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How could the General Election help home movers?

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As the general election approaches, it seems most people (95%) planning to move this year aren’t letting it affect their plans. However, with political parties outlining their home-moving policies, over 14,000 people, estate agents, and Rightmove experts were asked what changes they’d like to see. Here’s a look at the four key priorities they identified for the next government.

  1. Speeding Up House-Building and Supporting First-Time Buyers

More New Homes Needed

If we can build new homes more quickly while maintaining quality, it could help more people move or get onto the property ladder. Demand for homes is up by 15% since 2019, but available homes are down by 6%. The rental market is even tighter, with demand up by 32% and available homes down by 38%.

This imbalance has driven up asking prices and rents. The national average asking price is now 22% higher than five years ago, at £375,131, while rents have surged by 40% to £1,479 per month.

A smoother planning processes could transform new home delivery and produce more affordable housing. This could benefit first-time buyers and offer opportunities for downsizers to move into greener, more efficient homes.

Longer-Term Solutions for First-Time Buyers

Renters’ top request for the next government is more support to get on the property ladder. High mortgage rates make it tough to juggle rent, save for a deposit, and earn enough for mortgage approval, especially for solo buyers.

Reviewing mortgage affordability criteria to unlock greater affordability responsibly could be a longer-term solution, such as longer-term fixed-rate mortgages, which could provide payment certainty and help first-time buyers more effectively than short-term schemes. Regulatory changes will be crucial to ensure these solutions are practical and widely adopted.

  1. Reforming Stamp Duty

The most significant change homeowners and agents want is a stamp duty reform. High stamp duty can be a major barrier, particularly in expensive areas, preventing many from moving.

Since 2022, first-time buyers in England and Northern Ireland have been exempt from paying stamp duty on properties up to £425,000. This relief is set to end in April next year. Tim Bannister of Rightmove suggests the next government should make these changes permanent and consider broader reforms to encourage movement up and down the property ladder. Adjusting stamp duty thresholds to reflect regional price differences could be a logical first step.

  1. Incentives for Greener Homes

Green incentives are the third most requested change from homeowners. For renters, improving the energy efficiency of rental homes is also a top concern.

A proposed deadline for landlords to upgrade homes to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C was scrapped, leaving many unsure about what changes to make and why. Homeowners need better access to schemes for making green improvements, considering the high upfront costs and the unique needs of each home.

  1. Simplifying and Speeding Up the Home-Buying Process

Simplifying the home-buying process is the second most requested change among homeowners. It currently takes more than seven months on average from putting a home up for sale to moving, which is a frustratingly long timeframe with no recent improvements. The next government should prioritize speeding up this process, working closely with the property industry to make home-moving less stressful and more seamless.

We hope the next government introduces long-term solutions to help home-movers across the UK, rather than short-term schemes that only offer temporary relief.

Here are the top priorities:

Home-owners’ Top Priorities:

  1. Reforming the stamp duty system
  2. Simplifying the home-buying process
  3. Incentives for green improvements
  4. More mortgage schemes to help people afford to move
  5. Incentives for downsizing

Renters’ Top Priorities:

  1. More support for first-time buyers
  2. More mortgage schemes to help people afford to move
  3. Simplifying the home-buying process
  4. Building more homes
  5. Legislation to improve the energy efficiency of rental homes

These changes could make a significant difference in the housing market, helping more people move smoothly and affordably.

If you would like to discuss your property search or find out the current value of your home, please do get in touch with our team today.

Ascot: 01344 874300

Bracknell: 01344 860121

Source: Adapted from Rightmove
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