Latest News Autumn/Winter 2012

As the days shorten and the nights grow longer, thoughts turn to Christmas. Do not forget that maintenance and repair is still needed, especially if the water is getting in.

Business has been brisk over the last few months and hopefully this will become a trend for both us and the wider economy.

Figures for surveys and architectural work have increased and many new proposals are underway. Applications are in to the Local Authorities and decisions are pending.

Residential property valuations are also on the increase with a good mix of sales and remortgages across the board. There remains a greater level of activity along the coastal strip and inland but a stubborn gap in activity in the immediate Wealden area. A reason for this one knows not and is perplexing both to agents and surveyors alike.

Values remain generally static with some sectors up on 12 months ago and others down. The demand for investment property remains strong and rental levels are buoyant in most sectors.

From researching comparable evidence there seem to be a large proportion of sales that fall through. This is a worrying level and is indicative of a fragile market and the difficulty in obtaining finance or agents being able to complete chains.

Valuations at or about the stamp duty thresholds (SDT) remain an issue. Many properties with an expected higher value are being dragged down to the SDT level and this can cause sales and chains to fall through. It is time the SDT was suspended or changed to help the market move forward. Why not change the basis of stamp duty taxation to be like income tax, ie: you pay the higher duty on the part above the threshold not the whole lot. This would increase the value of a large number of properties, the number of properties being placed on the market and in turn the number of sales. In the longer term there would be a net increase in stamp duty taxation. Reform is needed to help the whole market not just first time buyers.