Frustration reigns in Wales as agents await further reopening of the housing market

While recent amendments have been made to the Stamp Duty (SDLT) in England and Northern Ireland, no changes have been made in Wales, a country where agents are already dealing with far more restrictions then their English and Northern Irish counterparts.

Joe Parry, from Fine & Country Chepstow, says that many Welsh agents are at the end of their tether waiting for the Welsh Government to take action and help industry get back on its feet.

He says that the frustration is also mounting on the side of sellers and buyers who are eager to get moving and wish to be able to view properties but can’t because they are occupied.

“While many understand the situation, a number are becoming irate and they are wanting us to ignore guidelines and get on with it,” says Parry.

He adds that there are agents who are already not following guidelines, which is placing far more pressure on those who are.

“We have been adhering to the Government guidelines and taking the situation seriously, but essentially it is placing our business at risk of losing clients and puts us in a rather difficult situation.

“There are people who are desperate to sell and are prepared to work with agents who are ignoring the guidelines to do so.”

“We will be losing fees for doing the right thing, while other agents gain by turning a blind eye.”

He adds that if the Welsh Government doesn’t follow suit with Stamp Duty changes, it will add further coals on the heads of already frustrated agents and buyers.

Currently in Wales no tax is paid on the first £180,000 of a property, however it increases to 3.5% up to £250,000, 5% up to £400,000, and 7.5% up to £750,000.

Buyers in England and Northern Ireland buying property under £500,000 currently pay no stamp duty until the end of March 2021.

“Before the recent announcement there was already a discrepancy between the Stamp Duty charged in England and Wales, with Wales being more expensive.

“With the recent change in England the gap has widened significantly.”

“We have a listing for £545,000 in Chepstow that is Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC).

“When the sale completes, the amount of LLT payable will be £20,825.

“The Stamp Duty on a property at the same price just a mile away in England would be £2,250.

“A difference of £18,575 that a buyer would have to pay to live in Wales.”

Parry says that there is no reason why the Welsh market cannot follow the same path as England and Northern Ireland.

“We need the Government to act and take further and faster action to get the Welsh property market moving.

“As of right now, we are not seeing the action we need from the Government to boost the market and get up to speed with our English and Northern Irish colleagues,” he concludes.

 

First Minister, Mark Drakeford AM has announced plans to ease lockdown restrictions at the end of the month, including those affecting property sales.

The announcement acknowledged the economic importance of restarting the housing market and signalled an intention to allow viewings of occupied properties from 27 July, as long as current trends on infection rates and public health continue.

The First Minister went on to say that he is meeting Finance Minister Rebecca Evans AM, to discuss Land Transaction Tax (LTT) following the Chancellor’s announcement on stamp duty in England earlier this week.

The Welsh Government are considering the best course of action for housing markets and the wider economy in Wales and will release further information in the coming days.

 

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