Property news: Call to the Chancellor

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National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is calling on the Chancellor to consider a review of Stamp Duty and further measures to support housebuilders to ensure a steady supply for commendable initiatives such as Help to Buy.

Mark Hayward, Managing Director of NAEA, said: “NAEA welcomes the Government’s existing efforts to get the market moving again. The Help to Buy equity loan and mortgage guarantee scheme has provided a much needed boost to the housing market.

“However, concerns persist among buyers about the size of the deposits needed, levels of stamp duty and the stability of the market. The unfair ‘slab’ structure of stamp duty needs to be modernised as it remains a huge barrier to buyers.

“The lack of affordable homes continues to exist as an issue and although we support the New Homes Bonus, there still need to be more incentives to increase new builds. These factors combined, mean that the overall levels of home ownership are actually at their lowest rates for twenty years.

“NAEA believes that more action needs to be taken to stimulate house building, support first time buyers with their deposits and make it less expensive for existing homeowners to move.”

ARLA: Autumn Statement comment:

“Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) today calls on the Chancellor to regulate agents working in the expanding private rented sector (PRS).

For the first time since the 1960s, more people are now living in private rented accommodation than in social housing, with 3.8 million tenants in the private rented sector – a 17.4% rise since 1999.

Ian Potter, Managing Director of ARLA, said: “We fully supported the Government in the introduction of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which included a requirement that all letting and property management agents in England should be members of a redress scheme. This was a crucial step towards better regulation in the sector, but is not a silver bullet.

“We believe that that full mandatory government regulation of sales and letting agents is the quickest and most effective method to eliminate unprofessional, unqualified and unethical agents from the rental market. This action is more important than ever before as growing numbers of people now rely on the PRS for their accommodation.

“The Government must also act to encourage landlords to make improvements to existing properties. A suspension of VAT on the purchases of material and labour for capital expenditure or capital allowances for home improvement work could be useful incentives to help upgrade rented housing stock around the UK.”