Interview with a property expert

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 February 2016

John Wagstaff

John Wagstaff


John Wagstaff, co-owner of Petty Son & Prestwich estate agent, on how the Government’s proposed new stamp duty rules are affecting the market

Petty Son & PrestwichPetty Son & Prestwich

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m John Wagstaff and I’ve co-owned Petty Son & Prestwich with my wife Jenny since 2008. We’re an independent, customer-focused estate agent with offices in Wanstead in Buckhurst Hill.

What do you love about your job?

After 24 years in the business, I still get a real kick from helping people move house, advising and supporting them every step of the way.

What’s currently the biggest influence on the property market?

Impending new rules which will mean people with more than one home will pay an extra three per cent stamp duty. I’m finding it’s certainly the main concern for our customers looking to buy.

Why is the Government looking to introduce the extra three per cent?

The chancellor’s goal is to restrict buy-to-let landlords stockpiling homes at the expense of first time buyers. However, there’s a lack of clarity which is spooking the market. The rules need to be clear as grey areas lead to loopholes which can be exploited, probably by the very people the Government is trying to target.

Who will be most affected by the new rules?

It’s unlikely professional landlords will look for new careers. The real anxiety is for those who already own a home and are looking to move and rent their existing property as an investment. We’ve just sold a home at £760,000 which puts stamp duty at £28,000. An extra 3 per cent would add a further £22,000 to the stamp duty bill and could well put a property out of reach for people who have scrimped and saved. There is a sense that people’s futures are being penalised.

Are the new rules good news for anyone?

If people decide to sell an existing property rather than pay the extra stamp duty it could potentially free up more homes for first time buyers. However, it won’t be enough to put a dent in that first time buyer market. We need thousands of new properties, new towns, to really open up the market to everyone wanting to get on the property ladder. If people start selling properties rather than letting them, it’s also bad news for renters who can’t afford to buy….nobody wins.

How has the property market been affected?

Uncertainty is fuelling the fires of homebuyers and the start of 2016 has been incredibly busy. It does feel like people are trying to move before the new rule comes into effect on April 1.

What’s your advice for anyone looking to move?

Don’t panic. The law is still in consultation and final details will be released in the budget. Don’t feel like you need to rush a move, you may not be affected by the extra three per cent. It’s also worth considering that the unease has created a false bubble in the market so you could find yourself overpaying between now and April.

Petty Son & Prestwich

11 Woodbine Place, Wanstead, E11 2RH, 020 8989 2091,


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