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Wave goodbye to promising recruits

Whatever your views of the government’s Stamp Duty move, at least it had one positive effect – ending speculation about the tax, which has had a negative effect on house sales.

In terms of the other measures proposed in Labour’s mortgage rescue package, I don’t have a handle on what is going to happen and I’m not sure anyone else does either.

But I feel sorry for consumers who completed purchases on September 2, as the Stamp Duty changes came into force the following day.

Although I don’t imagine hordes of borrowers were affected, it seems unfair to me.

Of course, it also means we could see a rush of completions when the temporary increase to the Stamp Duty threshold comes to an end next September.

Again, I don’t believe the numbers involved will be huge because the mortgage market is unlikely to have improved enough by then but it could cause a bit of a bubble.

I went to a conference recently and found myself chatting to a chap I first met in the Spring. Back then he had recently passed his exams to become a broker and was full of enthusiasm. I became self-employed at around the same time so we compared notes about our experiences of going it alone. I had an industry track record and a number of professional contacts behind me, as well as the reassurance of savings in the bank.

I was also armed with the knowledge that even in the good times a new business can take two years to become established in the mortgage market.

He had just set up as a sole trader working from home. Perhaps he could have planned his move into self-employment better but when we first met his excitement was almost tangible.

As it turned out, the two of us could have chosen better times to become self-employed brokers – to say it’s been a difficult year for the industry would be an understatement.

For him, the downturn came as a shock. It’s been too much of a mountain to climb so he’s looking for an alternative way to pay the bills.

I tried to encourage him but it’s likely that his enthusiasm will be lost to our industry. Sadly he won’t be the last casualty.

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