Buoyant market expectation

RICS chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn
RICS chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn

The North West housing market has seen a rise in demand following the Government’s recent announcement that stamp duty is set to increase for buy-to-let investors; the latest Residential Market survey by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has revealed.

The monthly RICS UK Residential Market Survey showed that demand for homes in the North West rose in December, with 40 per cent of the region’s chartered surveyors reporting a rise in new buyer enquiries (up from 19 per cent back in November), citing a rush to beat April’s stamp duty rise as the reason.

We are anticipating a buoyant first half of the year

From April, buy-to-let investors will be required to pay three per cent more in stamp duty charges than residential buyers looking to purchase the same home. The Chancellor announced these measures in the Autumn Statement last November, with the aim of helping more first time buyers get on to the market.

However, despite the rise in demand for homes in the North West, chartered surveyors in the region, once again, reported a lack of stock coming on to the market. Demand has continued to outpace supply in the region most notably for the past two years.

Jonathan Clayton, FRICS of Bentley Higgs & Co in Blackpool, said: “A high proportion of our sales are to buy-to-let landlords, and although the poor weather over the past month affected sales activity, we’re anticipating a buoyant first half of the year. Buyer enquires are continuing to rise and buy-to-let-landlords are being encouraged by the chance to beat the three per cent stamp duty surcharge.

“However, we still need to see more properties, across all price ranges, coming on to the market to keep up with increasing demand.”

RICS chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn added: “The housing market has experienced an unusually buoyant December. Those in the industry have been speculating that this is the result of the Chancellor’s announcement last November, with potential buy-to-let investors looking to pick up properties before the increased stamp duty levy comes into force next April.”

He predicted the housing market would continue to “heat up” coming months.