PRESS ROUND-UPIf you are trying to sell your home and your estate agent is referring to price per square foot, you may well have the upper hand. This is because size is not necessarily the most important factor when choosing a property. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Express: ’The use of price per square foot as a comparison tool has increased considerably over the past few years but those using it should do so with caution as these figures are useful as a guide only.'
The Halifax reported that house prices continued to tread water in July. Discussing the figures in The Guardian, Jeremy Leaf said: ‘The Halifax figures always command respect, not least because they are well-established and have a good track record of accuracy. They confirm what we are seeing on the ground - that there has been no real change to house prices recently and no significant change is expected as buyers, in particular, seem to be looking beyond Brexit irrespective of the outcome.’ He added in City AM: ‘Prices are being underpinned by shortage of stock, improving affordability and low mortgage rates. What is more important is the number of transactions, which remain sluggish and protracted as sellers reluctantly come to terms with new market realities.'
Meanwhile, HMRC reported that the housing market slowed in July. Jeremy Leaf told The Times: ‘Transactions are always a better barometer of the property market than prices, which can fluctuate quite considerably.'
A Daily Mail reader asks whether they should hold off buying a home until later in the year in the hope that new prime minister Boris Johnson will reform stamp duty. Jeremy Leaf urged some caution: ‘It may not be politically acceptable to bring in stamp duty changes which benefit all buyers in this parliament, given the government’s wafer-thin majority. This is especially true at the margins, around the £450,000 to £500,000 price point, which is where you buying. I would say you are better off negotiating as hard as you can now, taking advantage of present uncertainty, and do your best to get a better price. But, of course, this will depend on supply and demand in the area you are looking in. Delaying your completion is another approach which would keep your options open.’
New research from Zoopla shows that the most expensive cities in the UK are becoming more affordable for buyers. Jeremy Leaf told City AM that there is now some ‘realism entering the market’ and that ‘in some areas, the market is rebalancing between supply and demand’. He said: ‘These figures show that affordability has improved in many areas where it was previously stretched, particularly in places of oversupply such as London. As well as this, improved stability in employment has, to some extent, been outweighing the uncertainty for buyers, caused by Brexit.’