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Thursday, 28 August 2008

How to fix the property market - according to our clients

We are working with 3 mid sized regional estate agency groups from the midlands to the South-East.

All have suffered massive drops in sales transactions and all have engaged KSA to assist with cost cutting, reduction of employee numbers and reorganisation of debts using company voluntary arrangements.

I have spoken to all three today and yesterday and some interesting issues have popped out of these discussions

1. All are seeing demand for property rising slightly.

2 All have seen more sales agreed in August compared to previous months.

3. All have seen most of these sales fall through for three main reasons; worries that stamp duty will be suspended, "gazundering" and the withdrawal of mortgage offers at the last minute.

So how would they fix the market is the question we have asked all of them.

  • Get the "cretinous" government to make a decision on Stamp duty, suspension or continuation doesn't matter which. JUST DECIDE. People will hold back if there is a chance of not paying tax!
  • Remove the requirement for HIPS, this was a disaster waiting to happen. All it has done is create jobs for civil servants and consultants.
  • Provide some succour to the mortgage lenders with an extension of the £50bn BOE mortgage rescue facilities.
  • And of course CUT interest rates.

Frankly I don't think all of these are likely to happen as the political pressure on the government would be huge.

Also in my opinion why should the tax payer bail out the home market?

We need to see a recovery in savings and a period of austerity. I remember having to wait 6 months for a mortgage on my first property which cost £16,000, then I had to pay my wages into the Universal Building Society and hope that the manager Mr Davidson would let me have a mortgage based upon my savings. I had to provide a 30% deposit in 1980.

I suspect we will see more banks and building societies applying a similarly careful approach in future ?

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