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A Happy New Year to all of our existing and former clients! The new year has dawned and there is much speculation and anticipation as to what 2016 will bring. The housing market is, of course, inextricably linked with the prevailing economic climate which has been relatively buoyant over the previous two years. Record low interest rates remain for the time being and our town has proved extremely popular with buyers from further afield; particularly from the south as London prices force buyers north. Investors have been particularly active motivated by a lack of growth from traditional savings methods and the ability to access cash from pension funds. This ardour, though, may be dampened come the next tax year. An additional 3% stamp duty (£7,500 on a purchase of £250,000) to be levied at investors and second homeowners in addition to the existing tax will deter such buyers paying comparable prices to owner occupiers. There is, however, a three month 'window' before the additional tax comes into force which may create a temporary, artificial demand.

The Chancellor has also changed his tune somewhat from the 'bullish' autumn statement. The worldwide economy appears to be cooling and references to a 'dangerous cocktail' of potential financial events is a marked change in stance from George Osborne. That said, the housing market experiences strong regional variations and there is no doubt that Bedford has enjoyed a 'hot spot' status for a while now. The Castle Road area, in particular, has attracted unprecedented demand from buyers in recent years. Fuelled by a lack of supply (the property website rightmove reported a 15% drop nationwide in the supply of properties to sell in 2015 compared to 2014) we've witnessed a strong upturn in prices. With the shortage of supply continuing there is no immediate sign of this abating.

As a local Agent we currently have the smallest register of available property to offer than we can ever recall. We continue to send motivated buyers away empty handed resulting in a strong register of committed applicants awaiting our call. The message, then, is don’t delay if you’re contemplating a move in 2016.