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Estate agents predict a surge in sales ahead of stamp duty rise

MIDLAND estate agents are getting set for a busy start to 2016 – predicting a surge in Spring-time sales in the buy-to-let market ahead of changes to the levels of stamp duty.

From April, buy-to-let landlords and people buying second homes will have to pay more in stamp duty; a 3% surcharge on each band. That means that for properties worth between £125,000 and £250,000, where the stamp duty is 2%, buy-to-let landlords will pay 5%.

The move, announced by Chancellor George Osborne in the government’s Autumn Statement, together with reductions in tax relief for landlords, is expected to raise an extra £1bn for the Treasury by 2021. But it has been heavily criticised by landlords.

According to Midland estate agents, it will slow the buy-to-let market down – but may be good news for first-time buyers.

Oliver Knight, a Director of Situ Homes, a property portal bringing estate agents from across the Midlands together, said: “In 2015, landlords accounted for one in four property sales.  After April, we expect this to reduce significantly, perhaps paving the way for more first time buyers to secure a home.”

But first – before the changes come into effect – there will be a significant surge in sales according to the experts at Situ.

The group’s Chairman John Ozwell said: “We are expecting a flurry of investors buying property to let before April because of the changes introduced by the Chancellor in the autumn statement. It will be a busy start to the New Year for the property market across the region. “

On the whole, the 2016 market is predicted to be similar to that seen in 2015.

“We expect sales and listings to be running at the same level which we have experienced since last summer, or perhaps slightly up on that,” Mr Ozwell added.

“2015 was a good year for the Midland market.  In 2016, property prices are expected to keep rising, by approximately 4% to 5%. There will continue to be shortage of stocks throughout the UK, particularly properties for first-time buyers, making the market even more competitive and driving up sales and prices.

“With interest rates forecast to stay low throughout the year – possibly just seeing a small rise – banks and building societies will have even better deals available, again strengthening the market here in the Midlands.”

Situ is a property portal for the Midlands bringing the biggest names in local housing market together to offer a huge choice of homes to buy or rent across some of the most sought after locations in the region.

Situ acts as the voice of the Midland market, its Directors having a combined 130 years of property experience across Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

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