Countrywide, the UK’s largest estate agent, has called on the Government to act now to boost the property market, saying that the current low level of house sales is ‘unsustainable’.
The NAEA has also made representations to Chancellor George Osborne, asking for there to be no further property taxes but for Stamp Duty to be reformed.
Countrywide is calling on Osborne to introduce mortgage relief for first-time buyers, set tough mortgage lending targets for banks, provide tax breaks for the private rented sector, and introduce incentives for development projects.
Grenville Turner, group chief executive of Countrywide, said: “A recovery of the housing market is fundamental to economic recovery.”
He went on: “Current transaction volumes are simply not sustainable. Based on current levels of activity, the average home owner moves house once every 25 years as opposed to [the historic norm of] once in every 12 years.
“This has wider implications for society, the labour market and the UK economy. The valuable economic contribution that the property market makes is being overlooked and there is a risk that current Government policy will be ineffective or, even worse, cause unnecessary volatility.
“Some of the critical factors hindering the UK housing market are mortgage accessibility, availability of quality housing stock and lack of investment in the buy-to-let sector to meet the needs of the growing private rental sector.
“Whilst the Government has introduced some measures to increase activity in the housing market, they must have a clear strategy to achieve a balance of demand and supply through tax relief and incentives with the aim being to reduce volatility in the house market.”
Countrywide is calling for tax relief for first-time buyers for mortgages up to the average house price of £169,707.
Among its other suggestions are a cap of 25% affordable housing units per development, to help builders achieve viability and produce more marketable schemes.