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    The New Reality

    Abnormal is the new normal.

    The Budget has done little to address the real problems of the housing market – lack of transactions and poor use of capacity.

    Abolishing SDLT for first-time buyers and expanding the Help-to-Buy scheme will only fuel the bottom of the market, just raising prices.

    Buyers at the upper-middle end of the market have just got to accept the ‘new normal’ Stamp Duty rates – and vendors are going to have to continue adjusting their prices accordingly.

    We reckon that there are over six million households living in the wrong property, many because they are anxious about moving home in these politically uncertain times.

    Historically the property market stagnates temporarily as we wait for general elections, Budgets, and other major political events. But since the Hung Parliament of 2010 we have been in a permanent state of political flux, and there is no end in sight. A big question mark hangs over the May-led Government, and there will be no resolution to the Brexit issue for several years.

    Of course, it’s not these events in themselves that stop people buying and selling; it’s the fear of the unknown and that the outcome might affect finances, jobs and property prices.

    Fear makes us more tentative. Instead of getting on with the job of moving house, potential movers are dipping their toes in rather than jumping in. They are looking, but not putting their property on the market, so they have no clear idea of what their property is really worth. They are also not hearing about a great deal of property that might never find its way to the portals; and they don’t know the real value of property they might want to buy, as much of it appears on the portals at an inflated price.

    For those who, have a real need and/or real desire to buy, or sell and buy, our best advice is to accept that abnormal is the new normal and start the process. The alternative is to go on putting your life on hold for years.

    If you need finance, start talks with your mortgage provider and jumping through the now necessary hoops. This will give you further clarity about how your finances will stack up.

    If you have a property to sell, put it on the market. You will soon get a clear idea of what it’s likely to sell for and how quickly.

    Our clients who have made a move in the last few years are sitting pretty. The market has been relatively stable, there has been plenty of opportunity for good negotiation. Embrace abnormal, and jump in!

    James Greeenwood

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