Monthly Archives: December 2014

Reflection & looking forward to 2015………

FullSizeRenderIt is that time in the calendar when we look back at the past twelve months and look forward to the next twelve.

2014 has been a good year for the local property market. The recovery, which gathered pace in 2013 continued into 2014 with house prices increasing, bringing more people out of negative equity or enabling them to accumulate a larger deposit to move on again. However, the second half of the year saw prices stabilise and the year draw to a close with the Wellingborough and Irthlingborough markets looking very healthy.

Certainly in Spring of 2014 the market looked as though it was going to overheat again with huge demand and buyers prepared to outbid each other. At the end of April, Mortgage Market Review (MMR) was introduced which meant lenders had to adopt stricter criteria to ensure the borrower is protected from debt. This put more emphasis on the borrower’s outgoings rather than income, ensuring the borrower can afford their repayments after their normal bills and “life style” commitments. Furthermore, lenders have to apply a stress test to ensure if interest rates were to rise by 3% their mortgage repayments can still be met.

The Governor of the Bank of England, on a couple of occasions, made a statement of potential interest rate rises, something which is unprecedented; normally rates are increased without notice. Maybe this was a warning shot to calm house prices, particularly in London and the South East. This certainly did create caution with local buyers and sellers.

As we move into 2015 there is great optimist for a stable and steady market, with analysts predicting a 3% yearly price increase in the region. However, as always there are many unanswered questions. With general election fever gathering pace, will some buyers and sellers hold off until after May? Will the reforms in pensions bring an influx of new buyers into the market hoping to get a greater return from owning a buy to let property? Will this put more pressure on demand for entry level properties?

Every year there are twists and turns in the housing market with different challenges to overcome but with the local economy in generally good shape we believe there will be strong activity from the outset with many buyers looking to take advantage of some of the outstanding mortgage deals available again.

If you are looking to sell or buy in 2015, please talk to us.

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Buy to let boom continues with new mortgage highs

images[10]The buy to let sector is at its strongest for six years according to data released by the Bank of England.

Lending for buy to let mortgages jumped to a whopping £8 billion in the third quarter of this year – the highest quarterly lending volume since 2008 and up from £5.9 billion in the same period of 2013.

These are just the latest figures to show the private rental sector going through a boom.

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders lending in September – its most recent data – is 24 per cent higher by volume than in the same month last year, and 32 per cent by value. Paragon, one of the country’s chief buy to let lenders, says it has this year seen an 82 per cent rise in completions by investment purchasers.

Article by Graham Norwood – Letting Agent Today

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Seven great property ideas that never caught on

imagesCAVRADO4A few innovations that have belly-flopped, delivering something less than their publicists promised at the outset.

Good on the property industry for trying new things but here are seven reminders that this year’s heavily-funded great idea might just be next year’s embarrassing turkey.

1. City Centre Living: It’s over a decade since the property industry forecast that so many people would want to rent in regenerated city centres that an infinite number of buy-to-let apartments could be built (almost all of them, it seems, in Leeds and Manchester). It’s great living in a city centre, of course…it’s just not for as many as some agents told us.

2. Online Auctions: Do you remember websites where you could see rival bids, allegedly from investors snapping up buy-to-lets without even bothering to visit them first? I wrote many online auction stories over the years – possibly more than the number of homes sold this way. Of course online bids are a valuable part of the auction process but the ‘promise’ that one day we would spend £250k through a click and without a visit never materialised.

3. Gated Estates: After some years of data showing declining crime in most areas of Britain, a few PRs still try to sell what’s left of the new-build gated concept – even though planners these days tend to avoid actually using gates and instead designing walkways to create the illusion of privacy. But these schemes are now considered socially divisive, which most come as a blow to those who like keeping poor people at bay.

4. 3D Floorplans: Just last year I was told by one of Britain’s poshest estate agencies that this was the way forward. I heard that soon no agency would be describing a property by using only the number of bedrooms and certainly not by saying how many square feet it had. Instead, cubic feet and cubic metres were the way forward. I’ve just checked that same agent’s website – 3D floorplans and cubic measurements are nowhere to be seen.

5. Fly-throughs: These were the 3D floorplans of their day, promising to transform our house-buying process online with CGI footage of how new homes would appear (but which somehow never conveyed the smallness of the rooms). Some are still about but most have flown away, replaced by far superior videos.

6. Tepilo: It’s still going but this website, which caused waves in 2009 and led to sexist abuse against Sarah Beeny by a few male estate agents, has hardly caught the public’s imagination. It’s changed, Dr-Who like, from a sale-by-owner platform to an online estate agency. But despite celebrity ownership and high levels of publicity, it seems a poor relation even within the online agency niche. It’s also got a small inventory: try scouring for homes in my postcode, EX3 …. there aren’t any.

7. Iraq: Yes, I said Iraq. The head of one high-end agency’s international department promised me back in 2003 that within five years there would be holiday homes widely sold in what was then the planet’s major troublespot. Well, five years on (and now, 12 years on) Iraq is still a tragedy for its residents, who do not include second-homers. That senior industry figure wins the Tony Blair Prize for Getting Things Right In The Middle East.

Article written by Graham Norwood – Estate Agent Today

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Sellers! Don’t Wait for the New Year

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Many think buyers stop looking at houses during the Christmas period and as such, would-be sellers often choose to put their property on the market in the New Year. However, 89% of Relocation Agent Network member estate agents, who responded to a December survey, recommend that prospective sellers go to market before the Christmas break…

Why? Well the Relocation Agent Network survey found two key reasons:

1. 41% of Relocation Agent Network agents said that it was the increased activity in online portal searches during the Christmas period. Once the turkey has been eaten and the tin of biscuits has been emptied, many spend their free time searching for their dream home online.

2. A further 51% indicated that having a house on the market before Christmas allowed sellers to catch early New Year buyers. And with the majority* of survey respondents predicting an increase in buyer activity in January 2015, sellers won’t want to miss out. Indeed, nearly half** of estate agents surveyed expect up to a 10% increase in the number of buyers entering the market in January.

Thinking of selling in 2014?
As a selected member of Relocation Agent Network, we’ve already proven that our customer service is deemed to be the best in East Northants (in the Network’s opinion). But if that isn’t enough, through our membership, we can offer sellers a completely unique channel of buyer that no other estate agent in East Northants can provide. Visit www.relocation-agent-network.co.uk/how-we-can-help-you.aspx to find out more. Contact us today to find out more.

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Stamp Duty Reformed

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It has been needed for many years, but today the chancellor George Osborne has announced in the Autumn Statement that Stamp Duty is to be reformed from midnight tonight. The old stamp duty created problems with sale prices close to the thresholds of 1% and 3%. The new rules are as follows:

  • Stamp duty to be reformed. The “single-slab” rate will go, and instead it will be levied at a more gradual rate.
  • 98% of buyers will benefit.
  • The reform will cost £800m he says.
  • The new rates will be: nothing on the first £125,000, 2% on the share above that up to £250,000; then 5% on the next slice up to £925,000; then 10% on the next slice up to £1.5m; then 12% on everything above that.
  • People buying an average house, worth £275,000, will save £4,500.
  • New rates to come into force from midnight tonight.

Under the old rules, you would have paid tax at a single rate on the entire property price. Now you will only pay the rate of tax on the part of the property price within each tax band – like income tax. Under the old rules if you bought a house for £185,000, you would have had to pay 1% tax on the full amount – a total of £1,850. Under the new rules, for the same property you’ll pay nothing on the first £125,000 and 2% on the remaining £60,000. This works out as £1,200, a saving of £650.

You can find a really helpful ‘Stamp Duty Calculator’ from the HMRC right here. If you have any further questions please contact your local experts on 01933 651010 (Irthlingborough office) or 01933 224400 (Wellingborough office).

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