Conditions favour first-time buyers, says new report

First-time buyers can take encouragement from new house price data published by Rightmove.

Their October House Price Index also reveals that property values in the north-west and the West Midlands are performing well compared to other regions.

Higher landlord stamp duties and lower income tax reliefs have seen properties with two bedrooms or fewer, traditionally popular with both first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors, fall by 0.1% last month.

“Landlords are clearly buying far fewer properties and that leaves a gap in the market for first-time buyers,” said Rightmove director Miles Shipside. “While landlords were hit with a 3% stamp duty surcharge on property purchases back in April 2016, in contrast most first-time buyers were effectively awarded stamp-duty-free status in November 2017.

“The fall in prices at the bottom of the market during what is a traditional busier time means that those keen to sell need to price accordingly, which gives an opportunity for those stamp-duty-free first-time buyers to negotiate harder.

“With the government using the tax system to try and help first-time buyers while deterring out-of-favour landlords, prices in this sector have been subdued as intended. That gives aspiring first-time buyers an autumn opportunity to negotiate a favourable deal.”

Regional figures on the up

Property values in the West Midlands rose by 5.5% over the year, the highest annual rate of change in the Rightmove survey. It also showed that properties in the region were selling in an average of 50 days, the second-fastest in the UK and beaten only by Scotland, where the figure was 44 days.

The north-west saw values go up by 3.3% over 12 months, whereas nationally that figure was only at 0.9% and in Greater London they fell by 1.1%.

Prices remaining steady in the one or two-bedroom market, and the possibility of new measures in the Budget on 29 October could boost the outlook.

Mr Shipside concluded, “If the Chancellor’s budget encourages more landlords to sell to long-term tenants for rumoured capital gains tax relief, then landlords who are looking to sell and renters who aspire to become first-time buyers could work together for their mutual benefit.”


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