RICS calls on Scottish Government for clarity on housing market

RICS has called on the Scottish Government for clarity on when the house buying and selling process can restart as it suggested house prices will be 4% lower when the market reopens.

The surveyors’ body said it could take 11 months for prices to recover and said the Scottish government should scrap the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) for downsizers order to stimulate the market.

Hew Edgar, head of UK government relations, said: “RICS last month called on the UK government to explore confidence-boosting measures for the residential market as it reopens, and the data suggests that our proposal for a stamp duty holiday would be a successful change that would boost transactional activity, helping people move home.

“There are, of course, other options available to government as they reopen the market, notwithstanding stamp duty options such as reducing or removing stamp duty for downsizers that would kickstart market fluidity, and we look forward to continuing conversations as the market starts to move again.”

“The Scottish government now has the opportunity to pave the way for a resilient post-COVID recovery, and should look at other palatable options that would kickstart market fluidity, such as reducing or removing LBTT for downsizers, or support the scaling up retrofitting of existing homes as both an economic stimulus and a spur to a healthier and greener housing stock for Scotland.”

He added: “That said, what the housing market needs first and foremost is clarity, and an unambiguous signal from the Scottish government of when the house buying and selling process, including inspections and valuations within clear parameters of public health, can restart.”

In a recent survey it said the market has been effectively closed for business, with 80% of the April RICS UK Residential survey’s contributors seeing both buyers and sellers pulling out of transactions, resulting in the newly agreed sales balance for April falling to -92% down from -68% in March.

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Tags: COVID-19, RICS

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