PRESS ROUND-UPTricky market conditions mean there is a risk of underpricing your property if you want to sell it quickly, Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Evening Standard: ‘It is better not to underprice your property because it will give the impression that something is wrong with it. If you want to attract a buyer you have to think like a buyer: think about what else is available in the area for that price and whether your property stands out enough, in terms of images, accommodation or price. You have to stand out because there are fewer buyers in the market at the moment.’
Some experts have suggested that if developers were allowed to build on the space above existing blocks of flats, many more homes could be provided. But Jeremy Leaf issued a note of warning in The Times: ‘In many cases the extended buildings will have inadequate amenity space or parking provision and may not have taken into account overlooking or light issues. Pleasant high streets could end up with rooftop shanty towns of ill-considered boxes.’
House prices held steady in August, according to the Halifax. Jeremy Leaf told This is Money: ‘What we are seeing on the ground is a little more enthusiasm from buyers and sellers returning from holiday and finding they can put off making the necessary changes in their accommodation no longer.’ He added in City AM that only sellers ‘prepared to negotiate hard’ are making sales.
Developers have been accused of putting pressure on buyers to use their preferred mortgage brokers and solicitors, or risk missing out on the homes they want to buy. However, Jeremy Leaf told The Times that the main motivation for using certain solicitors and brokers is not money but speed: ‘The advantage [for developers] is those on the panel are used to dealing with their terms. There are some difficult solicitors and mortgage brokers, and this avoids working with them.’
Commenting on the latest RICS housing survey, Jeremy Leaf told The Express: On the ground, we have seen plenty of caution and many buyers and sellers sitting on their hands. However, longer-term buyers of smaller houses have been looking beyond Brexit and taking a view on likely price movements. He concluded: ‘Other recent market surveys bear out this trend; in other words, the market is showing more resilience than we might have dared hope. Certainly, we are not finding buyers and sellers withdrawing from transactions because of worries about imminent market correction.’
Accidental landlords could face an unexpected tax bill if they sell their property after 5 April as a shake-up of CGT rules is on the way. Jeremy Leaf told The Times: ‘Landlords are getting over the disappointment of a series of tax and regulatory changes in the sector over the past few years. They are starting to return to the market and the departure of the ‘accidentals’ has meant higher rents. However, all landlords are keeping a watchful eye on government actions, including the imminent CGT changes. There is also the possibility of rent controls and tenants’ right-to-buy if Labour wins a general election, which could lead more landlords to exit the sector.’