Monthly Archives: March 2011

UK Budget 2011 To Help First Time Buyers

George Osborne today announced a £250m package to help 10,000 first-time buyers get onto the property ladder in the Budget today.

The Firstbuy Direct scheme will help buyers struggling to get a deposit together, the opportunity to take up a five-year interest-free loan of up to 80% of the deposit, reported this morning suggested.

The scheme is set to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of the Labour government’s Homebuy Direct Scheme, which ended last autumn.

2011 Budget: Key Points

* Fuel duty to be cut by 1p per litre from 6pm tonight. Fuel duty escalator that adds 1p to fuel duty on top of inflation each year to be cancelled for the rest of this Parliament.

* Personal tax allowance to rise by £630 to £8,105 in April 2012 – a real increase of £48 a year or £126 in cash terms

* Charge on non-domiciled taxpayers to increase from £30,000 for those here for seven years to £50,000 for those in the country for 12 years, raising more than £200m

* Small business rate relief holiday extended by one year to October 2012, at a cost of £370m

* Cutting fuel duty by 1p per litre this year. To take effect in petrol stations from 6pm tonight

* Support for Mortgage Interest scheme extended by one year to January 2013, reducing mortgage arrears

Courtesy of The Independent Network Of Estate Agents

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Home values hit 8 month low, according to

There are always many different opinions on house prices and to some degree you have to take it with a pinch of salt, but I thought this seemed like a reasonably accurate picture of average home values over the past few years.

“Our latest property data shows that property values have fallen every month since last July.

However, whilst it has been a challenging period for the property market over the past few months, the recent dip in prices and the notable variance between regions may have created some interesting buying opportunities. The first half of 2010 provided strong gains in market values but, since last summer, economic uncertainty and lending constraints have eroded these gains and put downward pressure on house prices.

Our latest figures show:

  • British property values down 11% from last July
  • Avg. house price down by £26k in England
  • With house prices 18% below peak, is now time to buy?
  • North East remains hardest hit area, London most resilient

Having hit a 5-year low in February 2009, property values rose steadily during the rest of that year and throughout the first half of 2010, but have since fallen for the past eight successive months, by an average of 11.09% since last summer, creating a potential buying opportunity.

Property prices in England have fallen by an average of £26,240 (11.06%) since last July, whilst in Scotland they are down on average by £21,489 (12.37%) and in Wales by £17,205 (10.73%). The average home values now stand at £211,003 in England, £152,106 in Scotland and £143,182 in Wales according to our figures.

Across Britain, average house prices are now 18.01% (£45,594) below their peak, with the average house price at £201,911 compared to £247,505 in October 2007. The recent dip over the past 8 months could well have created a buying opportunity if prices start to pick up in the second half of the year as predicted by many.

Regionally, the North East has been hardest hit over the past few months, down 14.12% since last July with average local house prices now at £146,242. Not surprisingly, London has proved most resilient down only 7.59% over the same period to an average of £378,295 today. Property values in the North East now stand at 24.39% below their October 2007 peak, a massive drop of £47,173, compared to London where prices now are only 8.36% below the peak levels having fallen £34,527.”

Thanks to for the information.

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10 Ways to Sell Your Home

1. Prepare your budget and visualise your next home

Before you put your home up for sale you need to try and form a realistic idea of your requirements, you will need to have an image of where and what kind of home you want to move to. Get a feel for the house prices in your area and the area you would like to move into, with any house sale, once you have a realistic idea of your likely sale price, you can easily calculate your buying power. It’s amazing how many house sellers miss this planning stage. One in three house sales in the UK fail every year; to be a success story you need a plan.

2. Prepare your Home

Prior to placing your property on the market, it is key to prepare your home; you will need to remove your personality from your home as much as possible, this can be achieved by rearrange the furnishing, pictures, accessories to show each room with space, a clear function, and emphasise the good points.Key elements include: making your home neutral by removing your personality and allowing potential buyers to envisage themselves living in your home. Ensure the front of your home looks clean and well cared for. Maximise your space in each room by removing any excess furniture and getting rid of clutter in cupboards. Keep up with the little DIY jobs that show you care for your home. Tidy the garden. Keep your home clean and smelling fresh. Spending a little time and money on getting your property ready for selling is money well spent will enhance the saleability of your property. Remember first impressions do count.

3. Communicate with your estate agent

Ask for feedback. This is crucial. Your agent should be giving you feedback from viewers within 24 hours to enable you to make decisions and to react to points that will inevitably be made. This will allow you to make your home even better for next time.

4. Know your target market

Where your home is and its size and layout will give you clues as to who your target market will be. Your target buyer could fall into a number of different categories including: family with young children, family with older children, retired couple with grown up children, young couple, single people and students. You need to have a clear idea of your target market and try and plan your home to be as appealing as possible to that market.

5. Be ready for the viewing

You should always be ready for a viewing at short notice; they could be your buyers. Whilst your house is on the market you should never have a messy or uncared for home. Invite a good friend round, and give them the full “grand tour” and ask them what they think. Take good and bad criticism on the chin and listen to what they suggest.

6. Lower the asking price

To make your property more attractive to a potential buyer, particularly if there are lots of properties like yours for sale, lower your asking price. If a buyer is faced with two very similar properties but one is less expensive than the other, which one do you think they will choose to buy?

7. Keep Positive

It may take weeks or even months to find your ideal buyer and through it all you must remain positive and focused. Never come across as desperate. How quickly you sell your home will depend on the time of year, the current market and other factors too. You will get there in the end, don’t lose faith and keep in touch with your Estate Agent.

8. Select the best estate agent

The best estate agent for you will be the company and individual that you feel most comfortable with. A company that has good local knowledge and has well developed marketing skills.

9. Stage your viewing

A viewing is a chance to sell your home and you should use every second for maximum impact. Presenting or “staging” your home does not involve redecorating it. Redecorating your home would be about you, the seller and your personality. Staging focuses on the buyer.

10. Don’t overvalue your home

It’s tempting to instruct the estate agent that promises to market your home for the highest price. This may not always be the best decision. Overvaluing your home can mean that it stays on the market, unsold for many weeks until you realise that you have to reduce the price, by which time your home is “ old news” and this can cause problems.

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Should We Take House Price Data With A Pinch Of Salt?

Every month we are bombarded with statistics and data about house prices.

One month they are up 0.3%, the next they are down 0.9% and so on.

Is this data accurate?

The answer is, No!

First of all much of the data is based on sales put together by Estate Agents some months before. By the time a sale has completed and registered it can be four or five months after the price was originally agreed.

Furthermore two of the biggest mortgage lenders in the country Nationwide Building Society and Halifax PLC do not include cash sales within their data, which obliviously distorts the true picture as cash equates for a good percentage of sales. The Council of Mortgage Lenders also work on a similar platform, omitting cash sales and working more on the amount of money lent.

Land Registry data will probably give the best guide to house prices, although you have to take into account the data is based on property sales from up to five months ago, cash sales are included and repossessions and transfers of equity are excluded which gives an overall truer picture. This data can also be drilled down to specific regions and postcode areas. After all most towns and cities have local economic issues which will may be different to the rest of the country.

The Institute of Chartered Surveyors also publish data which is mainly based on a survey of trends from its members. Surely a subjective questionnaire about various housing issues, including the numbers of available buyers can only act as an indicator.

Does it really matter too much if the price of a house has changed marginally on a piece of paper from month to month? A house should be treated as a home and if you manage to pay your mortgage off, you will still find no better investment.

Overall any data should be treated very cautiously and cannot be relied upon to be a true reflection of the market as a whole. This data is very confusing as it varies so much between each body; and do we really need a muddled monthly update or should the market just be left to its own devices to find its own price structure.

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What Does £7.5m Buy You?

Robbie Williams Mansion

Robbie Williams’ Wiltshire mansion, that’s what!

Take that star Robbie Williams’ ”exceptional country house” is still on the market after almost a year with a price tag of £7.5m. The stunning property is “situated to the edge of the charming hamlet of Compton Bassett. The village lies between Calne and Marlborough, in rolling Wiltshire countryside.”

Property features include:

  • 7 bedrooms
  • Indoor pool/leisure complex
  • Tennis Court
  • Paddocks
  • Hangar
  • Two staff flats and a detached cottage
  • Formal gardens and approximately 71 acres

Here are more details of Robbie Williams house in Compton Bassett listed for sale on

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Mortgage Market Still Tough

There were 45,723 house purchase loans approved in January, the Bank of England has reported.  Although an increase on December’s 42,7190, it was lower than the monthly average of 46,686 for the previous six-month period, leaving mortgage specialists frustrated and unimpressed.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at independent broker Mortgage Advice Bureau, said the slight rise was always likely after a subdued housing market in December.
  He added: “Unfortunately, many people want to remortgage but can’t because they have insufficient equity or are not deemed an acceptable risk, despite having a good credit history.

“There has been no let-up in lenders’ risk assessment and this will continue to place downward pressure on the mortgage market in the months ahead.”David Whittaker, managing director of specialist lender Mortgages For Business, said: “This is a tentative step in the right direction rather than a leap towards recovery.  “The key concern for the Bank of England is what to do with rates, and with every MPC meeting it seems we’re getting closer to a rise. “Until there is a rise in the base rate, though, the mortgage market will languish.”Yesterday, Nationwide reported that house prices tiptoed up 0.3% in February. It said the housing market was treading water.

Thanks to Estate Agent Today for the article.

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