Was it a missed opportunity to ignore Stamp Duty reform?
In the wake of the Chancellor’s Spring Budget on March 8, most media reports have focused on a so-called tax raid on the self-employed, but many experts in the property industry were more concerned by what was left out, rather than what was left in. Time will tell whether this has a detrimental effect on the housing market across the UK.
A number of industry insiders were hoping to see the beginnings at least of a reform on Stamp Duty, but in the end nothing of this nature materialised. A reform would have given the market a huge boost, but if there is to be any significant change it will now have to wait until at least November, when the Autumn Statement is made.
Stamp Duty generates a great deal of income for the government, and any reform will no doubt have been resisted strongly by certain ministers. The problem for the general population, however, is that this form of indirect taxation makes it increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to gain a foothold on what is already a difficult ladder to climb.
A busy market, but could it be busier?
Given the fact that the highest property values are often to be found in London and the South-East, it’s easy to see how such decisions can affect the market in an already congested region. Finding a home is difficult enough here, but it becomes almost impossible for some without a little help from the government.
While some industry experts expected nothing more than stubborn intransigence, there were some who at least hoped for a reduction in Stamp Duty levels for second home buy to let properties. This would have been seen as a positive step for all, and the knock-on effect would have been welcomed by renters on reduced incomes.
All is not doom and gloom, however, because the housing market itself is performing well. Here at James Neave, we continue to see a regular throughput of properties of all shapes and sizes. Like all estate agencies, however, we find the number of first-time buyers remaining fairly static. An opportunity may have been missed by the Chancellor in this regard.
For any government in any era, it’s almost impossible to make everyone happy via an annual Budget, of course. The omission of Stamp Duty reform this time around won’t have helped the property market, but some industry experts will no doubt continue to press for reform before the Autumn Statement. This is something of a hot potato in political terms, and it’s likely to be an issue that doesn’t go away.
Five wonderful reasons to start a new life in Surrey
Some parts of the UK have become synonymous with a good quality of life, and Surrey has always been part of that select group. This is a county that has something for everyone, whether you’re newly married, relocating for work, taking your first independent steps or retiring to a quieter part of the world. If you’re looking to start a new journey, here are five reasons why you should consider sumptuous Surrey.
1. You’ll be surrounded by serenity
The county is home to a number of pleasant towns, but even in the heart of any of them you won’t be far away from the countryside. Those who are already fortunate enough to live in Surrey know that areas such as Box Hill, Ashtead Common and the Devil’s Punch Bowl are all worthy of exploration, and the rightly celebrated Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are a must-visit.
2. Your commute will be easy
While the countryside of Surrey may seem a million miles away from the centre of London, the truth is it’s not that far at all. For commuters, the journey to the metropolis is fast and relatively painless. For example, trains from Walton-on-Thames to London Waterloo take just 35 minutes or so, and during peak times there are several trains per hour.
3. Retail therapy will be on your doorstep
Some people like nothing better than a trip to London to tour the shops, but many locals know there’s no need to hit the city at all. Surrey’s towns offer a superb range of stores selling everything from high end fashions to iconic artworks and everything in between. Favourite spots for shopping expeditions include the cobbled streets of Guildford and The Heart in Walton-on-Thames.
4. Getting from A to B will be easy
During peak periods, Surrey’s roads can become as congested as those in any other county, but most of the time they are easy to use and a pleasure to drive on. The county is criss-crossed by a number of major routes, including the A3 to Portsmouth, the M23 to Brighton and the M3 to Southampton. Heading north, all of these routes will also take you into London.
5. Finding the right home will be simple
Thanks to a thriving property market, Surrey vendors are able to sell their homes quickly and with a minimum of fuss. Here at James Neave, we have been selling flats and houses in Surrey for a number of years, and we deal with potential buyers from all parts of the county and right across the UK and beyond. This is an area that is in great demand, and it’s a trend that shows no sign of stopping.
If you’re thinking about selling or perhaps you’re looking to buy or rent, why not get in touch today? We offer a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable service and we’d love to hear from you.