Will stamp duty reform boost FTB sales in 2018?

Recent data has indicated that first-time buyer sales made up the lowest proportion to total sales since 2013.

This is according to the findings of NAEA and ARLA Propertymark, who have analysed their sales and lettings data to provide a review of the year, as well as reveal predictions for 2018.

Compared to 2016, demand saw a rise this year, peaking at 425 registered house-hunters per branch during the first two months of 2017. Over the course of the year, the recorded average was 380, higher than the 2016’s average of 365.

The number of homes available also peaked in February at an average of 44 per branch. In comparison to the previous year, however, the annual average of 39 has not seen an uplift.

Where agreed sales were concerned, the average of 11 per branch was the peak figure reached in both February and June. Year on year, the annual average grew to 11, a modest increase from 10 in 2016.

Throughout the year, properties were sold for less than their asking price 77%  of the time on average. Just 4% sold for an amount in excess of this.

Commenting on the data analysis and speculating on the impact of the stamp duty reform was Mark Hayward. The Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark questioned whether the Chancellor’s announcement really would help first-time buyers access the property ladder, as well as suggesting the need for changes to help second-steppers and downsizers too.

“2017 has been a busy year for the property market, and the Budget announcement to abolish stamp duty for FTBs has given them some optimism. This year saw an average of 25 per cent of sales to FTBs, the lowest in four years. Looking to next year it will be interesting to see what impact the stamp duty change had on the market, and if it really does help FTBs get on the ladder. We still only have a limited supply of housing available and policymakers need to think about how to help others in the chain, such as second steppers and those that would downsize in order to free up more larger homes suitable for families.”

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