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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide chief says housing market help should be 'tenure-neutral'

Countrywide chief executive Alison Platt says she welcomes the government’s scrapping of stamp duty for first time buyers purchasing homes under £300,000 but believes there should be what she calls a “tenure-neutral” approach to the reshaping housing market.

“It is no longer realistic to look at the housing market with a focus on home ownership alone. The rented sector is, and will continue to be, a hugely important part of the provision of housing in this country. The UK housing market needs a co-ordinated tenure-neutral approach to addressing the problems in the market which recognises the changes in tenure choices already taking place" says Platt.

And although she believes the first time buyer initiative will relieve some pressure on the market and young purchasers, there is more to do.

“Stamp duty is a significant hurdle for all buyers, not just first -time buyers. It is activity amongst movers that is most critical to the growth of transactions in the wider housing market. 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” she says.

Meanwhile the investment magazine Moneyweek has taken a swipe at Countrywide’s poor performance on the stock market throughout 2017.

In a feature this week called ’If you’d invested in Intertek and Countrywide’, writer Alice Grahns looks at the safety certification company Intertek, which this year has seen its share price rise 55 per cent, its sales spike 13.2 per cent in six months, and a number of acquisitions. 

By contrast she says “Be glad you didn’t” invest in Countrywide. 

She then writes: “In November it said that revenue was down seven per cent to £175m in the quarter to the end of September compared with the same period last year. In the first half of the financial year it also saw a 98 per cent collapse in pre-tax profits, falling to £477,000 from £24.2m a year earlier. Its shares are now down by 28 per cent in the year to date, and it dropped out of the FTSE 250 in December last year.”

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