Press Round Up Tue 04 Aug 2020

Press Round Up

Property values fell by 0.1 per cent in June 2020, compared with June 2019, according to Nationwide building society. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Daily Mail: ‘After recording its largest monthly fall for more than 11 years in the last survey, the widely-respected Nationwide house price index shows a continuing flat picture in June. We have seen a similar situation emerge on the ground, at least as far as prices are concerned, but not with activity.’ He explained further in The Guardian: ‘Prices are being kept in check by affordability issues and more supply gradually becoming available. But demand is picking up as some buyers emerge from enforced confinement in unsuitable property and/or relationships to take advantage of continuing low interest rates, while sellers are more realistic.’

There were rumours that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was planning a stamp duty holiday in the autumn. But Jeremy Leaf urged him via The Evening Standard to bring these plans forward: ‘My message to Rishi Sunak would be, if you are thinking of doing this, then please do it immediately and do not say you are thinking of doing it later. It would be a big mistake to announce this before it happens.’

Thankfully, the Chancellor saw sense and decided to bring in the stamp duty holiday immediately, announcing it in his Summer Statement. But Jeremy Leaf warned of the danger of the holiday having an end date of 31 March 2021, telling The Daily Telegraph: ‘To avoid a pinch point, the Chancellor might think about phasing out the deadline; otherwise it could lead to a rush of purchases up to the end of March and a quiet market thereafter.'

Rightmove reports that asking prices topped £320,000 in a record high due to an unexpected mini boom in demand. Jeremy Leaf told The Express: ‘Rightmove are confirming what we have been seeing on the ground but with one important difference; in other words, further release of pre-lockdown pent-up demand has been given added impetus by the stamp duty holiday and greater availability of low-deposit mortgages.’ He added in The Sun that he didn’t expect prices to continue to rise: ‘Looking forward, we don’t expect prices to increase particularly strongly as the number of new listings is also rising, providing more balance between supply and demand. We get the impression that many recognise this may be a relatively short-term surge as government support schemes start to fall away and news about the economy is not very encouraging,’ he said.

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