Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty changes: #AS2014

#SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) has been totally reformed in the Autumn Statement by George Osbourne. First time buyers gain, and buyers of property over £937,500 lose out.

98% of people who will be paying Stamp Duty will pay less

Under the new rules Stamp Duty will follow a scale similar to income tax, with thresholds where the rate is due proportionally.

New Stamp Duty

What is the impact on First Time Buyers or regular home owners?

First time buyers will benefit. Under the new rules first time buyers will pay on average £400 less. The average price paid for a first home is £210,000. Under the old system the rate was 1% on the whole amount therefore £2,100. However under the new system only amount above £125,00 so ££85,000 is taxed at 2% totaling £1,700.

What is the impact on Property Developers?

For property developers the new is not so good. With so many sites coming in over the £1m mark, property developers will be hit hard. In Particular those in London and the South East where even the smallest sites come in over the £937,500 threshold from which point the effective rate is higher under the new system.

SDLT Autumn Statement

The critics are calling this move George Osbourne’s own engineering of the Mansion Tax. However this will definitely help smaller, less affluent families and most of all first time buyers. The upper end rates are really quite high and will impact small developers more, who operate on a smaller scale and rarely get other subsidies like the larger ones.

It must be noted that these rates and changes do not affect commercial property, therefore many developments may not be harmed that much.

Will this reduce or increase the net proceeds to the treasury?

In conclusion, this is a positive move by the Chancellor, it just waits to be seen how this translates for first time buyers and conversely with property developers in reality.

London Property

Is the London property market slowing?

Property Investor LondonWednesday 3rd December was the last McHugh & Co auction of 2014. Focusing on residential property in London this auction gives a good indication of the state of the London property market.

PropVestment attended the auction on the instruction of client’s interested in some of the lots on offer. Here is how it went:

Key observations:

  • Only 50% of the lots sold
  • Development lots sold the best, 5 of the 8 sold, at an average of £1.865m which was on average 55% above the guide price.
  • Houses did not sell well, only 3 of 9 selling, at an average of £499k, on average 17% above guide price. For the ones that did not sell, reserves were not met at an average of 3% above guide price.
  • Flats sold fairly well, 6 out of 10, at an average of 34% over guide price.
  • Lots in Zone 1 & 2 sold well and above guide, however many outside central areas did not sell.
  • Lots sold by councils, or trusts sold well, where as private sellers seemed to keep high reserves.

London property analysis

Developers were hungry for prime development lots in good locations, where there is confidence that final products will sell and where there is potential to achieve higher values. However locations away from prime residence or commercial zones did not fair so well. Some lots were offered by London Borough of Camden, the ones on normal residential streets sold well, but ones in proximity to estates and tower blocks did not. Council are cashing in.

Flats sold well, these are properties that are more affordable and hence there is greater demand.

Luxury houses suffered, where sellers are anticipating very high prices. The irony is that with the Stamp Duty announcement in the Autumn Statment these properties will be less desirable and therefore sellers will not achieve the prices they want.

Another factor that may contribute to slower sales is the up coming holiday season, with many auction lots requiring 4 week completions it is not desirable or possible to complete. Auction purchases require greater legal scrutiny and finance is still difficult.

For advise, appraisals or general consultancy on London property feel free to get in touch: info@PropVestment.com

London Property

 Note: PropVestment only attended the first 30 lots on offer, data is from first hand observation, although we aim to provide accurate information this information is not verified with McHugh and Co.
budget buying a property

Hidden costs of buying a property

Cost of buying a property go well beyond the deposit required

Many new buyers often make the miscalculation that the money they have saved up, is the amount they should budget for buying a property or putting down a deposit. There are many other costs that arise that new buyers should be aware of. Here are just a few examples.

Legal costs of buying a property

Legals fees are a must, remember you get what you pay for. Use a reputed conveyancing firm. Depending on the complexity of your deal typical costs could vary from £500 to £1000. In some cases you can get the lender to contribute to some of these costs, however beware that they do not cover this by charging else where.

Stamp Duty costs of buying a property

Considering very few property purchases are below the £125,000 threshold most people will have to pay stamp duty. This is a tax an is payable on completion, therefore must be budgeted into your calculations.

Purchase price of property Rate of SDLT
(percentage of the total purchase price)
£0 – £125,000 0%
£125,001 – £250,000 1%
£250,001 – £500,000 3%
£500,001 – £1 million 4%
Over £1 million – £2 million 5%
Over £2 million 7%

Source: https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax-rates

Check out this easy stamp duty calculator.

Survey costs of buying a property

Surveys can typically cost £400 to £800. This must be paid regardless if the purchase goes through, so do your own research before instructing a survey. Make sure the value stands up and the purchase is not too risky for the lender. Sometimes the lender covers the cost of the survey or adds it to the mortgage.

Valuation fees when buying a property

Mortgage lenders will charge a valuation fee, that can vary from £300 to £500. They sometimes cover the cost or give you the option to add it to the mortgage amount. Look at the fine print and get clarification.

Mortgage arrangement fees

Lenders have become smart and crafty. Often as the interest offered on a mortgage goes down, the arrangement fees go up. In reality this is a pointless fee but they do charge it. It can be over £1000 in some cases.

Moving costs & repairs

Moving costs if you are hiring help can run into over £1000 for a single day. Calculate how much you have to move and plan the move well.

When you view your property before completion check things thoroughly, the last thing you want is a boiler failing, the roof collapsing as soon as you move in.

How can PropVestment help?

budget buying a propertyWe can provide you with a walk through of purchasing a property and put you in touch with our preferred and vetted financial advisers, solicitors, and moving team. Contact us today for a no obligation chat.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mortgage Market Review

#MMR : How will the Mortgage Market Review affect you?

The Mortgage Market Review (MMR) was brought in by the FCA and is in practice from 26th April 2014. The aim is to avoid a repeat credit crunch caused by over and responsible lending in the mortgage market.

What is the Mortgage Market Review?

It means that Financial Advisers will not be able to provide services on a Non-Advise basis. All IFAs will need to hold a relevant qualification. This means there will be better qualified IFAs, and the lack of competition should make this service profitable and worth it for the best IFAs. Overall this is better for people buying property as they will get better advise.

For Lenders: They are now fully responsible for assessing someones ability to pay back a mortgage and affordability. Therefore they will scrutinise income and expenditure to the finest detail.

Mortgage Market ReviewFrom the FCA:

They will look at your spending in three categories:

Essential expenses

This is what you regularly spend on the things you cannot do without, such as:

  • food
  • household cleaning and laundry
  • gas, electricity and other heating costs
  • water bills
  • telephone
  • essential travel (such as travel to work or school)
  • council tax
  • buildings insurance (it is usually a condition of your mortgage that the building must be insured)
  • ground rent and service charges (for leasehold properties)

Basic quality of living costs

This is what you need to spend on occasional essentials, with some allowance for leisure costs, including:

  • clothes
  • household goods (such as furniture and appliances) and repairs
  • personal goods such as toiletries
  • basic leisure costs, including non-essential transport
  • TV licence
  • childcare

Repayments and other commitments

This covers other payments you know you will have to make, including:

  • debts you are paying off, like credit card bills, loans or hire purchase payments
  • child maintenance and alimony payments

The exact details you are asked for will vary between lenders, but you should expect to discuss your regular spending in all these areas.

MMR could be responsible for the surge in the housing market in recent months. Due to the fact that the lending process will be longer and more indepth, potential buyer will have rushed buying to get their transactions complete prior to these new rules coming in place.

What does MMR mean for Buy to Let?

It is still unclear if these rules are applicable for Buy to Let investments, especially as in most cases the loan to value is lower and mortgage payments are intended to be paid with the rental income.

Please comment if you have any further information in relation to Buy to Let impact.

Property Tribes has some interesting points here:
http://www.propertytribes.com/start-preparing-now-big-changes-coming-btl-lending-t-9621.html 

– Thanks Vanessa Warwick

Conclusion

Although the point of MMR from the FCA is to make sure mistakes of the past do not happen again it will damage the property market especially for those responsible lenders, IFAs and investors.

Immediately we will see a drop in market transactions and decrease in first time buyers on the market. The seasoned investors should remain mostly unaffected.

UK Property - Budget 2014

#Budget2014 – impact on UK property market

Chancellor George Osborne today showcased the UK Budget for 2014. The main question is how will it impact the UK property market and effect you, the investor. Points of interest are Stamp Duty, Help to Buy, new housing, savings and taxes.

 

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty Budget 2014Nothing much changes for the average private homeowner, or small time landlord. The big announcement and change comes to close a loophole that many foreign investors used to avoid stamp duty by buying their properties through company ownership. Now there is a 15% stamp duty on purchases over £500,000. This will severely target foreign owned properties in particular in London and South East.

THOUGHTS – Will foreign investors now just flood the UK commercial property market? So is it a good time to get in now and sell in the near future?

Help to Buy

The equity loan scheme known as Help to Buy has been extended on new homes until 2020, with the aim to fill the shortfall in housing and encourage lending from banks and building societies.

In reality this will mean that the construction industry will be boosted until 2020 at the expense of young buyers, who end up buying an inflated prices, and find themselves in a lot of debt. This will keep pressures on house prices up until 2020 too. For the investor it means, get on the property ladder today or expand your portfolio, and if you want an exit do it before 2020. It also means new builds that are eligible for the scheme will be considerably higher priced than old builds, however this will drag the prices of old builds along too.

No mention of any extension to Help to Buy 2, the scheme that was available for non new builds up to £600k.

Housing supply

Ebbsfleet Garden City – 15,000 new homes to be built near the Ebbsfleet international rail terminal, to create a commuting hub. As PropVestment advised a few years ago Ebbsfleet was an investment hot spot and it will only increase more now. With great transport links it will become a thriving part of Kent. However we think the area will now be priced in.

Brent Cross and Barking Riverside in London will also receive new developments and improvements to help aid the capitals housing problems.
UPDATE – There will be 11,000 new homes in Barking Riverside and up to 10,000 in Brent Cross. The regeneration of the infamous Grahame Park estate near Brent Cross will also be brought forward. 

Right to build – New scheme to help people build their own homes. £1.5m allocated, that is pittance really, how many can be supported through this? Although it does sound like an interesting concept.

The chancellor’s target is 200,000 new homes to be built, however many critic suggest that this is still not enough and the housing supply deficit will keep growing. This means by simple economics demand will continue to out strip supply and prices will keep on rising.

Savings & Taxes

A few points are that the zero rate and 40p rate thresholds will rise, increasing affordability. ISA thresholds are increased to £15,000 per person and there are a few other measures to encourage savings. This could have impacts either way, one way is that it will encourage savings so people will be able to build up deposits for buying a property. On the counter if they have saved into ISAs that they do not want to break, it could mean that people will be more reluctant to invest into property. It will depend on person to person.

How will #Budget2014 impact the PropVestor?

UK Property - Budget 2014For the traditional investor it is a fairly positive budget and it will help discourage corporates and foreign investors with the Stamp duty ruling. This will leave more opportunities for private UK based investors.

Help to Buy is contentious but it will keep pressures on house prices until the end of the decade.

PropVestment’s top tip

Get on the property ladder today, do not wait until tomorrow

The rise of online estate agents

How important is the Estate Agent?

Is the role of the Estate Agent changing?

Over the last few years since the bursting of the property bubble in 2007 to now the role and business model of the estate agent has changed dramatically. We will discuss a few themes from the rise and reliance of the internet in property. Most prominently the rise and almost necessity of agents to list upon Rightmove and Zoopla. Are relationships with your agent still as important? The rise of volume of estate agents on every high street? Is it different if you are a buyer or a seller.

Internet-Only Agents, Rightmove & Zoopla

The rise of online estate agentsA few years ago there was a giant called Findaproperty.com, which has now disappeared after a merger with Zoopla in 2012. The giants are now Rightmove and Zoopla. Nearly every high street agent must now list on these two giants to get the exposure to potential buyers or letters.

In times gone by majority of the advertising for property was in the freely distributed local newspapers, and newspaper could get a large amount of their revenues from estate agents. Now many papers exist in only online form or only sold in selected stores. This has meant that all that revenue is diverted to these online property listing sites. Within minutes of receiving new properties agents are able to list them online and mailshot them to potentials. As a buyer this means you have quick access but also quick competition.

DID YOU KNOW: 95% property searches are done online!

There are now a rise of many online only estate agents such as such as eMoov.co.ukHousesimple.co.uk and Hatched.co.uk. Zoopla and Rightmove online allow estate agents to advertise, not private clients. Hence their is a market for online only agents. With minimal costs they can operate, some only charging £500 commission on property sales. Compared to the 2% average of traditional agents and London average house prices hitting almost £350,000. That’s a comparison of £500 vs £7000? What would you choose?

Are relationships with your estate agent important?

This question goes hand in hand with the debate of using online only estate agents or not. In years gone by your relationship with your local agents were of prime importance. Whether you were a seller or a buyer your agent could significantly improve your chances of succeeding in a transaction or even giving you first option ahead of others.

Recently working on a deal for a client we realised the importance of this relationship is still as valid as ever. You pay a price but you get that call ahead of a property being listed online. Or as a seller they personally take care of negotiations and vetting to squeeze every penny from the prospective buyer. It brings about a personal touch an art that is often lost in today’s technologically reliant world.

Spoilt for choice? But which one?

Spoilt for choice for estate agentsSince the before the bubble burst till now there have been more and more new estate agents cropping up on every high street in the country. Even when the market for buying and selling was stagnant they were opening. Mainly for the high demand for lettings and the quick 6-10% that they could make by flooding landlords with sub standard tenants and then in an few months they disappeared. Estate agency requires no qualifications to open, so there is easy entry. But do not discount them all the new boys on the market. There are some very good ones. Best advise is to go and have a conversation, you very easily can weed out the all talkers and the ones with extensive local knowledge.

The best agents we find are ones that have been in an area for a while, they get the best properties first and they also have the ready clients who are looking.

Difference for Buyers and Sellers

For buyers:
Walk around the area you are looking and register interest with the local estate agents. They will give you inside knowledge of the happenings and developments locally and can give you first option. You are not generally paying anything so it makes no difference to you.

For sellers:
You are the one paying fees so this is the big dilemma. Also it depends on your circumstances, how long you can wait to find a buyer, can you handle viewings. A good agent can vet out prospects so there is less hassle for you, especially if you are selling your residential home and do not want hoards of random people turning up to see.

Conclusion

Estate Agents are massively important for the buyer and seller, however each situation is different. On the whole good relationships enable you to get preferential and personal service that can help you beat the market.

Buy to Let mortgages

UK Property Market Update – Winter 2013

The UK property bubble is building

  • The average family home is up £5,583 and London properties have increased by more than £7,000.UK property prices went up by £7,430 in October
  • Average sale price in London is now £404,199
  • Help to Buy scheme is inflating prices
  • Rents increase 11% to £785pm, 41% of the average UK wage.

UK rents

UK property Sale prices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average UK Property Prices In London, where the average sale price is higher than ever, 14 people compete for every property.

Mortgage applications rose by 6% in October, and almost double 2012 numbers. It comes as the Council of Mortgage Lenders said last week the number of homes sold this year will be more than one million for the first time since the financial crisis began in 2007.

The government Help to Buy scheme is pushing prices up.

Out of the 5,375 sold so far, the highest number of Help to Buy sales have been in Leeds, Wiltshire, Milton Keynes and Reading.

The average price of a UK property bought under the Help to Buy scheme was £194,167, with an average equity loan of £38,703.

UK property transactions

Critics warned the UK-wide second phase of the scheme, which began last month and is not restricted to new-builds, would cause a housing bubble.

It guarantees 15 % of the value of the home loan.

After almost coming off the market, Buy to Let mortgages are also being approved strongly. Landlords and investors are buying up and completing deals to keep up with the increasing rent demand and to cash in on the rental increases. This is a very encouraging sign for property investment.

However as the final graphic shows there is still not enough supply in the market, especially in London where there are almost 3 offers for every sale.

PropVestment’s thoughts

Offers and Sales

Yes the UK property market is picking up and in fact picking up a little too fast. But this is mainly due to the Help to Buy scheme which is resulting in unrealistic implications on price and the market. The only ones to benefit are the banks and house builders. First time buyers, buying under the scheme face higher interest rates compared to traditional mortgage products.   
The market right now is too competitive and sellers can take advantage. We do however have concerns that many first time buyers under Help to Buy will suffer from negative equity in years to come once the Government pulls the plug on the scheme and prices fall back to their realistic, natural and sustainable level.

Buy to Let mortgages

Source: Daily Mail

#Budget2013 : Help to buy – impact on UK property market

Will the “Help to Buy” scheme help home buyers?

Budget 2013 Help to BuyThe Chancellor, George Osbourne has announced the budget for 2013 and beyond. Overall the budget covers all aspects or work and life in the UK, however we are concerned with property.

The head line for property has been the “Help to Buy” scheme.

There are 2 options, one for new buyers and new homes only and one for all property and buyers.

The below options breakdown are provided by Zoopla blog on the budget

Option 1: Help to buy – Equity Loan

-Is it applicable to any property?
No, just new build only

-Deposit required?
Yes, minimum of 5% deposit

-Do I have to be a first time buyer?
No, this scheme is available to all, not just first time buyers

-How does it work?
The Government will lend you up to 20% of the value of your property through an equity loan, which can be repaid at any time or on the sale of your home…so you will only need to secure up to a 75% mortgage from a bank or building society. It is interest-free for 5 years

-When does it start?
The scheme is available from 1 April 2013. It will run for 3 years and provide £3.5billion of additional investment

Option 2 – Help to buy – Mortgage Guarantee

-Is it applicable to any property?
New build and existing homes

-Will I need a deposit?
Yes, you’ll need a minimum of 5%

-Is it only open to First Time Buyers?
No, it is also open to existing homeowners

-How does it work?
You’ll need to secure a mortgage for your purchase. The Government guarantee should help encourage lenders to offer better access to low-deposit mortgages

-When does it start?
Available from January 2014, this scheme will run for 3 years

-Is there a maximum purchase price?
Maximum value £600,000

 Other points from the Budget 2013:

  • Budget 2013 help to buy21 % corporate tax rate – potentially beneficial to buy rental properties into a company rather than private names
  • Encourage to convert unused commercial space into residential

London Mayor, Boris Johnson has also secured £750 million for new build housing in the capital. This will boost affordable housing for middle income Londoners.

Official details can be found here: HM Treasury – pages 38 & 71

PropVestment’s thoughts

Overall we believe that the budget is progressive for the UK Property market, however it could have done more. However it seems that Help to Buy is more universal and will help more of the population. It is now for us to see how it filters through in reality. Many other schemes like NewBuy and FirstBuy have been less successful

 

Contact PropVestment today for a chat, we advise on all property investment queries. Lets make money from property

 

Lending holding back property investment in London

Stringent lending stopping property investment

Property Investment stopped by lending

It has been a long standing observation that one of the main reasons the UK property market is struggling is due to the lack of funding in the market place.

We have had a series of funding schemes proposed by the government and other institutions to encourage property investment. These include the likes of NewBuy, FirstBuy, and Funding For Lending.

Funding for Lending is the latest scheme to encourage lending where the banks can borrow cheaply provided they lend it out to the public, be it as mortgages or commercial lending.

FirstBuy and NewBuy is primarily restricted to new builds, which benefit constructors but represent a very small proportion of the property on the market.

Over the last few weeks at PropVestment we have been working on a deal for a young professional first time buyer. However we have it a brick wall with strict, inflexible, non-subjective lending criteria by all the major lenders.

*Due to confidentiality and to protect our exclusive property sources, details on this article will be disguised
 

The investment property

Property Investment in Elephant & CastleLOCATION – Elephant & Castle – Zone 1 – London

  • Elephant & Castle has £1.5 Billion being spent for regeneration.
  • 2 mins walk to the London Underground and Bus stations.
  • Opposite the famous “Strata Building”

 PROPERTY

 

2 Bed Duplex in Ex-council block, currently under full refurbishment.

  • Each leaseholder has spent almost £40k for new concierge, lifts, windows
  • Elephant & Castle - Property next to Strata20th floor with views of London, from the Gherkin, Canary Wharf, O2,  Shard, all the way to Crystal Palace.
  • Large Balcony. Full wall to wall windows across all rooms.
  • 118 Year Lease

Rental expectation – upto £1500 per month currently. PropVestment predicts this will hit £2000 in 5 years. Strata building demands this level for smaller compatibles.

Asking price – £220,000

Gross Yield is over 8%

If lending 75% Purchase Price, there for deposit £55,000
If mortgage at 4% repayment over 20 years £1011 installment per month
Surplus for Buyer after mortgage £5868 per annum.
10.7% return on cash invested annually

 

The First Time Buyer

  • Mid twenties
  • £50,000 savings, plus £10,000 promised contribution from family
  • £40,000 a year salary before bonus.
  • Over £2000 monthly saving after expenses
  • City working professional, currently living with parents
  • Buying either to stay in and share or rent out fully.

Why the banks won’t lend?

  •  Ex-council
  • Concrete & Steel Construction

If the councils have approved a £40 million refurbishment of the block, clearly there is no risk to the building. Considering most of the block is still council owned they would not put so much of their own money in an unsafe building.

Being Ex-council ensures that maintenance is always prompt and reasonably costed.

The banks have very little risk here because the rental will cover the mortgage repayment by 135%, the usual criteria for Buy to Lets is currently 125%.
The buyer has £2000 disposable income every month, for any major shortfall or unforseen circumstance.

PropVestment’s Thoughts

After all this and almost a model buyer, why are the banks not lending?
Banks are given cash via the Funding for Lending scheme and still are not making it available to the public.

By the banks not lending, we, as in property professionals, end up having to offer such properties to cash buyers from abroad.
Ideally we want young property owners from the UK, however due to the circumstances the only investors that can afford to pay full cash are foreigners. This means that the profits also get taken out and do not recirculate in the UK economy.

The government must do something to ensure banks lend to boost UK home grown property investment.

For any property investment advise, analysis, deals or thoughts, contact us today for a no obligation chat. Sharing thoughts and ideas is how we progress.

 

UK property market HS2

#HS2 – High Speed 2 implications on the UK Property Market

UK property market HS2With the announcement of the HS2 today, there has been much in the media, with a lot of criticism. We at PropVestment want to focus on the implications of HS2 on the UK property market.

Economically this will create jobs and provided technology is sourced within the UK will benefit us in the long run.

In terms of the thousand or so homes effected, we believe they have been offered 110% the market value of their property prior to plans announced. Home owners have got a good deal, especially in some northern reaches where the UK property market is almost non existent as UK potentially drops into a “triple dip” recession.

How does HS2 effect the UK Property Market?

  •   HS2 impact on UK Property MarketReduce Pressure on London
    As commuting becomes easier with journeys under an hour from Birmingham to London, similar to a journey from Zone 4/5 to Zone one within London. Therefore many will choose to locate outside London. Benefiting from lower property prices and potentially larger homes.
  • Revival of Northern Property Markets
    As from locations will be commutable to the major cities and London. Hence more people will choose to locate in those towns, boosting house demand and rentals too. Landlord’s and investors will find these areas as more attractive places to invest. First time buyers and young professionals out priced by London have the option of settling in Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds or Birmingham and able to travel more easily.
  • Revival of UK Construction
    It is inevitable that there will be need for new home and in the areas surrounding the HS2. Primarily for the construction workers and secondary for the end users who look to make use of the HS2 rail link.

 

Where to buy UK Property Top Tip: Totan, Nottinghamshire

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