Fri 03 Dec 2021
The Bank of England unexpectedly kept interest rates at the current historical record low of 0.1 per cent in November, but markets expect a hike at the December Monetary Policy Committee meeting. Jeremy Leaf told The Financial Times that although a rise in interest rates would directly impact only a small proportion of borrowers on variable-rate deals, a rise would compromise confidence in the wider market, particularly among first-time buyers on tight budgets.
Some 250,000 sales will miss out on completing by Christmas, according to Rightmove, because of delays in the conveyancing process. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Daily Telegraph: ’Buyer expectations are a lot lower because of the delays that have been suffered by others who have bought and sold recently. Those who want to move before Christmas know it’s not going to be easy, particularly if they are in a chain.’ Mr Leaf added that it had given chain-free properties a ‘competitive advantage’.
Some households in England are paying council tax equivalent to a third of their annual rent or mortgage costs, with vast differences paid across the country. Jeremy Leaf told This is Money: ‘A council tax revaluation is long overdue and, in my view, some extra bands should be added even if the present system stays in place. This is so that someone living in a house worth £20million is not paying the same council tax as someone in a £2m house just because they are both in Band H. Maybe a percentage of stamp duty could be paid to the local authority, or people earning below a certain level should be exempt from payment of council tax and higher-rate taxpayers should be asked to pay more.'
Continuing rising house prices are making it harder for first-time buyers to get on the ladder, with Halifax saying that first-time buyer annual house price inflation is now at a five-month high. Jeremy Leaf told The Express: ’These figures are no real suprise as they confirm what we have been seeing on the ground - there is still plenty of life left in the market. However, buyers can still benefit from record low mortgage rates and many, particularly those entering the market for the first time, must have breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when interest rates remained unchanged.'
Mortgage approvals for house purchase dropped sharply after the end of the stamp duty holiday, according to the Bank of England. Jeremy Leaf told City AM that the figures demonstrated a ‘tipping point’ for the market ‘as the impact of the stamp duty holiday and the number of brought forward purchases was laid bare’. Leaf added: ‘Nevertheless, we have found at the sharp end there are still many trying to take advantage of low interest rates before their seemingly inevitable increase and buy houses rather than flats which are still lagging behind in the popularity stakes, particularly those without outside space.’