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I am becoming concerned about what next February and March might feel like.  As the existing Help to Buy scheme ends, pressure will escalate on builders, conveyancers, lenders and brokers to ensure timely completion.  At the same time, the 3% Stamp Duty reduction will be coming to a close and lenders, conveyancers and brokers will need to work hard to meet that deadline.

I predict that this will make the surge we saw on BTL purchases in 2016 look like a walk in the park.  These artificial cliff edges created by government intervention are always fraught with risks, so we need to escalate these issues to avoid some very annoyed customers who might end up paying a lot more than they thought to complete their transactions.  If there is no change, brokers will have to work very hard to manage customer expectations and keep transactions on target.

But, it is great to see the CMA finally call out some builders for the lamentable practice of having sold leasehold houses with damaging rent escalation clauses.  It will take time for any remedies to work their way through but there is now hope for many who are property prisoners.  A shame that it has taken competition authorities to do this, not our Housing Minister.  The other group of property prisoners are those caught in high rise buildings with cladding issues.  If there was one issue that needs sorting and sorting now it is this post-Grenfell mess. This government and Housing Minister are the only people who can sort it and they should be shamed for their inaction.

Robert Sinclair
Chief Executive, AMI,
September 2020

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