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Housing market in need of an energy boost

Alex Gosling

Buyer and seller activity did pick up in September, but the traditional Autumn bounce wasn’t anywhere near as high as we had hoped after a quiet summer. Contributor Alex Gosling, CEO, online estate agents

The market needs a serious energy boost from somewhere, and the Chancellor has the opportunity to do just that next week. Housing, and specifically the issue of a broken stamp duty system, should be at the top of his Autumn Budget priority fix list.

It’s likely helping first-time buyers will be his main focus, but the extra 3 percent  surcharge on second homes has been more damaging to the property market than the lack of first-time buyers, decimating the entire buy-to-let sector. Removing the additional 3 percent  tax charge would immediately inject life into a market which feels like it’s already closed down for Christmas.

On the ground, demand is steady but buyers aren’t showing much urgency to purchase. And nothing much has changed with regards to supply, which is still scraping the bottom of the barrel. Fortunately, last week’s interest rate rise has been absorbed with very little drama. Buyers and sellers haven’t adversely reacted to the rate rise, probably because they have been used to rates at 0.5 percent  for eight years and the Bank of England simply returned the base rate to that level.

It could be an entirely different story if rates started to creep up and the competitive mortgage rates that consumers have been enjoying for some time now, are withdrawn en-masse.

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