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Tough Times Ahead For Landlords

In the last budget George Osborne announced that tax relief for landlords is to be cut, limiting the amount of income they can offset against mortgage interest payments. While the detail is fairly convoluted the basic outcome is that many, if not most, let properties will be less profitable – or indeed make an annual loss (though it’s to be hoped property price growth will ultimately overcome this). The change is to be phased in and won’t be fully in place for another four years but already landlords will be starting to feel the pinch. In recent weeks lenders have started looking ahead to the full reduction in tax relief and tightening lending policy as a result: if the prope... Read more


How to Value your Estate Agent

After some extraordinary recent market valuations, some financial analysts, such as Jefferies, the firm that advised Zoopla on their flotation, have warned that online estate agent Purplebricks is set to underperform. In a note in early June, Jefferies noted that their business model was about listings, not sales, commenting: “The numbers in the business model look very attractive, however it is our view they don’t add up. With no reward for actually selling a home, all eyes are focused on winning instructions, especially if Local Property Experts want to get close to the advertised On Target Earnings.” For those of us who are not professional investors, this is an important ... Read more


Brexit: Where next for the housing market?

Brexit is now over four weeks’ past, yet the residential property market is still searching for its mojo. Since the historic vote, Theresa May was appointed PM ahead of expectations, England appointed a new football manager, and Andy Murray won Wimbledon – so some normality was resumed. However, the share prices for almost all of the leading estate agency groups fell dramatically, and Buy To Let continues to lick its wounds over changes to Stamp Duty and the forthcoming tax changes. So how do we read the runes and predict the next 12 -24 months’ ahead for UK homeowners? Blow away the media froth, and the market (outside of London) actually looks steady and predictable. Pr... Read more

First Time Buyers

Stock Levels At Record Low

The number of properties available to buy per estate agent branch has plummeted to an 11 year low according to the National Association of Estate Agents. Supply fell by a third in the last month, with 38 houses available per branch in August, compared to 55 in July. This is the lowest level of supply seen since January 2004, when the average was also 38. August also saw a dip in registered buyers with an average of 408 per member branch, compared to 462 in July – a 12 per cent drop. The number of sales completed in August rose by one to an average 10 properties per branch. But sales made to first time buyers fell to the lowest level since July 2014. One in five sales were made ... Read more


Election result fails to boost housing supply

Hopes of a boost in housing supply following the general election appear to have been misplaced. Figures from Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed the average stock of houses has continued to fall and is now 12% lower than at the start of 2015. There had been some suggestion that homeowners were waiting until the conclusion of the general election to sell their homes, but RICS figures suggest that is not the case. House prices across the country rose in May and the stock of homes per surveyor fell to the lowest level since the survey began in January 1978. Some 34% of surveyors saw a price increase during May while 19% more surveyors reported a drop in new instructions. ... Read more


Budget 2015: Osborne unveils Help to Buy ISA plans

George Osborne delivers budget in 2014 In the 2015 Budget, the Chancellor pledged that for every £200 homebuyers save for a deposit the government will top it up with £50. “It’s as simple as this – we’ll work hand-in-hand to help you buy your first home,” said Osborne. For every £200 a first-time buyer saves the government will provide a £50 bonus up to a maximum bonus of £3,000 on £12,000 of savings. The bonus will be applied to each person who has saved into the ISA at the point they use their savings to purchase their first home. Accounts are limited to one per person rather than one per home so those buying together can both receive a bonus. ... Read more

First Time Buyers

Silver Pound Threat To First Time Buyers?

Pension Freedom Day, as it has been labelled, is fast upon us – 6 April to be exact. Its impact has been the topic of much debate since George Osborne announced the reforms in his 2014 Budget statement. Tweet inShare10 The Chancellor has overhauled the system which steers savers towards purchasing an annuity by imposing a 55% rate of tax on withdrawals above the tax-free portion of 25%. Under the new rules, retirees will be taxed at the rate which applies to their income circumstances. Scottish Friendly director Neil Lovatt said that property was the most obvious investment for people drawing out their pension pot. But he warned the influx of cash-rich older borrowers to the ... Read more


Osborne scraps Stamp Duty slab structure in Autumn Statement

George Osborne will abolish the slab structure of the Stamp Duty Land Tax from midnight tonight and will replace it with new layers of tax rates which will lower the cost of buying a home for 98% of the country. inShare0 People buying homes will only pay the tax rate on the part of the property which falls within the band instead of paying it on the whole property price. For homes up to £125,000 no stamp duty is payable then; £125,001 to £250,000 – 2% £250,001 to £925,000- 5% £925,001 to £1,500,00- 10% £1,500,001 and above 12% Osborne referred to the old system as a ‘badly designed tax’ which placed the biggest burden on low and middle income families. The new... Read more


BoE set to hold off on hikes as it predicts sub-1% inflation

Bank of England policymakers expect inflation to fall below 1% over the next six months, according to the latest quarterly Inflation Report. Governor Mark Carney said it is “likely” he will have to write an open letter to Chancellor George Osborne on account of inflation falling below this level in next six months. It follows UK CPI inflation falling to five-year low of 1.2% in September. Acknowledging the near-term outlook for inflation is “materially lower” than expected in the previous report in August, Carney predicted a return to the 2% target by the very end of the forecast period. Falling commodity prices, the depreciation of sterling and the weakness... Read more