The Chancellor has announced that stamp duty is to be abolished for all first time buyers on properties bought up to £300,000, effective from today. In addition, first time buyers purchasing properties up to £500,000 will pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000.
In his Budget, Philip Hammond announced that 80% of first time buyers would pay no stamp duty at all. With 358,000 first time buyers in the last year, this means that at least 24% of all sales in the UK’s housing market are set to be charged 0% tax. Once other exempt sales under £125,000 are taken into account, this figure will be even higher.
Two thirds of properties bought so far this year across the country have been under the new threshold but there are large regional variations. In Wales and the North East, over 90% of sales in the last year have been over £300,000 while just 17% of sales in London were for less than £300,000.
While good news for first-time buyers, this will further squeeze investors in the sub-£500,000 market who are already suffering from increased taxes. What's more, it does not, give any encouragement to owners higher up the chain to downsize.
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Choosing the right agent is key to selling your property. We have seen an increase in online estate agents in recent years and there has been discussion as to whether sellers should sell their home with an online agent or stick with an established high-street estate agent. Here Guild agents share their views on high-street and online agents.
Thomas Devlin-James from Essex Guild Homes talks us through why homeowners should choose a high-street agent for several reasons:
⦁ "No sale, no fee. There is a genuine desire to achieve the best possible price from buyers in the best position.
⦁ No hidden costs.
⦁ Local agents often chase those in a chain to progress the sale faster. They also know local solicitors, who are specialists in their area. But the most important point is experience in the local area, both working and living close to the properties they are selling. "
Expertise is the key
William Taper from Willmotts explains that the traditional agent "has a wealth of experience within the geographical area and this can be put to good use for the client. Your agent only typically gets paid if the sale or letting goes through, so the incentive to complete the deal is significant. Your agent is also able to deal with any potential buyer and has the expertise to get the best possible price in a suitable time frame. The agent can also deal with solicitors and other mortgage lenders to facilitate the sale."
Simon Bradbury from Thomas Morris tells us that the high-street estate agent offers a full service. "The internet only estate agent does not normally offer the full range of essential services required by sellers and landlords without charging additional fees for those services. For example, conducting accompanied viewings."
"This full service includes substantial online marketing for each property via property portals and other internet based marketing channels. Additionally, it may also include significant promotion in newspapers and magazines, which consequently attract purchasers from different sources. Plus, they will have local property knowledge and will only get paid if the house sells at an acceptable figure."
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