May Property Market Update - Stay tuned with Mark Beaumont 

May Property Market Update - Stay tuned with Mark Beaumont 

Nearly there folks!

The pubs are open - ish.  The shops are open.  You can even hug granny.  There is much to be cheerful for.  From Monday we can even go inside a pub or restaurant.  Who would of thought that just over a year ago that we would be so greatful for such basic freedoms .  But we sure are.

The housing market is continuing to pick up and our lettings deparment is getting busier by the week. With more business opening in London people who moved out of London will start to move back to our little commuter suburb. South East London is such a perfect hub for popping into the office and for when you are working from home.  We are so fortunate with so much greenspace to enjoy with easy access to the Thames Walks and the Countryside beyond.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy end to the lockdown.

Onwards and upwards...

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">What you need to know about the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme</span>

A new mortgage guarantee scheme was announced this spring, with the goal being to help first-time buyers and aspiring home movers purchase a home with a smaller deposit.
The initiative, which will be available for new mortgages up to 31st December 2022, is intended to increase the availability of mortgages on new or existing properties for those with small deposits. 
This comes after a plummet in 95% mortgages made available last year, as lenders lost confidence in the UK's financial stability due to the pandemic.
How will it work?
It is based on the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme that ran from October 2013 to December 2016, which backed mortgages for 104,736 purchases – 2.7% of all those in the UK.
The average property bought through the scheme was worth £159,170, compared to an average UK house price of £223,000.
In terms of restrictions with the latest initiative, only first-time buyers or those moving homes are eligible to apply, not those wishing to buy second homes or buy-to-let properties.
First-time buyers and home-movers form a vital cog in the economy and housing market, so government support will play a crucial role in restoring the balance.
To get assistance on your mortgage needs, get in touch today, or browse our latest properties to see what's available in your area.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">£150m ‘Help to Build’ scheme to be launched</span>

The government has announced a new ‘Help to Build’ scheme in a bid to make it easier and more affordable for people to build their own home.
Following a statement made by the government, the aim of the scheme is to help ensure that self-custom home building can become a more realistic option for those looking to get onto the property ladder through lower deposit mortgages.
It's planned that an initial £150 million will be made available from the government over the next four years to help implement and support the scheme, delivering low deposit mortgages and improving the affordability of homeownership.
Similar to the 'Help to Buy' scheme, the 'Help to Build' initiative will provide an equity loan on the completed home.
A statement from Robert Jenrick, the government’s housing secretary, said “building your own home shouldn’t be the preserve of a small number of people, but mainstream, realistic and an affordable option for people across the country. That’s why we are making it easier and more affordable.”
The announcement was met by an immediate positive response from the property market, further backed by the National Federation of Builders (NFB), who stated that it was "wholly behind the government’s self and custom-build announcements".
Whilst supporting homebuyers, this plan will also provide an important boost to small builders and businesses.
Applications for the scheme are due to open in late summer, according to the government’s action plan.
For more information, go to:
Or contact us to discuss your buying options.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">One in every 50 homes has been sold in 2021</span>

The housing market has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past year. And yet, from what we've seen so far of 2021, there are some incredible successes to take note of.
Figures from Zoopla showcase that within the first 15 weeks of this year, £149 billion worth of homes were sold.
In comparison to the same periods for 2019 and 2020, this amounted to double the value typically recorded, and meant that between January 1st and April 15th, one in every 50 properties were sold.
To put this into perspective, in an average year, it would take until the end of June to see these kinds of results.
When schools reopened six weeks ago, we began to see a rise in property listings, which suggests that as the country's home-schooling plans came to an end, more households could focus on preparing for their next sale or purchase!
There is currently an imbalance between supply and demand, making it an ideal time to sell.
It’s worth noting that in the near term, the market for family homes – for example – will start to ease as homeowners become more comfortable with opening up their homes for viewing purposes.
Alongside this, the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme will play a prominent role in bringing in more demand from first-time buyers without having to replace supply.
Are you thinking about getting started on your property journey? Please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team today.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">Updated guidance on possession action from the government</span>

Landlords need to be aware of and follow the guidance set by the government on coronavirus and renting, which contains advice on possession proceedings, health and safety, maintenance and repairs.
As always, the tenant's safety should always be the landlord's first priority.
In line with updated guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government dated mid-April, the document includes legislation to delay when landlords are able to start proceedings to evict by giving tenants longer notice periods than usual.
The guidance is aimed to help landlords safely let empty properties, or properties that tenants are vacating voluntarily. They should continue to work with their tenants to assist tenancies where the tenant wants to and are able to stay.
Conducting viewings should not happen in properties where tenants are symptomatic or self-isolating. 
Any visits to properties for maintenance issues must be made in accordance to the government's guidelines on working in other peoples' homes and social distancing.
If possible, any repairs or checks should be done in the period where the property is unoccupied. If this isn’t the case and visits are required to an occupied property, then this should be done with measures in place minimising physical contact, for example, having residents wait outside or in another room.
Landlords should ensure the property is prepared and ready for new tenants, which may include cleaning to minimise any potential spread of the coronavirus.
As a landlord, you also need to pay heed to your Right To Rent checks, with temporary measures in effect allowing these checks to be conducted remotely.
Should you need any help or guidance, please contact us with your questions.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">12 cleaning tricks at the fraction of the cost!</span>

From your oven to your bathroom, if you love to take pride in your home, you’ll want to know all the cleaning tricks and hacks to keep your home sparkling for a fraction of the cost.
Plenty of natural, cheap and quick cleaning tips from tin foil to vinegar and lemons can be used to save you time and money, making it even easier when you need to prepare your property for guests or even potential viewers who are interested in making an offer. 
Cleaning tips for bathrooms
Tip number 1 
Clean your bath with a grapefruit!
Get rid of water marks or stains in your bathtub by cutting a grapefruit in half, sprinkle on some rock salt and give it a good scrub, then rinse.
Tip number 2
Removing limescale from your shower using vinegar.
If you’re looking for a more natural way to clean your home from top to bottom, vinegar is your new best friend!
Soak your shower head in a mixture of boiling water and vinegar to unclog any limescale easily.
Tip number 3
Use an old toothbrush for cleaning your bathroom.
Don’t throw away your old toothbrush as it can be very useful!
Give it a rinse in boiling water to get rid of any germs and use it to get into any nooks and crannies that your vacuum cleaner can’t reach. It’s especially handy for cleaning hard to reach areas like around the tap or drain.
Tip number 4
Clean your toilet stains with coke.
Get a grubby toilet back to sparkling white by pouring in a can of coke.
Let it sit in the bowl overnight, give it a good scrub with the brush and then flush the next morning for a new sparkling loo!
Tip number 5
Unclog drains with baking soda.
Pour down the drain one part baking soda followed by one part vinegar then cover with a wet cloth. 
The two elements will react with one another to clean your drain naturally. Wait five minutes and then run some hot water to rinse.
Cleaning tips for kitchens
Tip number 6
Clean your chopping board with lemon.
Our chopping boards get a lot of use from meat joints to fruit and vegetables, so it’s no wonder they end up looking a bit tired and worn.
Lemons are great to lift stains as well as removing any smells. Still not shifting? Then try sprinkling some baking soda and repeat.
Tip number 7
Pop a lemon in your fridge.
Cut a lemon in half and put one on the top shelf and one on the bottom to mask any strong smells in your fridge.
Tip number 8
Remove limescale from your iron.
Keep your iron working well by removing excess limescale from time to time. 
Simply heat up, unplug and let it cool. Fill with one part vinegar to one part water. Leave for an hour then empty and rinse.
Tip number 9
Use a pastry brush to clean crumbs out of your toaster.
Unplug your toaster and sweep those hard to reach crumbs and burnt bits with a pastry brush. This will help your toaster last longer.
Tip number 10
Clean your washing machine with vinegar.
Place the empty washing machine on a hot cycle with one cup of vinegar inside. This will help remove limescale and mildew, making the machine last longer and clean more efficiently, plus smell amazing! 
Tip number 11
Use a fabric softener sheet to stop your bin smelling.
There’s nothing more frustrating after you’ve emptied the bin than to find a lingering smell. Pop a fabric softener sheet into it for an instant air freshener.
Tip number 12
Clean your oven with tin foil.
Pop some oven cleaner or fairy liquid to the oven and scrub the fat and grime away!
For more information on maintaining your property, talk to us today.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">Majority of transactions since May 2020 backed by mortgages</span>

Aside from the market boost provided by the extended stamp duty holiday, it's clear that the property market is seeing high levels of activity due to the continued low rates of borrowing for mortgages.
Since the market reopened in May 2020, mortgages fuelled 70% of property transactions in the UK.*
Whilst the stamp duty savings have been a tremendous help to many, the ability to secure finance at a much lower rate of interest than previously before has brought a massive boost to market sentiment.
Recent data showed that 270,785 of the 387,667 properties sold have seen the buyer backed by a mortgage, however, there are some regional differences.
- In London, 80% of all sales came from homebuyers with a mortgage
- For the East of England and the West Midlands, this accounted for 72% of sales
- In the South East and East Midlands it was 71%
- The South West had the most cash buyers, with just 64% buying via a mortgage
Some lenders around the UK have started tightening their belts with their lending criteria, potentially making it harder for those with a less secure financial background to be accepted.
But this isn’t likely to impact the ratio of mortgage-financed buyers in regard to those buying with cash.
The new mortgage guarantee scheme has also added incentive to more and more people enquiring about mortgages.
Encouraging lenders to offer 95% mortgages by taking on some of the risks involved, the government's scheme has proven successful so far, with over 78 fixed-rate 95% deals available right now, compared to five at the beginning of March.
If you would like more information, please get in touch today.
*Enness Global Mortgages

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">Why most landlords are not planning to increase rents in 2021</span>

As the easing of lockdown restrictions continues, it would seem that tenants are beginning to return to cities and resume their 'normal' lifestyle routines, drawn by reopened venues and attractions.
This reversed change in demand, paired with a recent shortage of properties available to let, is fuelling a rise in rental values across the UK.
However, the National Landlord Index has revealed that a large margin of landlords (90.2%) believe they have developed a good relationship with their tenants.
Following this, 82% have pledged to not increase rent throughout 2021.
The report highlighted the fact that many landlords are aware of their tenants' financial difficulties caused by the pandemic and are aiming to keep rent affordable in light of this.
On the other hand, only a small margin of landlords (18%) indicated in this survey that they intend to increase rent over the next 12 months.
The area revealed as most likely to see a rise in rent was London, with 35% of landlords stating they would be upping their prices, followed by the North West and West Midlands (both with 21% in agreement).
The report revealed that Scotland, the North East, East and Northern Ireland had the lowest number of landlords planning to increase rent.
We consider the needs of both our landlords and tenants.
If you would like to talk about this in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us or learn more about our services from our website.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">Market boom leads to more sales and higher prices</span>

The average UK property price has risen by 8.6%, which is roughly £20,000 in the past year. This is the highest annual rate since 2014 according to the Office for National Statistics.
Over the year, house prices in England increased to £268,000 (up by 8.7%), in Wales to £180,000 (up by 8.4%) and in Scotland to £162,000 (up by 8%).
The North West was the region that saw the highest annual growth in average house prices (11.9%), while London recorded the lowest positive growth (4.6%).
The figures reported by HM Revenue & Customs show that sales in March this year more than doubled from March in 2020.
It is estimated by HMRC that 190,980 sales took place in March 2021, a 202.3% increase in transactions compared with the previous year at 94,380.
Despite the tapering of the stamp duty holiday later this summer, it has been predicted within the sector that the high demand levels we're seeing will continue to propel activity and protect property prices.
The vaccine roll out and easing of lockdown restrictions have led to dramatic changes to consumer confidence within the UK, supporting this expectation for the housing market.
If you'd like to review your options buying or selling this year, talk to us today.

<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica;">How much hidden equity is in your home?</span>

It has been reported that almost half of homeowners are undervaluing their homes, including some cases where the properties were worth nearly £50,000 more than they realised.
Zoopla reports that only three in ten people have an accurate idea of how much their home is worth, with 45% undervaluing and 25% overvaluing.*
Nearly one in ten homeowners whose property was worth more than expected found that it was valued at over £100,000 more, with 40% located in the London and South East regions.
This means that more than one million UK properties could be hiding six figures of hidden equity – unbeknown to the owners.
What does it look like in London?
35% of London homeowners have found their property to be worth more than expected, by an average of £117,000.
Whilst 37% said their home was worth less than they thought, by an average of £49,000. 
In light of all the findings, a property in London is worth on average £22,846 more than anticipated, which is more than double the £9,470 national average.
What benefits are there for homeowners?
It is reported that the benefits from hidden equity have meant:
- 81% could improve their lifestyle
- 50% were able to move to a better property
- 18% between 55-64 were able to retire sooner than expected
- 13% could upgrade their car
- 13% went on more holidays
- 8% were able to help get family and children on the property ladder
Seven out of ten homeowners would have made different financial decisions if they had been aware of their hidden equity.
What could this mean for you?
You may be in for a surprise if you check the current value of your home.
There are huge benefits to knowing how much your home is worth, particularly if you’re thinking of selling, as the value could influence the type of property or location you move to.
Gráinne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, explained: "the effects of the pandemic over the last 12 months have been felt in the housing market, with many households reassessing how and where they want to live.
"There is soaring buyer demand but this is not currently being matched by homes being listed for sale. Homeowners considering a move could be in pole position in their local market if they offer their property for sale, and could be set to unlock hidden equity."
If you’re looking to sell your property or would like to get your property valued, please contact us today.
*Zoopla’s Hidden Equity Survey is based on research among 2,000 UK homeowners who have had their home valued by an estate agent in the past three years.