STAFF INTERVIEW: MICHAEL STEPHENSON

What is your job role within Joplings?

I am the General Manager of Joplings, overseeing and responsible for the running of the business. Working closely with the management team, I support staff and develop the business.

I am a Chartered Surveyor and registered valuer with the RICS. Part of my time is spent providing professional advice, relating to a wide range of property related matters. I also carry out building surveys and valuations for residential and commercial property, along with providing architectural design and construction advice relating to building projects.

Stefan Collier becoming a member of RICS

 

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Guild Blog: How Stamp Duty Changes will Impact the Market?

In his third Budget as chancellor, Phillip Hammond announced that he will extend the cancellation of stamp duty for first-time homebuyers on properties up to £300,000 to first-time buyers of shared ownership properties valued up to £500,000.  He also stated that the measure would be retrospective so that any first-buyer who has bought a home since the last Budget will benefit.

 

The government has done much to enable first-time buyers the opportunity to get into the market and removing stamp duty on all shared equity purchases up to £500,000 is another great initiative for those purchasing their first home. Since the abolishment of the stamp duty for first-time buyers, many more people have been able to get their foot on the property ladder despite the soaring average deposit amount required. In fact, during the first half of 2018, the number of first-time buyers hit a 12-year high at 175,500.

How will stamp duty changes affect the market in 2019?

“Our view is that the first-time buyer market will be one of the larger buyer groups in 2019,” says Michael Delaney, Director at Lane & Bennetts, “and provided they are well funded for deposits through savings or the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’, the changes will end up being a kick starter for the sub £300,000 sales market currently being vacated by the buy to let landlords who have been inhibited by the tougher tax regimes.”

Other than focusing on stamp duty, could more be done?

While some believe the changes will continue to boost the numbers of first-time buyers in the market, others believe that more could be done, and certain factors could nullify the impact. Patrick Stappleton, Managing Director of Redwell Estates Ltd, says that anything to help first-time buyers get into the market is a good thing, but like all schemes, they aren’t going far enough. “They should be focussing on getting single occupancy of larger properties moving to release more housing into the mainstream and allow more people to move up the housing chain,” he adds.

 

Brexit remains a factor

Jack Reid, Managing Director of Orlando Reid, says: “There will be an increasing number of motivated buyers out there looking for their first home. It will have a bigger effect on the market outside of London as the stamp duty exception is up to £300,000. It won’t benefit London if a buyer were to purchase a whole property as opposed to shared ownership because of the higher prices compared to the rest of the UK. However, it will increase the number of shared ownership purchases for first-time buyers in the capital. I personally don’t feel it will have a huge positive impact on the market as right now the bigger problem is the uncertainty caused by Brexit and the lack of a deal with the EU.”

Director of Hunter French, Jacob Heatley-Adams, says: “Although the change could have a positive boost on the housing market which would, in turn, feed up through the market to create fluidity, the effect that Brexit is having has nullified any positivity that this decision would have created. It seems that first time buyers are sitting on their hands waiting to see what the outcome of Brexit is. Let’s face it, if you were a first-time buyer and had heard Mike Carney spouting that house prices could drop by a third if a no deal Brexit happened then you would no doubt be waiting to see what happened.”

 

What about stamp duty charges in the second-hand market?

While the much focus has been placed on first-time buyers, not much has been done to boost other sectors of the market. According to Heatley-Adams, there has been a rapid slowdown in the market over the last couple of months despite having plenty of sellers wanting to move, it seems that they cannot move as the market is not flowing.

Sue Dyer, Partner at Atwell Martin, says that the main problem many agents are coming across is the 3% stamp duty on second homes. “The current stamp duty on second homes has prevented a lot of potential purchasers from buying holiday homes or a pad for Monday to Friday working or parents looking to invest in property for children entering University. Should this be lifted then the marketplace would become a lot freer flowing again.”

Jared Thomas, Director of Emsleys Estate Agents Ltd, agrees. “I don’t believe the change in stamp duty for first-time buyers will have much of a positive impact on the market. In all honesty, they need to remove the second property stamp duty charge to have any positive impact whatsoever,” says Thomas.

 

Jobs and deposit requirements still a factor

According to David Corben of Corbens in Swanage, the south coast market has seen no effect whatsoever with the changes in stamp duty. “We are primarily a holiday and retirement town which, because of the lack of jobs in the area means that most young first-time buyers have to move out to Poole or Bournemouth to secure a job.  For those who stay, unless they are fortunate to be blessed with the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ most will be unable to afford to save for the initial deposit to buy their first home so will end up renting, and it is the rental market which has been hit more by the changes with the two-tier stamp duty levy.  What we have seen over the last two years is buy-to-let investors have been put off purchasing because of the increase in the second home duty,” he adds.

 

While the full impact of the stamp duty changes remains to be seen, it seems the general sentiment among agents is that more still needs to be done to encourage transactional volumes and price growth in all sectors.

To find out the stamp duty payable on your home purchase use our stamp duty calculator.

Should you buy, sell or trade up before Brexit?

There is no doubt that Brexit has already had an impact on the property market with many adopting a wait-and-see approach until the final deal has been made. As March 2019 and a final decision edges closer, many people are wondering whether they should take advantage of the current situation and buy or trade up, while house prices have subsided. On the other hand, some people are conscious that a hard Brexit could see the housing market slow down and are trying to decide whether now is a good time to sell. 

 

We asked Members of The Guild to give their advice about what they think homeowners should do. Here’s what they said:

It remains a case of supply and demand

Andy Goundry of Goundrys said: “Interestingly, where we are in Mid Cornwall, it appears that people have taken two different views. We have had potential buyers saying they will wait until the uncertainty is over as they feel prices may well reduce and so they will wait. Conversely, we have had some sellers place their property on the market in the hope if they sell now, they may obtain a better price than if they wait until next year. In our area, as always, it remains a case of supply and demand. We have seen a decrease in the number of buyers. However, the dearth of available property still means that a realistically priced property is agreeing a sale within a matter of days.”

Andy adds that if people are trading up or down, then it remains a matter of relative price differential and makes little difference whether that is in a falling or rising market. “Certainly, if the property isn’t on the market, then I guarantee it won’t sell!”

 

Good stock is being secured quickly

Director of Maguire Jackson in Birmingham, Philip Jackson, says that the Brexit question has undoubtedly injected some caution in recent weeks into the local market, taking some of the projected growth out of the market. “However, it hasn’t completely stopped the annual growth we have witnessed over the past three years. There are indications this autumn that some vendors are making the decision now to sell, in the anticipation that the sales market going forward into 2019 might become more difficult.  For purchasers, it means there is more stock coming into the market and positively slightly more choice, however, good stock is still being secured quickly, helped by continuing anticipated overall price growth.”

 

We will begin to prosper again

According to Ben Dreher of Mansbridge Balment, the current uncertainty in the market has caused a drop in sales volumes and an increase in available property. “For the first time in many years, buyers now have the upper hand and as such, there is more scope for negotiation – so yes, they should buy now if they can. Once Brexit is agreed and as a country, we begin to prosper, house prices will undoubtedly start to increase again, so buying now could prove to be a very wise move.”

 

The ideal time to trade up

Residential Sales Manager of Rickman Properties, Stuart Mills, says that when the market is sluggish, and prices are proving more flexible, this is the ideal time to trade up. “The gap between higher and lower priced properties narrows considerably, for instance, if selling at £500,000 and buying at £1,000,000 the difference is £500,000. However, if the market were to come down 10%, the figures look different you are now selling at £450,000 and buying at £900,000, the difference is now £450,000. It’s the same properties, but you are saving £50,000. Looking forward, when the market goes back up 10% your old property is worth £495,000 and your new property is worth £990,000, so you have gained £45,000, making a total saving and gain of £95,000.”

He adds that more than ever this is a great opportunity to trade up, for those who hesitate, and wait until the market is back and moving forward they will see the gap between the more expensive properties and their own grow, and perhaps become unaffordable.

“Another factor to bear in mind is that if you buy a property now, the value becomes unimportant, it only becomes a factor when you sell. Most properties these days are owned for 10-12 years and longer. A property should be a home and enjoyed as such, if you like it and can afford it, and it’s what you want, buy it.”

 

The markets and economy will take time to adjust

Avin Jay, Director at Mansell McTaggart, agrees that now is a great time to sell and trade up if you are playing the percentage game. “Whatever the outcome, the markets and economy will take time to adjust. Very much the same when interest rates rise,” he explains. “I think there are two types of buyers out there, the ones who want to make a profit and the ones who make that emotional purchase. The real problem in the market is overvaluing and Stamp Duty, the additional 3 per cent required when purchasing a second home has got to go.”

 

Property prices in the UK will always increase

Fine & Country’s Adam Tahir, says that very few people truly understand Brexit and what will or won’t happen across all public and private sectors. “Having worked through two prior recessions, there has always been one clear outcome, property prices in the UK will always increase. This comes down to the lack of supply and the ever-increasing demand of homes available. Over the next few years, uncertainty is the key feature here, however, with interest rates lower than they have ever been before, pre-Brexit remains to be a good time to sell, buy or upgrade,” he says.

“Some buyers have lost the meaning of buying a property now. Too many people buy a property for one price because it will be worth a higher price in six months. Over the next five years, we need to go back to buying properties as homes and stop focusing on the appreciation value. Brexit will be another blip, another reason for prices to come down or ‘balance’ so to speak, but eventually prices will increase again and when they do another situation or scenario will arise and the entire cycle will start again.”

 

Brexit, No Brexit, Hard Brexit…people still need a roof over their head

According to Steve Wayne of Benjamin Stevens in Edgware, the property market is largely influenced by interest rates and salaries.

“Brexit, No Brexit, Hard Brexit…in the whole scheme of things, it will be another footnote to history in a decade. We have survived the Oil Crisis, 20%+ Hyperinflation in the 1970’s, Mass Unemployment in the 1980s, Interest Rates of 15% in 1990s, the Global Financial Crash in 2009, whatever happens, happens. People still need houses and a roof over their head. If property values drop, it is only a paper drop in value because you lose when you sell. Long term, we aren’t building enough homes, and so, property is a long game no matter what happens – the property market will always come good,” he concludes.

 

Are you looking for your first property? Contact one of our Guild agents today. Find your nearest office here.

Guild Blog: The Guild comments on the Autumn Budget

The Guild comments on the Autumn Budget …

Briefly discussing the housing market in his third Budget as chancellor, Phillip Hammond announced that he will extend the cancellation of stamp duty for first-time homebuyers on properties up to £300,000 to first-time buyers of shared ownership properties valued up to £500,000.  He also stated that the measure would be retrospective, so that any first-buyer who has bought a home since the last Budget will benefit.

According to Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, removing Stamp Duty on all shared equity purchases up to £500,000 is great news for prospective homebuyers getting into the market for the first time, but will do little for those who currently own property and wish to trade up. “Since the abolishment of the stamp duty for first-time buyers, many more people have been able to get their foot on the first rung of the property ladder. In fact, as Hammond announced, the number of first-time buyers purchasing property is at an 11-year high. However, it seems that the last two first-time buyer incentives have been designed to drive the focus away from the traditional second-hand market. Initially Help to Buy and now the incentive to buy shared equity property,” he says.

 

More money for Housing Infrastructure Fund

Hammond also announced that he will give a further £500m to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is designed to enable a further 650,000 homes to be built. “The demand for housing in the UK has long outweighed the number of available properties. This further allocation of funds will assist the government in addressing the housing shortage and will create more opportunities for people to become homeowners,” said McKenzie.

 

Housing on the high street

McKenzie adds that another interesting point that the Chancellor made was turning unused commercial spaces on the high streets into residential housing, again in a bid to ease the burden of the housing shortage, as well as rejuvenating the high-street and creating more foot traffic past high-street businesses. An amount of £675 million will be put into a future high street fund to redevelop un used areas and help the high streets adapt and increase interest for local businesses.

 

Lettings relief limited

In the Budget, Hammond said that from April 2020 lettings relief would be limited to properties where the owner is in shared occupancy with the tenant. “The lettings relief is often used by people who have difficulty selling their home, whereby a maximum of £40,000 of gain per owner is exempt if the property is rented out. It seems that small landlords are being targeted again with the reformation of the lettings relief, as it is only available where the owner and tenant are in shared occupation,” adds McKenzie.

 

International investment

Permanent tax relief has increased from £200,000 to £1 million for 2 years to encourage more investment. “With many international property investors adopting a wait-and-see attitude towards the UK before the Brexit decision, a tax relief could be a great incentive to allure them back in and encourage further investment in the country. However, the extent of this will remain to be seen,” said McKenzie.

 

“Overall an encouraging Budget for housing in the short term, but the real question remains. What is the government’s long-term strategy? More still needs to be done to encourage transactional volumes and price growth in all sectors,” he concludes.

Guild Blog: Property Predictions for the Housing Market of 2018

Looking back over 2018, have the housing predictions from earlier in the year and before the Spring and Autumn Budgets come to fruition?

 

 

 

What will happen to the housing market in 2018?

There are lots of housing predictions, from big growths to slight falls in house prices, but overall, most experts predict a slight rise in prices of around 1%. Find out what the big forecasters, RICS, Nationwide and Rightmove, predict in our quick video. Small house price increases mean that it is a good time to move. You can get a good sale price for any current property you own, and there is not a huge rush to buy, so you can take your time to find your dream home.

 

If you would like to discuss the market value of your property with a Guild of Property Professionals’ Valuer, please contact us at our Ripon Office on 01765 694800 or our Thirsk Office on 01845 522680.

 

 

The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country. Find out why you should choose them to sell your homeClick here to find your closest Guild Member.