Peter Rollings, CEO of estate agent Marsh & Parsons commenting in response to the latest figures from the Land Registry
Mon 26 Mar 2012
"The housing market showed signs of improving health last month, with house prices and activity buoyed by first-timers rushing to beat the end of the stamp duty holiday, and supported by low interest rates and a brightening economic outlook. But the real gauge of recent progress will be how the market copes with the governments ill-conceived changes to stamp duty at both ends of the spectrum. For many first-timers, the stamp duty holidays expiry represents yet another financial hurdle to home ownership. While the NewBuy scheme may cushion the blow to a number of these buyers, its crucial lenders across the board continue to improve their offering to new buyers to prevent the market moving backwards again.
"Londons market has been picking up steam in recent months and although the 2m stamp duty hike represents a financial kick in the teeth for many buyers in the capital, it shouldnt derail its market in the long-term. The prime market has absorbed stamp duty increases in the past, and given the current level of buyer demand, it will weather the storm. While the added cost will plainly affect many buying budgets, most of those looking to purchase property in excess of 2m are unlikely to put their lives on hold and abandon their house-hunting altogether. That said, in practical terms, were going to see a surge in sales of sub 2m properties at the expense of those marketed between the threshold and the 2.3m mark."