We are off to a cracking start this year with new instructions coming in left, right and centre. Viewing levels and sales are already surpassing last year’s and they were good! So I am expecting great things this coming year. It is not just that we have had an exceptional number of instructions but, I am proud to say, the quality of the homes on offer has been very high.
We are presently offering sales packages with professional photographs included in our highly competitive fees and again this is proving very popular with our clients.
National figures show that mortgage lending has risen 12.5% in the past year, despite a small dip at the end of 2015. Although house purchase approvals, on a seasonally adjusted basis, decreased to 68,218 in December, the second half of the year has seen a strong monthly average of 69,572 approvals, compared to 64,047 across the first six months of 2015.
This may cause alarm amongst some analysts concerned about a possible overheating of the housing market, fuelled by a shortage of supply.
The Office for National Statistics reported that house prices across the UK accelerated in the year to November, rising 7.7% on average, but with a rise of 10.2% in the east of England and 9.8% in London and the south-east. Here in Shropshire, prices rose by a conservative 3.4%.
Are you aware of the impending changes in stamp duty for buy-to-let landlords and 2nd home owners?
If you are, great, you don’t need me. However, the Chancellor’s statement initially left many experts confused about how the new stamp duty rates will be applied. Treasury documents implied that the first £40,000 would be tax-free. But it was later confirmed that although purchasers of properties below £40,000 won’t have to pay the additional 3%, for all purchases above that the 3% extra tax applies on the entire price. Currently, the rate for stamp duty is 0% on properties up to £125,000, then 2% on properties between £125,000 and £250,000. Properties from £250,000 to £925,000 pay 5%, then 10% up to £1.5 million. These rates remain for standard residential buyers but 3% extra will be added if the property is to be used as a buy-to-let or second home.
So there you have it, these new stamp duty taxes come into force at the beginning of April and those looking to avoid excessive charges will have to motor on to buy and complete their purchase.
If you have a property that you think will be of interest to investors and are thinking of selling, I suggest that you call my office now and arrange a free market appraisal as enthusiasm may well be dampened for a while.
However, I would like to state that property will continue to be a good investment for all over the long term – some institutions are predicting a rise of 25% over the next five years.
Mark Bielby FNAEA