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Brexit has hit wealthier second stepper market hardest, says developer

Crest Nicholson executive says perfect storm of Brexit and government tax changes have hit discretionary buyers at higher price points, but first time buyers are still buying.

Nigel Lewis

The property market is softening and transactions are struggling because Brexit and other factors including Stamp Duty have hit ‘discretionary movers’ hardest, a leading developer has claimed.

Scott Black, Managing Director of Crest Nicholson Regeneration says many second-step vendors in the UK are ‘waiting to see’ what happens next with Brexit and that this is particularly true at the higher price points.

“At the moment I think a lot of people with more expensive homes looking to trade up from four to five bedrooms are looking at the risk and the £50,000 Stamp Duty bill and spending it on an extension instead,” he says.

“All that, and the fact that they’ve got to sell their home first before moving, is a problem and it’s why part-exchange services are doing well at the moment.

“The most active part of the market are the first time buyers – they’re still really keen to move and despite Brexit don’t see it as a risky move particularly if they’re buying via Help to Buy.”

Investor drop-off

He also claims that demand from investors has ‘definitely dropped off’ by up to 50% and, at some sales sites, disappeared altogether following the tax hikes introduced by the government since 2015.

Black made his comment while visiting his company’s latest development, Campbell Wharf in Milton Keynes, where he says local and international demand has helped the site buck the trends seen elsewhere in the market.

When completed the site will include over 300 apartments and 50 houses overlooking a canal.

September 11, 2019

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