawback is that it is tinkering with demand.
“Prices are already predicted to rise in the next parliament and this is only likely to make matters worse. The promise of one million homes by 2020 is an ambitious target, but Labour has not fully explained how they expect to remove obstacles to such a supply-side revolution. What we need is a drastic increase in supply.” he says.
Nick Leeming - chairman of Jackson-Stops & Staff and one of the few property industry figures to give strongly-worded support to the Conservatives’ extension of Right To Buy to housing association properties - says Labour is stirring up an intergenerational war.
“We want to avoid an intergenerational conflict where the young are pitched against the old over property ownership. We need policies that do not distort markets as this has a short-term effect, rather than delivering a long-term benefit” he says.
Meanwhile Naomi Heaton of London Central Portfolio, a residential fund manager, has described the Labour first time buyer initiative as “a load of old cobblers” and “rubbish”.