Stamp Duty Holiday Extended!

Good news for home buyers and sellers. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an extension to the current stamp duty holiday. This is great news if you are considering buying or selling this year and firmly gives the green light to a busy spring for the housing market. Interior-web

The current £500,000 nil-rate band in England and Northern Ireland will apply until 30 June. Between 1 July and 30 September, it will be reduced to £250,000, and then from 1 October, the previous threshold of £125,000 for home movers will be reinstated. In practice, this means that people buying before 1 June will be able to save up to £15,000, while those buying between 1 July and 30 September will be able to save up to £2,500 in tax.

Whilst October seems a long way off, due to the nature of the property market and the lengthy process involved, we recommend taking the plunge sooner rather than later if you are looking to save money. From start to finish, the house buying process typically takes around 5 months so if you put your house on sale tomorrow or start searching for a home then you could hope to be moved by September. The process can of course be quicker but this is a typical timescale.

If you are weighing up your options and need further advice, then why not request a visit from our valuer. We can provide advice on all aspects of buying and selling and there is no obligation. Call us today to book a free appointment on 01926 298 298.

Investment & Lettings Opportunities?

With the gradual return to normality having been mapped out by Boris Johnson this week, investors and landlords will be wondering where they stand once all of the dust has settled following the pandemic.

The stamp duty holiday (whether it’s lengthened or not) hasn’t had that much of an impact on the investor market, though lack of students and an immobile workforce certainly has. With lockdown restrictions being eased over the coming weeks and schools and universities returning to their on-site studies, the need for rental accommodation is due to grow rapidly through 2021. Interior-web

With many small and large businesses sadly having ceased trading, there will probably be a large movement of labour to new jobs across the country and a need from workers for accommodation in new locations. With many potential home buyers having felt the pinch and struggling to gather big enough deposits to purchase homes, inevitably this will push demand further in the private rented sector. Great news if you are an existing landlord or potential investor as this will have a positive impact on rents and demand for quality rented accommodation across the region.

Interest rates are set to remain low for the foreseeable future in order to encourage the economy to recover, therefore buy to let mortgage rates should remain competitive throughout 2021. If you are a potential landlord or looking to extend your portfolio then this could be an excellent time to pick up good bricks and mortar investments.

Elizabeth Davenport can help you with managing your lettings portfolio, we can also offer guidance on buying the right property. For further information speak to our lettings manager, Carol Garritty who will be delighted to have a chat and offer impartial advice.

What about the Stamp Duty Cliff Edge?

With the stamp duty holiday due to end in a few short weeks, those wanting to take advantage of this tax break are rapidly running out of time. In recent days and weeks there has been some negative commentary from various quarters about “cliff edges” and the “race to beat the deadline”. Will there be a ‘stamp duty cliff edge’ as predicted?
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Whilst you may well agree that paying large amounts of tax isn’t the most exciting proposition, the reality is that stamp duty has been a part of English Law since 1694 when it was introduced during the reign of William and Mary in order to raise funds for the war against France. It was introduced on conveyances of sale, including the sale of land in 1808. So for most homebuyers Stamp Duty has been a reality since we purchased our first home and remains so today.

With the prospect of having to pay Stamp Duty again soon, a few buyers and sellers may decide not to move home after all and stay put as they were only really moving in the first place to save some money. Lucky them.

In the real world, most of us move home for a variety of practical reasons: we need a bigger house, we need a smaller house, we want a garden, we need more bedrooms for our growing family, we are getting divorced, a relative has died, the house has been repossessed, we want to live closer to Grandma, the neighbours are a nuisance, we want a house with a view, we prefer a south facing garden, we need to be by a good school, our employer has moved our job location, etc. The list goes on.

The majority of us don’t have the luxury of deciding to move because “there’s a stamp duty holiday”. So in the real world, the property market will march on and it will be business as usual. 2021 will no doubt see a resurgent economy and a resurgent housing market.

For further advice on your property sale or rental speak to one of our friendly team of experts.

Good Presentation – It’s Common Sense

Buyers in the current market are particularly fussy so right now it’s more important than ever to get the presentation right when selling your property.

That means the whole property including the exterior, interior and gardens (if any).

Excess furniture and clutter should be packed away and put into storage, childrens’ toys cleared away, any peeling paintwork should be touched up. In bathrooms it’s essential to replace mouldy sealant and revive any dirty grouting. Kitchens need to be ultra-clean and free from grease and grime. Broken cupboard doors must be fixed and dirty carpets should be cleaned or replaced. Bad smells (from dogs or other pets) must be eradicated, they’re a real turn-off for buyers.

Lawns should be cut, hedges trimmed, borders weeded. A few nice potted plants and hanging baskets will really freshen things up. The driveway or front path should be freshly swept and a new front doormat saying “Welcome” will create an inviting first impression.

And if you simply don’t have time to do all of this then you should pay someone to do it for you. It will be well worth the investment. A clean and well presented property will always sell before a similar property that’s messy and untidy. Put quite simply, a better presented property is worth more money.

For further expert advice about selling or renting your property, call one of our experts today and we’ll be happy to chat.

 

2021. Here we go again…

Happy New Year! And what a year 2021 is set to be. After the miserable annus horribilis of 2020 that many folks will be delighted to forget, the new year brings a fresh feel and invigorated spirit with feelings of joy and optimism for better things to come. iStock_000014885905_Medium

With hospitality able to start up again in the near future and people happily returning to work after months of misery, this will give a welcome boost to the economy and start to get everything back on track. It will also mobilise a large chunk of the workforce, when times are hard people follow the work trail and this will mean additional demand for housing in many areas either through purchase or rental.

Whilst 2020 was one to forget generally, the property market did receive a big boost because of the stamp duty holiday and although this (at time of writing) is still due to end after March, it has meant that property prices remained firm and confidence was retained. It’s still not inconceivable that the Chancellor will extend the SD holiday, he will want a healthy property market to bolster the economy generally. Extension or not the current trajectory of the market has already been set, add to that the stubborn shortage of homes nationally, increased demand due to workforce mobility, and ever-present record low borrowing rates, the outlook looks solid for the foreseeable future.

And with ‘Brexit Done’, whatever that means, business will have more certainty giving more job security and certainty for mortgage payers and renters alike. So in summary, the future looks bright!

If you need to move home this year or release equity in your investment portfolio, call our office for further advice about going on the market. Likewise if you have a rental property that is empty or coming up for renewal, our experts are on hand to help out. Call us today and get the ball rolling for 2021!

Merry Christmas!

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Whether you can believe it or not some of the most recent statistics released from Rightmove have revealed some really surprising and unusual activities over our Christmas holiday’s! I’m not talking about “Pie Face” or “Charades” here, I’m simply talking about online property views.

Rightmove reports show a whopping increase of over 20% activity levels between Christmas and the New Year.

The last published statistics revealed that on On Christmas Day there were nearly 14 million page views and over 10,000 people took time out from the festivities to send emails to agents.

On Boxing Day it gets traditionally  busier, with page views jumping to over 25 million.

Views peak on New Year’s Day, with an average of over 38 million page views  (This is no doubt due to many being unable to even step out of their armchairs!).

What does this really tell us? Well, unarguably it shows that when we have time, we use it. Christmas and more specifically the New Year, with the hopes and ambitions it promises (who can’t fail to at least have hopes and ambitions for the year ahead whether realised or not!), is time for prediction and planning. Physical viewings are not so common, but planning ahead and looking at what’s available, can be the spark that lights the fire. Having your property on the market over the Christmas period doesn’t mean that Mr and Mrs Smith are going to disrupt your Figgie Pudding and Brandy Snaps. It means simply that they will likely plan to visit your house after Christmas.

Seeing your home for sale may persuade them to sell their own property and enable them to move forwards. Yours could be the property that instigates those decisions. And more importantly, yours could be the property they buy as well.

Lastly, we just wanted to wish all our customers past, present and future a very Merry Christmas. 2020 has been such a testing year for everyone and we wish you all a happy, healthy and hopefully  successful 2021!

Autumn Market Update

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The UK housing market starts autumn with momentum following a post-lockdown mini-boom, making summer 2020 busier than usual. Buyer demand has soared, up 34% on a year ago according to Zoopla, while supply to the marketplace is at its highest level since March 2008, according to Rightmove. Over 81,000 property sales were recorded in August, which is up 15.6% on July, with competition in the market leading to one in eight properties selling at or above asking price. Larger properties and those with gardens are proving immensely popular, with the impact of COVID-19 set to have a lasting change on our home and work lifestyles. Price growth is strongest across the East Midlands and the North West, but across all regions the trajectory is positive.

Both the economy and consumer confidence have both shown signs of improvement throughout the summer. The economy grew by 6.6% in July (ONS), however it remains over 11% lower than pre-lockdown, while consumer sentiment continues to rise, albeit slowly. Recovery remains cautious as the government grapples with balancing the economy and public health. Stamp duty holidays across the nations offer a saving for many buyers, however, while interest rates remain low, a reduction in high loan-to-value lending products is impacting first-time buyers.

In the lettings market, as with the sales sector, demand for rental property increased over the summer, although new instructions remain muted, a continuation of the pre-lockdown trend. Average rental values across the UK rose by 1.5% in the year up to August, and yields remain attractive. Increased demand and a shortage of supply in many areas should help underpin rental values over the coming months. Just 13% of tenancies expire during the final quarter of the year but landlords will be keen to avoid unnecessary void periods.

Properties are selling quicker than they did a year ago, and latest mortgage approvals suggest the market is returning to more ‘normal’ levels. However, the forced pause in the housing market means 2020 sales levels will no doubt end below those of 2019. UK house price growth is at its highest level in over two years and revised forecasts anticipate property prices will end the year 2% higher, a significant reversal to the negative expectations anticipated as the market reopened. Interest rates are predicted to be held at 0.1% until 2022 offering hope of favourable buying and selling conditions for the foreseeable future.

CAN I STILL MOVE HOME DURING LOCKDOWN?

The new lockdown measures in England, implemented since Thursday 5th November may have left you wondering what your options are in terms of moving home, or even going to look at properties for sale or rent?

Moving HomeCan other prospective buyers come and look at your own property with a view to purchasing or are they confined to peering through the window or simply looking at photos before they make their decision? Are you allowed to have an Estate Agent visit your house to give you advice on selling?

In order to answer your questions, we have been working closely with our governing body and the Guild of Property Professionals to interpret the latest government advice and the good news is that the property market is still very much “open for business”.

If you are due to move home and have either agreed a sale or exchanged contracts, then you are allowed to continue with your move during the current lockdown restrictions. If you have agreed to rent a property, then again you can still carry on with the move. Appointments can still take place at properties being marketed, so long as strict Covid-safe guidelines are followed (including no more then the agent and the buyer being present, the property should also have been sanitised prior to the appointment and those present must wear masks, gloves and observe social distancing).

Most good solicitors and removal companies are still operating safely at the current time. It’s worth also bearing in mind that there is a backlog of properties waiting to exchange contracts so timescales are slower than normal. For rentals, timescales haven’t really changed so good news there.

“My property isn’t getting any interest. Is it because of Covid?”
Probably not, the market is still very buoyant. If this is the case please contact us as we can almost certainly help you.

So if you need to move home or are looking to either sell or rent your property, call one of our experts for further advice on 01926 298 298.

CONTINUED ACTIVITY, COUNTDOWN TO MARCH

With no let up in activity for the property market in the Warwickshire Area and the half term holiday upon us, things look remarkably different in 2020 compared to years gone by. Those wanting to take advantage of the Stamp Duty holiday have 5 months left until the deadline. This may seem a long way off but with Christmas and new Year to come, the clock is definitely ticking down already.Sold Board Kenilworth

Traditionally the conveyancing process takes around 12 weeks on average. With significantly increased volumes at present, this time frame is now longer so waiting until after Christmas to go on sale or purchase will leave many would-be movers and buyers disappointed.

If you’re not bothered about Stamp Duty then there’s no problem. If you want to take advantage of potential savings of up to £15,000 then pick up the phone today and call us for more expert advice about moving home.

If you have a property in Leamington, Kenilworth, Warwick or surrounding villages then we can help you. We have hundreds of buyers registered who could well be interested in buying your home.

We’re also offering complimentary restaurant vouchers to home owners who go on the market with Elizabeth Davenport between now and the end of December. For further information call us on 01926 298 298.

Does The Asking Price Matter So Much?

If your property has been on sale without success for more than 3 months then this probably means something is wrong with the marketing. This could be any of a number of things, perhaps the photos aren’t up to scratch or maybe the property isn’t being advertised through the right channels. Just as likely though is the possibility that your home is on sale at too high an asking price.

We hear many homeowners say “If the price is too high then people will just make lower offers.” Unfortunately this often isn’t the case and in reality overpriced homes often receive few viewings and subsequently don’t receive any offers at all. The reason for this is simple.iStock_000002696243XSmall

An RICS report has shown that 70% of buyers pay 20% more than they originally set out to spend. This means that if your property is worth say £400,000 the most likely buyers will have been searching for properties advertised between £320,000 – £400,000. So if you put your home on sale at £450,000 the most likely buyers won’t be coming to view it. In fact all of the WRONG buyers will come and view and when they do it won’t live up to their expectations. So you won’t receive any offers.

So asking price is critical in attracting viewings but even more crucially it’s very important in attracting the RIGHT viewers. In Warwickshire over the last couple of years there has generally been a shortage of property for sale so if your home goes on sale at the correct price and is promoted well by your Estate Agent with good marketing details then you should be able to find a buyer in a matter of weeks.

Call Elizabeth Davenport today for more expert advice on selling your property or for a free valuation.