Key Changes the Next Government Should Consider for Home-Movers

Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, London, UK

We know that most people (95%) planning to move this year say the upcoming general election won’t affect their plans.

However, as each party outlines their housing policies, we asked over 14,000 people, estate agents, and our Rightmove experts what changes they would like to see. If you have any questions about the housing market, feel free to submit them, and our experts will answer as many as possible.

Key Priorities for the Next Government

1. Speeding Up House-Building and Supporting First-Time Buyers

More new homes are needed. If new homes can be built more quickly while maintaining quality, it could help more people move to their next home or get onto the property ladder.

Demand vs. Supply: Buyer demand is up by 15% since 2019, but available homes are down by 6%. In the rental market, demand is up by 32%, while available homes are down 38%. This has pushed up asking prices and rents significantly.
Average Prices: The national average asking price is now 22% higher than five years ago, at £375,131. National advertised rents are up by 40%, at £1,479 per calendar month.

Property expert, Tim Bannister, suggests that smoother planning processes could help deliver new, affordable homes more efficiently. This would benefit both first-time buyers and downsizers looking for greener homes with lower running costs.

2. Stamp Duty Changes

The most desired change among homeowners and agents is a reform of the stamp duty system. The barrier presented by stamp duty, especially in higher-priced locations, could be preventing thousands from moving.

Current Exemption: Since 2022, first-time buyers in England and Northern Ireland have been exempt from paying stamp duty on properties priced up to £425,000. This relief is due to end in April next year.
Regional Differences: In London, only 4% of homes for sale are exempt from current stamp duty charges for all buyers, compared to 71% in the North East.

Tim suggests making current changes to first-time buyer stamp duty permanent and increasing stamp duty thresholds in line with regional differences as logical first steps for reform.

3. Incentives to Help People Make Their Homes Greener

Green incentives are the third most requested change by homeowners. Renters also rank legislation for landlords to upgrade homes among their top five priorities.

Green Upgrades: Homeowners need better access to schemes enabling them to make green improvements. Currently, upfront costs are a significant barrier.
Landlord Legislation: A proposed deadline for landlords to improve homes to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C was scrapped, highlighting the need for clear guidance and support.

4. Simplifying and Speeding Up the Home-Buying Process

Simplifying the home-buying process is the second most requested change among homeowners.

Current Process: It currently takes an average of more than seven months from listing a home for sale to moving. This long, complex, and frustrating process needs to be streamlined.
Priority: The next government should prioritize working with the property industry to speed up the home-moving process, making it less stressful and more seamless for movers.

We hope that whatever changes the next government implements will be long-term solutions to help more home-movers across the UK, rather than short-term schemes that only benefit people temporarily.

Top Priorities from Our Study

1. Reforming the stamp duty system
2. Simplifying the home-buying process
3. Incentives to help homeowners make green improvements
4. More mortgage schemes to help people afford to move
5. Incentives for downsizing

1. More support for first-time buyers
2. More mortgage schemes to help people afford to move
3. Simplifying the home-buying process
4. Building more homes
5. Legislation to improve the energy efficiency of rental homes

Stay tuned as we continue to gather insights and share updates on the housing market and upcoming election impacts.

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