CategoriesWeekly News

Well before we know it, we have reached the last weekly newsletter of the year! Do not fear though, as we will be back in January to bring you all the ‘need to know’ property headlines.

This year has been an unusual one, to say the least, and has had plenty of ups and downs. That said, the UK property market, overall, has stayed resilient and strong which has been really amazing to see. Fingers crossed that it continues throughout 2021.

The office will be shut until January 4th but if you do need a member of the team for anything then it is best to email them directly or send your enquiry to [email protected].

Thank you for being with us this year and we look forward to seeing you next year as well.

Now, let’s take a look at the property headlines that caught our attention this week, I always try to summarise the links to save you having to click through.

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Property news this week

  • UK Property Boom Will Last Another Year, Rightmove Says – Rightmove, one of the UK’s biggest property portals, are being very optimistic when it comes to their prediction for the 2021 UK property market. They believe that the surge in prices will continue into next year as housing needs outweigh economic uncertainty. They predict a 4% increase in house price growth in 2021. Currently, there is a logjam of 650,000 properties in the market, with prices up 6.6% compared to this time last year, the property website said. They see Q1 being busy as people hurry to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday that ends in March and that cheap mortgage rates will attract first-time buyers and fuel activity. Tim Bannister, a director at Rightmove said, “Pandemic-related uncertainties have been around for nearly a year, and Brexit uncertainties for far longer, and record activity month after month has proved that movers are willing and able to act on their new or existing housing priorities”. Let’s hope their prediction is right. Nick and I have made our own predictions so if you want to see what we said then tune into our podcast episode next Wednesday 23rd December.
  • UK homebuyers looking for ‘fancier’ amenities amid COVID-19 – Research from Good Move has highlighted that Brits are now turning away from practical home features and towards more lavish amenities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They reported that searches for apartments with a balcony shot up 147% compared to 2019 (the highest increase for any property feature) suggesting that buyers are looking for more outdoor space brought on by the impact of the pandemic. In addition to balconies, apartments with hot tubs (139%), and houses with tennis courts (127%) or swimming pools (109%) saw the biggest increase in searches. Meanwhile, driveways (up 106%), conservatories (101%) and double garages (77%) saw smaller increases. In terms of the type of houses, the most popular searches with the biggest year on year growth were two-bed houses and the cities with the biggest growth of homebuyers searching are Bradford (up 52%), Liverpool (51%), Sunderland (48%), Preston (45%) and Newcastle (42%). Good Move director Nima Ghasri said, “Against all odds, this year has positively impacted the UK housing market and completely transformed the way buyers and sellers look at properties”. I find it very interesting to see just how quickly this pandemic has caused consumers/buyers behaviour and trends to change. So if you are selling property next year and what to get the most interest, make sure you have a balcony or a hot tub….or both!
  • Madness! Government refusal to extend SDLT holiday provokes anger – Well, Bah Humbug! The government has taken on the role of Scrouge this year and refused to extend the stamp duty holiday leaving agents and property experts very angry. The government has told campaigners that it “does not plan to extend the relief” beyond March 31 next year. Even TV property expert Phil Spencer expressed complete exasperation at the government’s refusal tweeting “The stamp duty holiday has been successful in activating the market. Ending on a cliff edge will create utter chaos! Surely it can be phased out? Timescales on deals slip more often than they don’t. The motivation behind people moving could disappear in a single day. Utter madness!”. This is not ideal, however, it is not the complete end of the world. Yes, some transactions may fall through because of it but I think closer to the time, the majority of people that might miss the deadline will swallow it and carry on.
  • Landlords urged to ‘come clean’ with undeclared rental income as HMRC scrutiny rises – Shenward, a Yorkshire-based firm of chartered accountants and business advisors, has noticed that HMRC officials are increasingly pursuing individuals they believe may be underpaying income tax. They have seen an increase in enquiries from landlords who have received warning letters from HMRC. The HMRC has previously estimated there are 1.63 million private landlords in the UK but only around 500,000 regularly file tax returns. In 2019, HMRC found 11,129 landlords either under-paid or failed to pay income tax on rental income compared to 8,704 in 2018. HMRC has the power to collect information from estate agents, mortgage lenders and local authorities and can use this to pursue those they suspect of avoiding tax. Tax officials can launch a financial investigation going back 20 years and impose substantial penalties and back-dated interest on the tax owed. Sherad Dewedi, a managing partner at Shenward, said “We understand that in recent years some families may have become buy-to-let landlords almost by default due to bereavements or children going off to university but even though they may not consider their rental property a business as such doesn’t mean this shouldn’t be declared and any taxes paid. Our advice is: ‘Act now’.”

Have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’ll see you in 2021.

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