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RICS and NFB call for stamp duty holiday

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the National Federation of Builders (NFB) have called for a stamp duty holiday once the lockdown ends.

RICS members are expecting house prices to fall over the next 12 months – but the organisation said temporarily removing stamp duty would help quickly get the market running again.

Hew Edgar, RICS head of government relations, said: “RICS is not an organisation that would call for a stamp duty holiday on a whim.

“As we start to emerge from this crisis, however, it is likely that the finances of potential homebuyers will be under strain, and the burden of stamp duty could put buyers off.

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“For those who can afford to move they may lack confidence in the market, adding to the slow down.

“A stamp duty holiday could be one of the ways to reactivate the housing market quickly as a short term measure.”

Afterwards the NFB backed the call.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “A temporary stamp duty holiday would encourage new build sales and release some much needed cashflow back to our struggling housebuilders.

“It would also ensure vital businesses, such as surveyors and conveyancers, are able to continue operating in these difficult times. We support it.”

The National Federation of Builders also backed are campaigns to defer planning contributions and council tax on vacant new builds, as well as extend planning permissions by 12 months.

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at the House Builders Association (HBA), the housebuilding division of the NFB, said: “Housebuilders, many of whom are struggling to get lending from the government CBILS scheme, are still expected to pay bills, their staff and the supply chain but with reduced or no revenues.

“A temporary stamp duty holiday is another immediately deliverable solution that the government should pursue.

“Any delay in increasing support to our industry will see businesses go to the wall and once one goes, the domino effect will be striking.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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RICS reports rising demand prior to coronavirus

The RICS UK Residential Market Survey found that demand, sales and instructions all rose in February – before the threat of coronavirus likely put the brakes on activity.

Some 22% more contributors saw an increase in sales compared to a fall in February, with activity rising in every region barring Scotland.

Some 20% more contributors saw an increase in enquiries than a fall in February, the third consecutive month demand rose. Meanwhile a net 15% saw an increase in instructions.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “The usually reliable RICS survey suggests that house-price inflation, demand and new listings have been increasing for the past few months, which is good news, even though it is based largely on pre-virus responses.

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“It confirms what many of our buyers and sellers are telling us – that the impact will be serious but short term. Our viewings are about 25% lower than we might have expected at this time of year but sales are not being cancelled so far and we have even seen exchanges of contract immediately post-Budget.”

Nigel Purves, chief operating officer, Wayhome said: “This uptick in activity may be welcomed by those looking to sell, but it doesn’t change the fact that house prices remain too high for many.

“With the Chancellor Budget doing little more to help aspiring homeowners get onto the ladder, people are keen to see new pathways toward homeownership.

“While any support from the government to tackle supply and demand is, of course, to be welcomed – the reality is we need to see real, genuine innovation in the market to make owning a home more achievable.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire