Estate agents are already setting out their stalls ahead of Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s November 23 Autumn Statement with one simple message - cut stamp duty on the most expensive properties.
Paul Smith, chief executive of Haart, says “the housing market is marked by negatives” and wants urgent action to turn viewings into sales.
“Action needs to be taken to reverse the sluggish activity, to turn these initial engagements with the property market into transactions. A greater injection of confidence and stability is also important for housebuilders, in order to reassure them they will get good margins on the potential sale price of new homes if they start building again” says Smith.
“Surely it is time the new government overturns the negative SDLT hikes both aimed at buy to let investors and at the top end. Measures need eased in order to increase fluidity within the market as these charges are without doubt causing a log-jam – no wonder when buyers have to fork out an extra three per cent on top of the seven per cent they are already paying” concludes Smith.
Meanwhile Alistair Elliott, senior partner and group chairman at Knight Frank, has told the City AM business publication that he wants the May government to come clean with its intentions on property tax.
"They need to signify a ceasing in any additional stamp duty. It would be great for them to indicate a reversal of the trend. Increasing tax doesn't increase housing supply" he says.
Knight Frank says it has seen a 20 per cent drop in residential exchanges since the Brexit referendum vote - not necessarily connected with stamp duty - but the agency’s recent London market reports have shown price falls and poor transaction levels above the £937,000 level where most properties begin to pay higher stamp duty than before.
"It has been significantly impacting those [high-end] offices. We've got to counter that by establishing more offices - more offices in other zones with more volume in the market" he told City AM. Yesterday we reported the opening of Knight Frank’s 30th London branch.