Moving in 2022?

Partner Andrew Tress

Residential Property Partner Andrew Tress highlights a few things to consider when Moving in 2022.

With the dust having settled on the record numbers of transactions in 2021, current indications appear to suggest that demand in the housing market will remain steady and if so, prices should remain stable, or potentially continue to rise. Although the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday (a large factor in the increased activity) has ended, there is still a lack of stock to meet demand, coupled with an increased focus on living spaces, which may well mean another busy year ahead!

So, a few things to look out for in 2022…

Land Registry Fee Increases

 

From 31 January 2022 the Land Registry is increasing its registration fees. This will affect the vast majority of transactions and certainly standard purchases, remortgages and transfers. It will also affect first registrations of unregistered land, leases and so on. A breakdown of the new fees can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/increase-to-hm-land-registry-fees/fees-review-2021-to-2022

At Gaby Hardwicke, we use the Land Registry portal for our registrations wherever possible and for some transactions this will avoid an increase or at least keep it to the minimum. However, there will be some transactions where the increase applies even where the portal is used, and some increases for registering transactions such as new build purchases, which do not benefit from a portal discount.

Energy Efficiency

The government appears to be considering a policy that would require non-exempt residential properties to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of ‘C’ or above if they are going to be let out.

This is currently slated to be applied by April 2025 on new lettings and April 2028 for existing lettings. Currently, non-exempt residential properties require an EPC rating of ‘E’ or above if they are to be let out, so the situation will need to monitored going forward. The policy could affect a considerable number of properties and so landlords and investors will need to monitor the situation.

An End to Gazumping?

Plans to end “gazumping” are seemingly back on the table again through the possible introduction of voluntary reservation agreements, according to recent comments from Housing Minister, Chris Pincher.

As part of a pilot in 2020, the Home Buying and Selling Group had agreed standard wording for reservation agreements, but the pilot stalled and has been inactive ever since.  According to the Housing Minister, the government still wants to stamp out the practice of gazumping and preventing it is part of the government’s overall plan to improve the home buying and selling process.

Ultimately, the success or otherwise of any such agreements will depend on how well they are drafted, their efficacy and whether they speed up or slow down the process, which is likely to dictate uptake within the industry if they are not mandatory. Despite the uncertainty, it is another area to keep an eye on in 2022.

For further information on any of the above please contact:

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