Stamp duty changes fail to boost negative housing outlook: BSA

Consumers have welcomed the decision to abolish stamp duty, but this has done little to improve the negative perceptions about the housing market.

The Building Societies Association Property Tracker found that for the third quarter in a row more people said now was not a good time to buy property.

This survey found that consumers were more concerned about the potential risks to the housing market, rather than potential benefits. Risks cited included the increased cost of living and Brexit.

More than half of those surveyed though the changes to stamp duty should make housing more affordable for first-time buyers. However, most potential buyers do not cite stamp duty as a major barrier to home ownership.

In total 30 per cent of respondents disagreed with the statement that now is a good time to buy property. Only 24 per cent agreed. This trend has remained largely unchanged for the past nine months.

Over this period though there has been a marked increase in the number of people worried that rising living costs could de-stabilise the housing market. A year ago only 38 per cent of consumers said this was a concern; now almost half (47 per cent) think this is likely to happen.

BSA’s chief economist Andrew Gall says: “It is positive to see that the Government is taking action to make the journey to home ownership easier for many people. Consumers clearly agree: and the majority feel the stamp duty exemption will make properties more affordable for first-time buyers.

“However, stamp duty has not been a top four barrier in this property tracker’s nine-year history.”

Gall adds: “Raising a deposit remains the greatest challenge. In December, 69 per cent of consumers said this was the biggest barrier, virtually unchanged from September despite these stamp duty changes.”

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