The big headline from the Chancellor’s 2017 Budget was that stamp duty will be abolished for first-time buyers purchasing homes worth up to £300,000. To account for more expensive areas like London,properties worth up to £500,000 will be exempt from the duty for the first £300,000 of its value, paying an effective rate of around five per cent on the rest. Whilst it will of course impact the first-time buyer market immediately, this policy change will also have an impact on the prime housing market in the medium and long-term. First-time buyers are the lifeblood of the property market. Increased sales activity at the entry level filters all the way up to the top of the housing ladder. So young people can now buy a small house which allows the occupiers to move to a medium size house which the owners vacate in favour of a large home. The counter-point is that the budget also pledged to build lots of homes which could increase supply and suppress prices - but we’ve heard this many times before and demand always far outstrips supply.
With everything you read in the papers about the dangers faced by the UK economy, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s actually happening to the prime UK housing market. The reality is that every metric we look at shows UK property market, including prime, returning to its long-term equilibrium.
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