If you’re in the property game, you’ve probably already heard that a new index will be introduced this summer which will better reflect the true value of homes in the UK. At the moment, the house price index – and there are many - can vary depending on who you prefer to follow and what metrics they use. For example, the Halifax may tell you the price of an average home in Britain is around the £214,000 mark, Rightmove reckons it’s around £299,000 while the Office of National Statistics (ONS) puts the figure at around £292,000. The variance is often accounted for by regional fluctuations in price and whether London and the south-east are included or not - but it’s no wonder the average seller is so often baffled when it comes to where they should pitch their property.
If you’re a landlord, then today is a bit of a watershed. From this morning an extra 3% Stamp Duty will be imposed on anyone buying a second home or buying property to let. The Chancellor’s reasoning appears to have been that the additional tax burden would prove a disincentive to anyone considering swapping their pension for property. That, in turn, would mean more small- to medium-sized homes coming onto the market as they wouldn’t just be snapped up by the avaricious buy-to-let set. More houses on the market would help to peg prices where they are or even prompt a modest decline. Combine that with an accelerated building programme, and suddenly you have even more ammunition to avert the risk of a fresh housing “bubble” threatening the stability of the UK economy.