Property Law specialists Jackson Barrett & Gass have reported a significant uplift in files opened in the last 3 months, partially attributable to first time buyers.
Files opened in February 2012 was 44% higher for files opened than February 2011.
Sean Barrow, a local solicitor for 33 years said “We have seen a continued surge of first time buyer instructions, particularly in the last few weeks. There is definitely an awareness of meeting the impending stamp duty holiday deadline.”
A Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday for first time buyers will come to an end on 24th March 2012. The holiday relates to the 1% bracket, for properties priced between £125,001 and £250,000. House purchases that take place after 24th March will be subject to duty of 1% of the purchase price, on properties priced within that bracket, meaning a delay could set first time buyers up to £2,500 out of pocket.
However, the uplift in files opened has also been apparent in the prior two months also. January 2012 saw a 39% uplift in files opened than a year ago, and December, traditionally a quieter month, was up 24% on 2010.
Sean said “The December and January figures are perhaps more significant than February. December and January are normally at a complete opposite to each other, but have instead remained steadily busy.
There is certainly evidence of pent up demand for property, created by a shortage of property available on the open market, and I don’t think it is all attributed to first time buyers.
People from all age brackets seem to be taking advantage of record low interest rates, despite the economic uncertainty in Europe.”
So what now for the local property market?
“It is important to remember that the underlying factors that support the property market remain: historically low interest rates and a pent-up demand for houses, unless incomes fall dramatically, and/or interest rates rise significantly.
The fact that people are still choosing to move despite the current financial uncertainty, probably points towards improving consumer confidence, and therefore an upwards movement in transaction numbers and prices.”