I’m in my 11th year here at Edward Mellor, so I’ve had my fair share of “first days back”. And they don’t get any easier.
This year was no different; I dragged my (larger) self into the office, took my first swig of an extra strong brew from my new ‘Secret Santa’ mug and set about reading 481 new emails through my bloodshot eyes.
No sooner had I opened the first spam email with offerings of gentleman’s herbal supplements, when the first phone call of 2016 came in. It was at the stroke of 9 o’clock and came from a very eager gentleman looking to buy a property “as soon as possible!”. Whilst this isn’t unusual – we are property auctioneers after all, I sensed that this chap had been waiting all weekend for the office to reopen, and the moment it did, he was on that phone faster than I could say Blue Monday. And he wasn’t the only one.
Usually our first week of the New Year is a bit of a slow burner, with people taking their time to get back in the swing of things and start thinking about property again. From the moment we reopened on the 4th January, we have been inundated with frantic property buyers desperately trying to find their next purchase(s). We are receiving offers on houses within MINUTES of them going live on our website and our valuers can’t book them into the auction quickly enough.
So why the rush?
Could it be the usual New Year motivation – the same reason that all the gyms are packed out with new faces and why I saw Jean, my next-door neighbour, shuffling past my front window yesterday evening in full Lycra? Possibly. But the difference this year and the words that are on the lips of everyone calling me is “Stamp Duty”.
On 1st April 2016, the new Stamp Duty changes come into effect, meaning many of our property investors will soon have to pay 3% Duty on their purchase for properties that previously would have been exempt. With our next auction taking place on 3rd February, potential buyers see this as the ideal opportunity to buy property before the ruling comes into place in time to beat the surcharge deadline and, consequently, our phones are ringing off the hook.
This is a unique position that savvy vendors are taking advantage of. Whilst our Auction Consultants are busy assisting these extra-hungry buyers, a growing number of opportunistic sellers are realising the unique advantage in selling at our next auction, knowing that competition to buy is unlikely to be this strong again all year.
All in all, it’s been an extremely busy and positive start to the year and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best in 2016.
I’m off for a jog with Jean now!
*If you have any questions regarding the proposed Stamp Duty changes, you can call the HMRC Helpline direct on 0300 200 3510.