Demand for Yorkshire and Humber homes rises as buy-to-let investors look to beat stamp duty increase

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The Yorkshire and Humber housing market has seen a rise in demand following the Government’s recent announcement that stamp duty is set to increase for buy-to-let investors; the latest Residential Market survey by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has revealed.

The monthly RICS UK Residential Market Survey showed that demand for homes in Yorkshire and Humber rose in December, with 26% of the region’s chartered surveyors reporting a rise in new buyer enquiries (up from 9% back in November) citing a rush to beat April’s stamp duty rise as the reason.

From April, buy-to-let investors will be required to pay 3% more in stamp duty charges than residential buyers looking to purchase the same home. The Chancellor announced these measures in the Autumn Statement last November, in a bid to encourage more first time buyers to the market.

However, despite the rise in demand for homes in Yorkshire and Humber, chartered surveyors in the region, once again, reported a lack of stock (properties) coming on to the market. Demand has continued to outpace supply in the region most notably for the past two years.

Chris Jowett MRICS of Jowett Chartered Surveyors in Huddersfield said: “Seasonally, the market tends to be quiet in December, but there seems to have been more activity than normal and there are early signs of increased interest from buy-to-let investors in the region who want to try and beat the 3% stamp duty surcharge.”

RICS Chief Economist, Simon Rubinsohn adds: “The Yorkshire and Humber housing market has experienced an unusually buoyant December. Those in the industry have been speculating that this is the result of the Chancellor’s announcement last November, with potential buy-to-let investors looking to pick up properties before the increased stamp duty levy comes into force in April. If that is the case, then we can expect to see the housing market, across all UK regions, heating up further over the next few months.”

The survey also revealed that house prices in London, the South East and East Anglia look set to rise by a further 5% over the next year, compared to a UK average of 4.5%, despite offering the poorest value for money in the UK. Some 62% of respondents said that homes in the South East were expensive given the relative benefits they offered, with 57% of contributors in the capital taking the same view. By way of contrast, 92% of respondents from Yorkshire and Humber believe that homes in their areas offer fair value for money.