Real estate agents trust us with their housing policy wish list


Wednesday, September 14, 2022 1:51 p.m.

With Simon Clarke announced as the new Housing Minister, we asked top estate agents for their housing policy wishlists

Simon Tollit, Partner, Tedworth Property

Operating in Prime Central London’s luxury residential sector, the past two years have seen a strong domestic market and more recently London has welcomed international investors once again. However, with a large number of discretionary transactions, our market reacts poorly to political and economic uncertainties.

With inflation at levels not seen in 30 years, we would like to see Liz Truss arrive at number 10 with a decisive, robust and well thought out housing policy plan to deal with the current problem. With the BoE’s recent predictions of an impending recession, this alone is enough to dampen sentiment and cause hesitation in the housing market, so a well-thought-out control strategy is essential to provide the stability we need. and allow those who wish to move the trust to do so.

We would like to see two things from the new housing minister. First, introduce measures to speed up and protect the sales process for both buyer and seller, ensuring that all parties are required to provide all necessary information within a specified timeframe.

Second, after the Grenfell tragedy, the lingering problem of security (and sale) of residential buildings needs to be addressed urgently. It’s not fair that millions of people are unable to sell their homes through no fault of their own and it should be high on the new minister’s to-do list.

Ben Horne, Head of National Procurement, Middleton Advisors

I would like to see an overhaul of the property transfer process, starting with offers that become legally binding.

It would remove unnecessary costs, endless uncertainty for buyer and seller, gazumping, and everything else that makes moving completely miserable. I recently had a client who spent £27,000 on the process only to have the seller change their mind at the redemption point and not sell.

Marc Schneiderman, Manager, Arlington Residence

My company really wants SDLT rates lowered. Just 20 years ago, the highest rate of stamp duty was 2%. Now it’s 12% plus an additional 2% if you’re a foreign buyer and an additional 3% if you own a property anywhere else in the world.

The government has benefited from huge increases in revenue from SDLT as property values ​​have skyrocketed over the past 20 years. So not only are they now taxing up to eight times what they were 20 years ago, they are also levying this tax on values ​​that have quadrupled – a house that sold for £2m in 1998 would have paid £40,000 £ in SDLT. That same house today, which sells for £8m, is paying 15% (assuming the buyer has a second property) or £1.2m. Totally absurd and unfair.

SDLT increases have stalled the market and forced large numbers of people to relocate.

When there have been SDLT “holidays” during the pandemic, there have been huge increases in activity levels and real estate sales. This should demonstrate how SDLT has affected the sales market and any reduction in this tax would generate a large chunk of sales, providing work for all manner of trades people, surveyors, architects, etc.

Andrew Deverell-Smith, CEO and Founder, deverellsmith

With the latest wave of policy reshuffles over, the first thing that is likely to give the market confidence is continuity. Ten housing ministers have taken office over the past 10 years. It is very difficult to plan and implement major improvements in housing policy with such a short average tenure. We would therefore like to see some consistency in this essential role for the next few years.

Land acquisition and the subsequent planning process can leave large areas undeveloped for years. With universal acceptance that more properties need to be built than the 165,000 per year that we see, it would benefit the market and its consumers if there were processes in place that accelerate the level of development.

To enable this, I would like to see quality funding packages made available to developers and easier planning rules.

Inevitably, if these challenges can be overcome, there will be a question about the physical resources to do the job. The construction sector has seen significant challenges since Brexit which has hampered the ability of developers to access talent. On the face of it, there can only be two real options: raise the level of wages to create a greater incentive for UK workers or create special dispensation to allow migrant workers back into the sector.

Unfortunately, one solution without the other will not have a significant impact on the economy or the volume of stock that the British population badly needs.

Jack Reid, Founder and Co-CEO, Orlando Reid

In recent years, under the Conservative government, there seems to have been a concerted effort to make it harder to own. This was done through the introduction of housing policy such as the stamp duty on second homes introduced in 2016, the abolition of tax relief for homeowners on costs such as their mortgage and the ban on charges June 2019 rental.

With just these three examples, it’s clear the government has been trying to make it harder for landlords to enter the market in order to help first-time buyers move up the housing ladder. However, from what we have seen, the main impact has been higher prices for tenants. As homeowners exit the market, the supply of housing decreases, driving up prices.

Over the past 12 months, in areas of South West London, rents for some properties have risen by 20% and tenants have been forced to pay more than asking price to beat the competition.

The government must encourage owners to return to the market in the short to medium term to help stabilize the market.

The current rate of price growth in the London rental market is the highest I have seen in a decade and needs to be addressed by new Housing Minister Simon Clarke. It should make it easier and more profitable to be a homeowner over the next five years. This will also benefit tenants and normalize rental prices during a tough time with household bills and the rate of inflation.

He should also consider reversing housing policy, such as reintroducing tax breaks on mortgages and reducing stamp duty on second homes.


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