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WALES

The UK House Price Index for Wales reported in February 2019 that house prices have increased over the last year in 20 out of 22 local authority areas. Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil showed the strongest growth, increasing by 16.3 per cent to £97,000 and 11.6 per cent to £108,000 in the previous twelve months. The average price of a property in Wales was £159,559.

Figures from the Welsh Government in 2017/18 show that 69 per cent of dwellings in Wales were owner occupied, a decrease of four percentage points compared with 2008. Wales has the oldest dwelling stock in the UK with over a quarter of all dwellings (26 per cent) built prior to 1919. The Welsh Housing Conditions Survey 2017 highlighted that around 70 per cent of people in Wales live in urban areas, with the remainder living in more rural areas.

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Industry focus

AGENT REGULATION

In April 2018, the UK Government announced a series of measures which aim to drive up standards and bring an end to rogue estate agents. The Housing Secretary announced that all agents will be required to hold a professional qualification.

The measures, which follow the UK Government's consultation process on house buying and selling, which closed in December 2017, will also require estate agents to be transparent about the fees they receive for referring clients to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers. The measures will affect agents operating in England, Scotland and Wales, reflecting the scope of the Estate Agents Act 1979.

In October 2018, UK Housing Minister Heather Wheeler announced the setup of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (RoPA) chaired by crossbencher Lord Best. Tasked with raising standards across the housing sector, the group will make recommendations to better support homebuyers, sellers, landlords, leaseholders and tenants.

The recommendations will be relevant across the UK. Whilst lettings and managing agents’ powers are devolved, estate agency powers are reserved to the UK Government.

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LEASEHOLD TASK AND FINISH GROUP

NAEA Propertymark is a member of the Welsh Government’s Task and Finish Group to identify the failings in the leasehold system in Wales, and how they impact on leaseholders. We have played a key role in forging proposals to improve education and training as well as how to raise awareness amongst agents and consumers. The Group's final report to the Minister for Housing and Regeneration is due in July 2019.

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WELSH REVENUE AUTHORITY

The Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) is the new tax authority for Wales. The WRA collects and manages two devolved Welsh taxes on behalf of the Welsh Government. This includes Land Transaction Tax and Landfill Disposals Tax. In November 2018, NAEA Propertymark attended the WRA’s first Tax Forum.

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LAND TRANSACTION TAX

Since April 2018, Land Transaction Tax (LTT) has replaced Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in Wales and is the levy all buyers must pay when purchasing a property in Wales over £180,000. Land tax in Wales—like in the rest of the UK—is calculated on a percentage basis, although the thresholds are slightly different. In Wales, buyers purchasing an additional residential property costing more than £40,000 will incur a three per cent surcharge.

When the legislation was first developed, NAEA Propertymark played a key role in lobbying for tax bands better suited to the value of property in Wales. We attended a stakeholder roundtable discussion with Assembly members, provided written evidence and our Chief Executive Mark Hayward gave evidence to the Finance Committee’s inquiry into LTT.

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Membership

01926 417 360
membership@propertymark.co.uk

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01926 417 787
courses@propertymark.co.uk

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01926 417 792
events@properytmark.co.uk

Regulation

01926 417 791
regulation@propertymark.co.uk