Thursday, 24 April 2014

How the Help-to-Buy Scheme Has Helped

By the end of January 2014 there had been 17,395 property sales completed through the Help to Buy Scheme since its launch in April 2013. 82% of the equity loans went to first-time buyers and 85% to buyers outside of London and the South East.

The scheme had mixed reactions in the beginning and concerns it would create a housing bubble but as I mentioned in last weeks blog figures show that mortgage lending activity still remains lower than the previous record. The Help to Buy was designed to allow first-time buyers to get on the property ladder resulting in movement along the chain which is exactly what the market needed.

It has been released that Santander and NatWest are the first lenders to increase the interest rates on their Help to Buy mortgages, the increases ranging from 0.1% to 0.4%. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary has stated that interest rates should be raised to avoid a situation where house prices are out of control. 

If you are unsure how the Help to Buy Scheme works here is an outline for you.

  • It helps you to get onto the property ladder or move up it, to purchase new builds or existing homes up to the value of £600,000
  • You will need to contribute at least 5% of the property price for the deposit.
  • The Government will give you a loan for up to 20% of the price, the loan is interest free for the first 5 years.
  • You will need a mortgage of up to 75% to cover the rest of the property price.
  • Following the purchase you can choose at any time to make voluntary part repayments of the equity loan. The minimum voluntary repayment is 10% of the market value at the time of repayment. 

Who can't utilise the Help to Buy Scheme?
  • The property purchase must be your only residence. Help to Buy is not available to assist buy-to-let investors or those who will own any property other than their Help to Buy property after completing their purchase. 
  • You cannot rent out your existing home and buy a second homes through Help to Buy. 

What happens when you decide to sell?
  • The equity loan is re-payed upon completion of the property sale unless you have already chosen to repay the Agency's equity loan prior to selling.
  • If you sell your property for more than the prevailing market value then the amount dye to the Agency under the equity loan will be their percentage value of the actual sale price.
  • The Agency will not agree to release its charge over the property for sales less than market value.
The scheme has now been extended until 2020 to continue to make a difference and keep our property market moving.

Beth Alexandra Property Specialists

Thursday, 17 April 2014

UK Property Prices Continue to Rise

So, my blog last week I discussed the price divide between the North and South property markets but let us have a quick look about the UK as a whole. As official figures are released from the Office for National Statistics prices across the UK rose by 9.1% in the year to February 2014, this is 3.6% higher than the last property boom in 2008.

The Nations individually grew by the following amounts;
England   9.7%
Northern Ireland   2.8%
Scotland   2.4%
Wales   5.3%

But is the property 'bubble' being exaggerated? Lets face it, property prices can easily increase but will the sales keep up with the pace. Property prices in London alone have increased by 17.7% in the last year to February 2014 but is 75% of the turnover in property sales in the UK. 

Mortgage lending activity still remains lower than previous record but the Help to Buy scheme has been a huge success and contribution to moving the market forward. By the end of January 2014 the Help to Buy scheme sales had reached 17,395 and may this continue as the equity loan was last month extended to run to 2020.

Next week I will go into more detail about the Help to Buy scheme, after all it has really helped!

Beth Alexandra Property Specialists

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Online Estate Agents Survey Results - Be Part Of It!

What is a theory without the facts? After carrying out my own survey to analyse the trends on how you search for property and what choices you would make when selling your home reveals the online estate agency model is the way forward. After all there are a few big names in business who realise the change and making huge investments in the online property industry.
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou of EasyJet
Steve Smith of Poundland
Paul Pindar former Capita chairman
James Caan the Ex-Dragon

If you are still unsure on the concept or future of online estate agents, these results should help you.

1. When searching for property do you start by looking online?
Yes   100%
No    0%

2. When searching for property do you;
Go to estate agents websites individually   5.56%
Go to property portals such as Zoopla & Rightmove   94.44%

3. When searching for property do you visit the estate agents shop?
Yes   11.11%
No    88.89%

4. When arranging a viewing at a property, what are you most likely to do?
Call the agent   66.67%
Email the agent   33.33%
Visit the agents shop   0%

5. Online estate agents are known for offering lower fees so when selling your property would you use an online agent or high street agent at a higher fee?
Online agent   76.47%
High street agent   23.53%

6. When selling your property which payment method would you prefer?
Pay a low upfront fee and no fee on completion   52.94%
Pay no upfront fee and be charged a percentage of your sale price on completion   47.06%

Do you see the pattern emerge? 

From a business model point of view for Beth Alexandra Property I not only save you money by offering Flexi-Fees (pay upfront or pay percentage on completion) but provide a high quality service, continue to change the face of estate agency and deliver what you want!

7. Would you be more likely to use an estate agent on recommendation?
Yes   94.44%
No    5.56%

8. Please rate your previous experience with estate agents;
Poor   33.33%
Fair    16.67%
Average   33.33%
Good   16.67%
Excellent   0%

If you would like to take part in this survey please click the link

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Property Price Divide Between North & South

Well, after a successful blog last week about Gazumping which got me on a BBC Radio Breakfast Show! I'm going to branch out from this topic and discuss the property price divide between North & South. As the property market continues to move forward all over the country it causes property prices to increase but there is still a major difference in the increases and the pace of the market across the country.

Property prices are increasing all over the UK but some areas at higher rates than others, an average home in the South is 74% more expensive than in the North before we even start! Southern regions have risen by 6.1% year on year whereas this figure only reaches 3.1% in the North of the country.
Once a property hits the open market in the Capital it already has at least 25 buyers inline ready to purchase it whereas in comparison to the rest of the country only having 12.

There will always be a divide between the North & South property market but it is good to see that is it the whole of the UK to is benefiting in some way from the move in the market. This advance will not stop here, especially since the help to buy scheme was made available to new or existing homes up to £600,000 at the beginning of the year, 2014 is said to be the ‘Big Year’ and showing no signs of cooling down.

Are you looking to sell or rent your home? Look no further than Beth Alexandra Property Specialists