By Leigh Reeves of Arnolds chartered surveyors and agents in Norwich
With the 2011 budget fast approaching, property consultants and those with a general interest in the subject can’t help but feel some trepidation regarding how the forthcoming changes will affect the property market in general. Looking back over the last twelve months we have had a number of contributing factors that have already shaped the property market into a more difficult animal to tame. Changes to Capital Gains Tax, an increase in Value Added Tax a freeze on Stamp Duty for first time buyers up to £250,000, plus an increase to 5% for buyers over 1 million to name but a few. Probably most significantly, a barrage of Public and, indeed, private Sector cuts affecting all regions, including the Norfolk area, which could dramatically affecting or threaten to affect the lives of people who potentially face the challenge of redundancies and pay cuts. Having said all of this, it may surprise you to read that over the past two months we have experienced an excellent and unexpectedly buoyant response from the market place, with numerous offers and sales agreed on properties in all price ranges, particularly in the £300-£600k range. In fact the ‘lion’s share’ of activity is concentrated in the mid-to-upper price levels of the Norfolk market place, with multiple sales agreed to out of area buyers, often attracted by national channels of marketing, such as the Guild of Professional Estate Agents www.guildproperty.co.uk. Several recent properties, which had been on the market for some months, have gone under offer, with ‘best and final’ offers being received in some instances. Many of the short/medium term views surrounding residential property prices over the next twelve months predict that there will be a drop in prices. Whilst we don’t disagree with this general view, it certainly does not apply to all sectors of the market, and all regions. Norfolk as always presents itself as an attractive place to live with excellent access to the coast, broads, London links by rail and of course an international airport. Couple that with more affordable housing (relative to other parts of the south east) and the quality of life and open spaces, and there are lots of reasons we can all come up with to understand why Norfolk property values usually fare better in recession and recovery than other regions. s well as those who’s circumstances, happy or sad, have caused them to look at moving this year, there are many people who have been waiting for the last two to three years for the market to eventually stabilise and can not wait any longer as they have a more pressing reasons to move, for instance, job moves, schools or upsizing/downsizing. They can see activity improving, and this is having the effect of ‘kick starting’ the market place for what we hope will be the start of a stronger spring market in 2011. We can, after all, have a strong market even if prices are
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not rising, as long as values are realistic.
Leigh Reeves is 01603 620551 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.