Has the stamp duty holiday led to inflated property prices? The Secret Estate Agent shares his view

The stamp duty holiday has had far-reaching consequences. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The stamp duty holiday has had far-reaching consequences. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency.

I’ve read that the stamp duty holiday has led to inflated property prices and bidding wars. Is this true?

Certain properties are now attracting bidding wars and the inflated prices are resulting in some deflated buyers. However, prices are set by demand and supply so not necessarily inflationary, just market forces at work.

We recently advertised a lovely two bedroom home at £500,000 and we had 10 viewings booked in quickly; there was an acceptance amongst the buyers on the viewings that there would be competitive bids.

Prior to the stamp duty holiday, we would have still recommended the same asking price but the target achievable price would have been lower.

I’ve got a £500,000 budget and want to buy a property to rent out. What would give me the best return on my investment in our area? Is it true that I should be looking towards Hatfield to maximise my rental yield?

The yields or returns in St Albans have been squeezed in recent years and yes, areas like Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City and Hemel Hempstead offer better returns.

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To calculate this, divide the annual rental income by the purchase price and multiply by 100. For example, a rental of £1,000 per month giving an annual income of £12,000 with a purchase price of £240,000. You do the math.

However, buy-to-let investors also need to take into account capital growth and may be more comfortable buying in their own manor. Personally, I would be looking for a low-maintenance house, not a flat.

Do all estate agents play golf?

Quite a few do and there are some local corporate events which are good fundraisers. I personally play off a 22 handicap but the busy market has put paid to me reducing it. Most solicitors have very low handicaps for some reason.

What will your next property move be? Has your current property been a good investment?

A care home. My wife won’t move as happy where we are but I have always got itchy feet. Only one winner there.

Our current house has turned out to be a good investment but I have got the catchment area for Beaumont School to thank for that.

What qualities do you need to be a good estate agent?

A good listener, thick-skinned, a strong communicator, resilience and you’ve got to be personable. Above all, a sense of humour.

Do you have a question for the Secret Estate Agent? Email jane.howdle@archant.co.uk or get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter pages.