Government needs to make ‘urgent’ changes to property market, says leading estate agent  

Government needs to make ‘urgent’ changes to property market, says leading estate agent

Estate agent Knight Frank has called on the Government to make ‘urgent’ changes to the property market.

As it reported a 14 per cent rise in profits to £166.7million for the year ending in March, chairman Alistair Elliott said the firm was facing ‘significant’ headwinds in the UK, including increased regulation and higher costs for both construction and transactions.

He added: ‘There must be an acknowledgement of the barriers and an encouragement of investment.’ 

Knight Frank has called on the government to make ‘urgent’ changes to the property market

This should involve an ‘urgent review’ of rising business rates – the taxes which have been blamed for forcing many High Street stores to close. 

Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank said: ‘A new additional rate of stamp duty for foreign buyers levied on UK property purchases risks undermining investment in new housing in London and across the country.

‘The most recent comprehensive academic investigations undertaken on this issue have found that rather than raising house prices, foreign purchases of new build property acted to help forward-fund new delivery of much needed accommodation.

‘Further, this new proposed tax is another in a long line of property tax changes which have acted to weigh on property transactions by raising costs and creating market uncertainty and, according to the government’s own data, these changes are now helping to reduce market liquidity and stamp duty tax take.

He added: ‘The need for a truly accessible housing market is well articulated by most political parties – the challenge is to create policies which aid this objective rather than hinder it.’ 

The latest data suggests house prices have dipped for the second month in a row. 

Halifax reported last week that property values fell by 1.4 per cent in September, after a 0.2 per cent slide in August.

Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said buyers who do not have to move now are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach instead.

He said: ‘For those who are willing to get on with it, there are deals to be done – as long as sellers are prepared to be realistic on price.’