Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PROPERTY Prices Are Always [...]

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PROPERTY Prices Are Always [...]

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES WALKER Complaints champion fights for your rights

PROPERTY prices are always a sticky subject. If you're a homeowner, you'll have your fingers crossed for them to sky-rocket, while, as a potential buyer, you're desperately hoping prices will steady or drop.

Then there are the geographical issues. Since the credit crunch, house prices in London and the south east have often accelerated even further away from those in the rest of the country. And it's a similar story in popular holiday destinations, where second homes, or those bought as holiday let investments are pushing up prices.

Second homes are very much in the spotlight at the moment, as residents of St Ives in Cornwall are set to go to the polls to decide whether or not to restrict second home ownership in the picturesque seaside town.

Second homes: Good news or bad news? THE question centres around whether or not to prevent the sale of new homes to those who intend to use them as a holiday let or a second home.

The big issue is whether or not second homes are strangling rural holiday spots. There's no doubt that the relentless rise in house prices in some tourist areas pushes home ownership out of the reach of an increasing number of locals. Yet the argument that second homes bring in much needed investment and spending into the local economy is also a strong one.

Chris Balch, a professor of planning at Plymouth University, says: "The real problem is speculation and the delivery of housing as assets. It's the equivalent of the tower cranes in London. Is planning going to provide an answer? If the government has taken the stopper out of the bottle and let the genie out to allow local people to have a say, then we may see a slight correction."

Will stamp duty on buy-to-let mortgages and second homes help cool things off? SINCE the beginning of April, people taking out mortgages for buy-to-let properties or second homes have faced a surcharge of three` per cent in stamp duty (the one-off tax you have to pay when purchasing a home).

This is almost certain to have the short-term effect of cooling off property prices in holiday hotspots where second homes are rife and holiday lets common. …

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