The Nationwide Building Society has reported a fairly slow start to the year in the UK housing market. Prices across the UK rose by 0.7% in March but the longer term picture showed a slow down in house price inflation.
The Budget introduced a 2 year stamp duty holiday on sales up to £250,000 for first time buyers only to boost the lower end of the market. The other change to stamp duty affected the top end with a proposed increase of 1% to 5% on properties of £1 million plus. This would be introduced in April 2011 in the event that Labour win the next General Election. Knight Frank’s Liam Bailey commented that this would be a “minor irritation”. “For houses worth around £1million there will be pressure from buyers to pull back asking prices below the new threshold to avoid paying the extra stamp duty” he added.
Whilst there are signs of an increase in supply of good quality property coming onto the market, the economic climate and a forthcoming General Election mean there is still a lot of uncertainty around. So 2010 is predicted to be a ‘flat’ market with excellent opportunities for buyers to secure sound medium to long term investments in the right properties.