Back to business as usual as Brexit clouds of uncertainty disappear
Ahead of the 2016 Autumn Statement, our Chairman, Nick Leeming, talks property transactions and what we hope Philip Hammond will address in his speech tomorrow afternoon.

The impact of the Brexit vote and the implementation of the additional 3% stamp duty surcharge on the purchase of second homes left the property market in a potentially turbulent position in 2016. I was therefore pleased to see activity levels in many of our 45 offices pick up in the months that followed the UKs historic vote in June.

Our Group has reported that in the months between July and September, the number of new applicants looking to buy rose by 50%, while the number of new instructions rose by 29%. Viewings, which were up in September by 28%, are also translating into actual sales, with branches reporting a 9% increase in the number of properties which exchanged contracts. Despite this sunnier outlook, the market in properties that would typically make second homes and properties priced upwards of 1.5 million are facing difficulties, so it is our hope that in next weeks Autumn Statement, Mr Hammond addresses this. In my opinion, removing the additional 3% stamp duty levy will encourage more movement in the market at the upper end.

Additional measures to support both downsizers and first-time buyers, such as increased support in helping them gain access to low-deposit mortgages and perhaps a stamp duty tax holiday, should also be implemented if we are to start to overcome the housing crisis.