Stamp duty is making the housing crisis worse because it is deterring older homeowners from downsizing due to the high cost involved, a new report claims. The research by the London School of Economics and the VATT Institute for Economic Research found the rate of home moving would be 27% higher if the levy was scrapped. Prof Christian Hilber, who co-authored the report: “The key message of our paper is that stamp duty hampers mobility significantly.” Now ministers, peers and think-tanks are urging the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, to cut the duty. An anonymous Cabinet minister told the Telegraph the situation was now so acute it had “a big implication in terms of economic growth”. Former chancellor Lord Lawson added: “The present levels of stamp duty are clearly counterproductive, and need to be reduced.” Mark Littlewood, of the Institute for Economic Affairs, proposed the duty should be scrapped altogether.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 1, 4

Posted 09/08/2017


The Times sets out some of the steps housebuyers should take when buying a new or second-hand property with a lease. Hema Anand, head of residential property at Bircham Dyson Bell, says buyers should always use their own solicitor, rather than one recommended by the developer, even if it costs more. Elsewhere, the Mail’s Angela Epstein says that although the government has promised to crack down on leasehold ‘scams’, new legislation will not take effect overnight, so buyers should be vigilant.

The Times, Bricks and Mortar, Page: 7  Daily Mail, Page: 62

Posted 04/08/2017


The government is facing calls to help those already burdened with unfair leasehold terms as communities secretary Sajid Javid announced plans to ban leaseholds on new-build houses in England and restrict ground rents on new flats to as low as zero. Campaigners say as many as 100,000 people own properties that are worth nothing because of clauses that double ground rent each year, or because of inflated charges to buy freeholds. The government’s consultation says it “recognises the challenges faced by existing leaseholders with ‘onerous’ ground rents”. Mr Javid also said a number of house-builders had set up compensation schemes and he was also looking at ways buyers could seek redress from solicitors who did not spot the clause on leaseholds in their contracts. Some first-time buyers have claimed they were not given proper advice when buying leaseholds.

The Guardian, Page: 8, 9   Independent i, Page: 7   Daily Mail, Page: 8

Posted 26/07/2017

The government is to consult on proposals to crack down on leaseholds on new-build homes and a dramatic reduction in ground rents. The trend for new-build houses being sold as leasehold has accelerated in recent years, especially in the north-west of England, with leaseholders often finding themselves caught out by clauses allowing for dramatic increases in ground rent. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said its proposals aimed to make future leases fairer by reducing ground rents so they “relate to real costs incurred”.

BBC News   The Times, Page: 1, 8    Financial Times, Page: 2

Posted 25/07/2017


Victims of the Grenfell Tower fire who bought their flats under the Right to Buy scheme have told how they now feel abandoned by the authorities. They say they fear for their future, as the council are unlikely to see the re-housing of leaseholders as their responsibility, with some describing how they have still been paying their mortgage since the inferno. Flats in Grenfell Tower have recently been sold for between £185,000 and £270,000, according to Rightmove. Sebastian O’Kelly, a trustee of Leaseholder Knowledge Partnership, said Grenfell homeowners will be unlikely to afford a new property in the same area.

The Daily Telegraph

Posted 11/07/2017

The government should let councils buy land, grant it planning permission and then sell it off to help solve the UK’s housing crisis, according to a new report by the Adam Smith Institute (ASI). The think tank estimates that an acre of land was worth £2,500 without planning permission and £4m with it. “By granting permission to land they own, councils can capture the monetary benefits for themselves and their residents,” the ASI said.

City AM

Posted 07/07/2017


Andrew Mitchell, Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield, warns that the Government risks losing public faith in its trustworthiness by its lax attitude on Green Belt building. Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Mitchell proposes that instead of destroying the Green Belt, ministers should provide central funding for the decontamination of former industrial land, insist that councils do an effective audit of all their brown land sites, and penalise developers sitting on land banks and planning permissions.

The Daily Telegraph

Posted 07/07/2017


Due to a clerical error, South Cambridgeshire Council accidentally gave permission for new homes to be built on Green Belt land. The application for seven homes in Haslingfield was officially refused but accidentally approved when the ‘wrong box was ticked’ on its computer system. We completely hold our hands up’, South Cambridgeshire council said.  Legal papers have now been filed with the High Court and the decision to rescind is expected within a few weeks.

BBC News

Posted 06/07/2017


Analysis by Rightmove shows that Spain is the most popular European country for Britons looking to relocate or buy a second home, followed by France, with Italy third and Portugal fourth. Data shows more than 2.5m searches for properties in Spain are made from the UK every month.

The Independent, Page: 63 The Scotsman, Page: 2 Yorkshire Post, Page: 3

Posted 06/07/2017



The Prudential Regulation Authority will begin enforcing harsher standards for landlords with four or more mortgaged properties in two months’ time. Lenders may be required to look at a landlord’s entire portfolio when they decide what mortgage deal they can offer on a single property, and they may want to see proof of rental income and a business plan to support a new application.

The Daily Telegraph

Posted 05/07/2017