Streetwise Property Alert 27th January 2014

I’d like to begin today by thanking everyone who donated to Martin House, the children’s hospice. The total, including a fantastic £420 sent direct from David H (thank you so much) and some Gift Aid too, was £2520; a very useful sum. Thank you all who donated. We will return to www.justgiving.com/iain-c-maitland later in the year.

What A Start!

According to new figures from Rightmove, the UK property market has started 2014 with a bang. Asking prices are up by 1 per cent this month. All in all, there has been an annual increase of 6.3 per cent, the highest since November 2007.

‘The early statistics for any new year are keenly anticipated as they indicate the shape of things to come in the year ahead. With a very strong start in both the price of property coming to market and the number of people looking at what’s on the market, it suggests that the new year resolution for many is to make 2014 their year to move.’

‘New sellers’ and their agents’ price expectations are a lead indicator of optimism and the largest rise seen at the beginning of a year since the start of the Rightmove House Price Index in 2002 suggests the anticipated demand is here and, consequently, prices are ticking upwards. As a result, more home owners will find themselves in a position where their growth in equity may help to fund a move. This is the strongest start to a new year for house prices that Rightmove has ever recorded and that will get some potential sellers salivating at the thought of better moving prospects.’

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Mortgages – What’s Happening?

The must-read magazine, What Mortgage, has asked mortgage experts for their prediction for 2014. Ray Boulger at John Charcol always calls it well. Here’s what he has to say. ‘The factors pushing up house prices will continue in 2014, with Help to Buy (HTB) being a bigger influence. Lenders have plenty of funds, partly because of the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), whereby the Bank of England offers very cheap funds for a four-year term. Although this scheme will now finish a year earlier than planned, i.e. on 31 January 2014, lenders can draw down funds to which they are already entitled and many will draw considerable amounts in the run up to the scheme ending, giving them a substantial war chest for 2014 lending.’

‘Following ‘guidance’ from the Bank of England it is highly unlikely that Bank Rate will change in 2014. Despite the fall in unemployment now accelerating on the back of a stronger than expected pick up in the economy, comments from the Bank suggest it will be in no hurry to increase Bank Rate, even when unemployment falls to its initial target rate of 7 per cent.’

‘The availability of 95 per cent LTV mortgages has increased substantially as a result of HTB and will increase further early in 2014. Despite HTB being the catalyst for this increase most lenders offering mortgages with only a 5 per cent deposit are not using the scheme to do so. The increased competition in 2014 for borrowers with only a 5 per cent deposit will result in lower rates. However, criteria will remain tight and prospective borrowers will continue to need a good credit status. The most visible impact for most consumers of the Mortgage Market Review is that from then it will generally be mandatory for borrowers to get advice before they can take out a mortgage. Consumers used to using a mortgage broker will not notice much difference but it will be a culture shock for some consumers.’

Investing In 2014 Seminar – Limited Availability

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1 February 2014.

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Selling Savvy

Looking to put a property up for sale? The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has some advice. ‘The winter months are traditionally a difficult time for sellers trying to impress buyers with their home. An inviting atmosphere in these gloomier months is vital and it’s often the smallest changes to a property that can make it stand out above others.’

‘Simple things such as ensuring the home is warm and well lit can improve saleability during these cold, dull months and additions such as garden lights to enhance the entrance to your home can stimulates buyers’ imaginations.’

‘Practical issues are of importance at this time of year too, with the dark days highlighting awareness of light and heating costs. With buyers now concerned more than ever on the running costs of a home, sellers should seek to highlight any energy saving features which will entice an offer out of buyers.

All for now, see you on Tuesday.

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