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Should you still be investing in Stratford Buy To Let?

If I were a buy to let landlord in Stratford today, I might feel a little bruised by the assault made on my wallet after being (and will continue to be) ransacked over the last 12 months by HM Treasury’s tax changes to buy to let. To add insult to insult to injury, Brexit has caused a tempering of the Stratford property market with property prices not increasing by the levels we have seen in the last few years. I think we might even see a very slight drop in property prices this year, and if Stratford property prices do drop, the downside to that is first time buyers could be attracted back into the Stratford property market, meaning less demand for renting (meaning rents will go down). Yet, before we all run for the hills, all these things could be serendipitous to every Stratford landlord, almost a blessing in disguise.

Stratford (E15) has a population of 51,490, so when I looked at the number of people who lived in private rented accommodation, the numbers astounded me …

 

Yields will rise if Stratford property prices fall, which will also make it easier to obtain a buy to let mortgage, as the income would cover more of the interest cost. If property values were to level off or come down that could help Stratford landlords add to their portfolio. Rental demand in Stratford is expected to stay solid and may even see an improvement if uncertainty is protracted. However, there is something even more important that Stratford landlords should be aware of, the change in the anthropological nature of these 20 something potential Stratford first time buyers.

I have just come back from a visit to my wife’s relations after a family get together. I got chatting with my wife’s nephew and his partner.  Both are in their mid/late twenties, both have decent jobs in Stratford and they rent. Yet, here was the bombshell, they were planning to rent for the foreseeable future with no plans to even save for a deposit, let alone buy a property. I enquired why they weren’t planning to buy? The answers surprised me as a 40 something, and it will you. Firstly, they dont want to put cash into property, they would rather spend it on living and socialising by going on nice holidays and buying the latest tech and gadgets. They wanted flexibility to live where they choose and finally, they didn’t like the idea of paying for repairs. All their friend’s feel the same. I was quite taken aback, because buying a house is just not top of the list for these youngsters.

So, as 39.9% of Stratford people are in the rented accommodation and as that figure is set to grow over the next decade, now might just be a good time to buy property in Stratford – because what else are you going to invest in?  Give your money to the stock market run by sharp suited city whiz kids – because at least with property – it’s something you can touch- there is nothing like bricks and mortar!

 

 

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If you haven’t ever heard of Japanese Knotweed, the Environment Agency describe it as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive and destructive plant”

Growing up to an inch a day, Knotweed has the ability to mature rapidly across a large surface area, with the slightest trace causing continuing problems.

Japanese Knotweed (or Fallopia Japonica) is a large, invasive plant species which finds its way into the fabric of a building, e.g. joints in concrete, cavity walls, weaknesses in broken mortar between paving slabs or bricks, and in severe circumstances, can cause major structural damage to properties.

In a landmark legal case, Network Rail is now facing compensation claims after they ignored pleas by residents to remove the Japanese Knotweed growing on its land after it encroached on to their homes.

Neighbours Robin Waistell and Stephen Williams saw the value of their homes halved after the weed spread into the foundations which resulted in Mr Waistell unable to sell his house. It is virtually impossible to secure finance on land or property with Japanese Knotweed on or adjacent to it as UK banks and lending institutions will not give mortgages on properties affected by knotweed.

After a four-day hearing at Cardiff County Court, the rail giant was ordered to pay £4,320 to each of the men to treat the knotweed and £10,000 each in compensation for the fall in value of their homes. The judge added that if the knotweed was not treated, they could also claim for the full drop in value, a substantial £66,000.

So, what advice can you give to your customers on how best to spot and tackle Japanese Knotweed?

Knotweed is often identified during site surveys. Whilst it may look small and contained, do not underestimate the scale of the potential problem; the plant can grow up to nine feet in height and roots up to three metres deep. It is important to have the plant treated as soon as possible to avoid further growth and prevent the property sale from falling through.

Financially, eradication of Japanese Knotweed can become costly if left untreated.

Source: http://www.naea.co.uk/

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The latest survey from home services marketplace, has revealed that a new kitchen is the most effective home improvement for influencing a potential buyer’s final decision as well as their offer.

According to the data, when looking to buy a new property, 47% of potential homeowners would be influenced by it having a recently fitted kitchen. 28% would also be more likely to offer a higher price for this feature. Having a new bathroom also has a strong influence on home buyers; 46% would consider this when deciding whether to buy and 27% would potentially be willing to offer more money.

The order of rankings then somewhat divides. Looking at home improvements affecting the final decision to buy, new windows (45%) ranks third, followed by a new boiler (43%), a new extension (34%) and new loft insulation (33%). At the other end of the table, 31% of home buyers claimed that a new conservatory would affect their decision to buy. New garden landscaping (29%) follows this and new lighting (23%) sits at the bottom of the table.

It’s interesting when this order is compared to how home improvements affect the buyer’s decision to offer a higher price. New extensions climbs the rankings to take 3rd with 26%, whilst a new conservatory is also ranked highly with 23% of home buyers feeling this warrants a higher price. Extensions to the property clearly have a stronger influence on the offer than the decision to buy for potential buyers.

Stephen Jury, spokesperson for Plentific, said: “Many property buyers keep an eye out for particular home renovations when searching for their next home. It goes without saying that costly renovations are high on the wish list for most buyers. These can add significant value to a property and incentive buyers to offer a higher price. If a seller is looking to get a better offer, our insight could provide useful guidance on which home improvements to invest in.”

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/kitchen-is-king-when-it-comes-to-influencing-potential-buyers.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-194723-Campaign+-+24%2F02%2F2017+SHAW 

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It’s quick and simple! Get your free instant valuation in minutes with no appointment, no day off work and no time wasted!

Our online valuations are estimated based on information available via the public Land Registry data and should therefore be used as guidance only. This valuation does not take into consideration the current condition of the property or any improvements made since its last sale. Valuations for properties that were last sold before January 1995 will have an estimation based on neighboring sales. Click here for your free instant valuation!

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Kicking off 2017, we’ve predicted stabilisation in the property market with sustainable growth and high demand. Whether you’re looking to take advantage of the abundance of hungry buyers by putting your property on the market, or simply want to make your house feel more like a home; we’ve put together a series of interior design blogs, full of tips and trends to help you show your property in its best light.

This month, we’ve teamed up with Sophie Stevens, Founder of SGS Architectural Interiors to get her insight into arguably the biggest trend to watch out for in 2017; the return of green:

New year, new beginnings, and a welcome return of green to the interior palette. Traditionally associated with hope and optimism, the trend for integrating green surface finishes or foliage within our homes will come as a much sought after distinction to fast-paced urban lifestyles.

In contrast to the original toxic manufacture of green, blending arsenic and Verdigris, we now associate green with calmness and well being. Letting the outside in has become increasingly popular within our workspaces and architecture, highlighted by a surge in the use of feature living walls and hanging plants.

Progressive and versatile, greens can be combined with a plethora of on-trend shades, such as blush pink or warm ochre tones to achieve an infinite array of styles. It can be used to add warmth and disparity to man-made finishes such as concrete or metal, while still complementing natural materials such as marble, raw timbers and leather.

For something small, adding a splash of green to any monochromatic interior will add an allure of contemporary, refreshing vibrance to a traditional palette. An air of opulence and luxury can be attained in any design with the simple addition of a deep green velvet sofa or chair.

For the brave, embracing the resurgence of colour and pattern in our homes, green can be paired with jewel tones for a rich and lavish complex colour palette to stimulate creativity.

However small, the addition of green is sure to revitalize your home for 2017.

 

Source: https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/sponsored-content/2017/1/interior-design-trends-to-expect-in-2017-back-to-green 

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Winter is coming. Snow blizzards and plummeting temperatures are predicted for the UK so it’s important to consider ways of keeping your home warm without it costing a fortune in heating bills.

Here, seven industry experts from the Heating Installer Awards share their advice on how to do just that, and why using your trusted, local tradesman is key.

ake back control

Chris Ingram, Managing Director, Continental Underfloor, says: “Have you considered changing how you control the temperature in your home? Many homes across the UK have outdated thermostats, such as dials; installing a more modern, programmable tool will generally mean you can run the system for less time for the same level of comfort. You should also consider smart controls. Compatible with most standard gas-fired boilers, smart controls allow you to set your heating from your mobile phone, putting the power of heating back in your hands!”

Choose smart when it comes to taps

Mike Johnson, Taps and Mixers Manager, Pegler Yorkshire, suggests: “Water-saving taps can help you control the amount of water you’re using in the home and therefore save you money and energy. As the tools in our homes become ever smarter, look out for taps that monitor water flow and have auto on/off functions that sense when your hands enter and leave the sink. This way, you can be sure you’re wasting barely any water at all, saving you pounds on your bills.

Think about your valves

Gareth Ash, Marketing Services Manager, Danfoss, offers this advice: “A Room Thermostat and Thermostatic Radiator Valves – or TRVs – are proven to help householders cut their fuel bills by up to 40%. Research from Salford University’s Energy House showed that even if a home’s heating system is properly balanced, optimum energy savings can’t be achieved without TRVs being put in place. If you struggle to get your head around smart controls, TRVs are a simple-to-use and cost effective way of keeping your house comfortable and warm, while also reducing the spend on your energy bills. Ask your local installer to introduce you to their range of heating controls, and you could soon see a drop in your energy use!”

Keep corrosion in check

Daniel Cheung, UK Trade Marketing Manager, Sentinel, had this to say: “High quality chemical inhibitors, like Sentinel’s X100 Inhibitor, will permanently protect boilers and heating system components from corrosion and limescale (when dosed into clean systems). Issues such as small leaks and poor system design will lower inhibitor levels, leaving the system vulnerable to premature repairs, parts replacements and even breakdown, which can be costly. For complete peace of mind that your heating system is fully protected, ask your local installer to perform a Sentinel X100 Quick Test (kit available from leading plumbing and heating merchants) once a year. Easy, fast and cheap, the kit will check your inhibitor levels. If they are low, simply top-up! ”

ASHPS? Ready to do the biz…

Kamlesh Vadukul, Sales Manager, Heating Solutions, LG, comments: “Air source heat pumps have become an accepted technology for providing renewable heating in the UK. In modern homes with several bathrooms, it’s common to see heating demand halved and hot water demand tripled – so high temperature air source heat pumps are ideal in this scenario. LG offers its Therma V High Temperature heat pump which can deliver hot water at up to 80 degrees C. Head to partner.lge.com/uk for details.”

Government funding

Steve Keeton, Marketing and Technologies Director, Vaillant, advises: “37 per cent of landlords for rented properties and social housing say addressing fuel poverty and reducing fuel bills for tenants are their key drivers when thinking about new heating installations. If you want to discuss energy saving methods with your landlord, mention the opportunity of them securing government funding to help solve this challenge. According to research, funding support remains the biggest barrier to improving heating in social housing homes, however there are a number of schemes available which might help your landlord make living conditions for you and community warmer and more comfortable.”

Bust the myths

Ian Kenny, Marketing Director at Graham the Plumbers’ Merchant, said: “According to leading energy experts at the Energy Saving Trust, as well as British Gas, the idea that it’s cheaper to leave the heating on low all day is a myth. They’re clear that you’ll save energy, and therefore money, by only having the heating on when it’s required. Thinking about your whole-house heating solution is the best way to approach energy efficiency, however, as the heating market continues to evolve, keep in touch with your trusted, local installer to find out about new products and best practice which can help ramp up those energy savings.”

 

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/household/top-tips-on-keeping-your-home-warm-for-less.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-190224-Campaign+-+27%2F01%2F2017+SHAW 

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When it comes to selling your home, preparation and doing your homework will help to make the task run smoothly. As well as the time and effort it takes to get your home ready for viewing – in terms of giving it that easily achievable ‘show home feel’ – there are also a number of legal and financial considerations.

Harrison Murray Estate Agency and Nottingham Estate Agency (both part of The Nottingham), have a few tips when it comes to getting your property sale-ready – from de-cluttering, conveyancing, arranging a mortgage and everything in between.

 

Su Snaith, Head of estate agency, said: “When people think about preparing their house for sale, they often think about the physical aspects such as DIY and decorating to attract potential buyers, in efforts to accelerate the time taken to receive an offer. However, very few think about legally preparing their house for sale.

As part of The Nottingham we can help provide a one-stop shop when it comes to legally and financially preparing customers for, and guiding them through, the house selling process.”

Top tips:

Once you are certain you want to move – and are emotionally and financially ready – choose your agent wisely. Instruct an agent with a good reputation whom you feel will market your home to the best of their ability, and who is a member of the Property Ombudsman Scheme and the Office of Fair Trading.

Step back and look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. Make the most of your space, make sure the house is clean and tidy; focusing on de-cluttering, giving windows and doors a lick of paint if needed, and pay some attention to your outdoor space; cutting the lawn and getting rid of unsightly weeds.

Be sure to highlight, and pass on to your agent, details of any outstanding features that first attracted you to the home. Your agent will work this information into the property details. This could include such things as an under-the-stairs storage space or a dedicated outdoor dining area.

There are many legal points to consider, but being well prepared may help to speed up the process, from viewings to the eventual sale.

Draw up an inventory of items that you are including or not including in the sale of the house, for example curtain poles and light fittings, to avoid confusion later down the line.

Gather any documents you have that relate to the property, no matter how trivial you think they are. Buyers will expect to see all documents and by not providing them, it could result in delays. For example, windows installed after 1 April 2002 need FENSA certificates, and any remedial works should have associated guarantees.

In addition, building work that has been carried out on the property will result in you needing to produce building regulations and planning permissions, as well as the relevant completion certificate for the work. By law, an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), giving information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, needs to be provided. Your estate agent can arrange this.

Conveyancing – this is the last legal hurdle. Put simply, it is the act of legally transferring a property from one person to another and has, by law, to be carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer. Harrison Murray and Nottingham Estate Agency’s conveyancing solicitors can open the file at the start of the marketing process and prepare all the necessary documentation to reduce the time from offer to exchange – as the longer the process takes, the more likely the sale may fall through.

A move to a new home may take its toll financially, but it may be wise to think about home insurance, finding the right mortgage and future financial planning.

 

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/top-tips-to-get-your-house-sale-ready.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-190224-Campaign+-+27%2F01%2F2017+SHAW 

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Landlords typically paid £310,265 for an investment property in 2016, £35,000 more than £275,286 in 2015, research from The Mortgage Broker shows.

In the process they borrowed £15,000 more, with typical loan sizes reaching £185,188, and deposits rose by nearly £20,000 to £125,016 in 2016.

Darren Pescod, managing director of The Mortgage Broker, said: “Landlords are certainly feeling the pinch, but the raft of tax changes that came into force in 2016, do not appear to have dampened the buy-to-let market.

 

More landlords converting properties into HMOs

“In many towns and cities, landlords have increased their investment in buy-to-let property, despite the financial challenges that have been recently thrown at them by the government.

“Our research shows that landlords are finding larger deposits and increasing their borrowing to secure property.  With mortgage interest rates so low and the demand for rental property booming, the market still provides a great investment opportunity.”

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), gross buy-to-let lending in November was the highest since the stamp duty changes on second properties were introduced last April.

 

Landlords borrowed £3.2bn in November 2016, up 10% month-on-month but down 9% year-on-year.

Pescot expects larger landlords to become the norm and smaller ones to pull out of the market.

He added: “Though the stamp duty additional levy and income tax changes that come into force in this tax year have slowed down this sector it terms of the number of applicants applying for new buy-to let mortgages.

“This may lead to some consolidation with larger landlords, scooping up rental opportunities in their local area and beyond.

“Our view is that smaller landlords with fewer than three properties may find it financially tough and will pull out of the market.”

 

Source: http://www.mortgageintroducer.com/landlords-pay-35000-properties-2016/#.WIcbutKLTcu

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Accord Mortgages has anounced this morning that it has reduced rates on a range of selected fixed rate products by up to 0.24%.

The intermediary-only lender has reduced rates at the 75%, 80%, 85% and 90% loan-to-values (LTVs), across two, three and five year terms.

Available to house purchase customers is a competitive five-year fixed rate mortgage at 2.20% for those with a 20% deposit, or at 85% LTV there is a 2.39% deal.

Both mortgages include the additional features of £250 cash back on completion and free standard valuation and come with a £995 product fee.

Those who want to fix for a shorter period can opt for a three-year offering at 2.37% at 90% LTV, which is available to both buyers and borrowers looking to remortgage and comes with a £995 product fee.

In addition, Accord has launched a 2.76% three-year fix at 90% LTV option for home buyers which comes with no up-front fees plus £250 cashback on completion and free standard valuation.

David Robinson, Accord’s National Intermediary Sales Manager, said: “We are sure the new rates will prove attractive to brokers and borrowers, and we are keen to offer mortgages that deliver value for money to our customers with features like cashback on completion. The five-year rate reductions will appeal to borrowers looking for the security of fixing their mortgage repayments to a competitive rate for a longer period.”

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/finance/accord-announces-reductions-across-s3lected-fixed-rate-products.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-189496-Campaign+-+23%2F01%2F2017+SLR 

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The latest report from Halifax has shown that more first-time buyers climbed on to the property ladder in 2016 than in any year since 2007.

However, it comes at a cost as the lender revealed would-be home owners now need to raise more than £32,000 for a deposit.

Deposit sizes have more than doubled over the last decade. In 2006, the average first-time buyer deposit across the UK was £15,168. Now it is £32,321 – around 16% of the price of a typical first home.

According to the report, those buying their first property can expect to pay more than £200,000 across the UK generally and an “eye-watering” £400,000 in London. On average, in the capital, a first-time buyer’s deposit is more than £100,000, assuming they can also cover moving costs and stamp duty.

First-time buyers in London put down a 25% deposit on average in 2016, amounting to £100,445.

Halifax also revealed that during 2016, the average house price paid by first-time buyers was £205,170 – the highest on record. This average has grown by 7% over the last year, pushing it over the £200,000 mark.

In London, first-time buyers can expect to pay £402,692.

The number of first-time buyers is estimated to have reached 335,750 in 2016. This is the highest figure since 359,900 in 2007, and marks the third year in a row that the number has topped 300,000.

Halifax said the number of first-time buyers in 2016 was 75% higher than a low point in 2009, but 17% below a pre-crisis peak of 402,800 in 2006.

As the cost of housing has increased, first-time buyers have been taking out longer mortgages. In 2006, just over a third (36%) had mortgages lasting beyond the traditional 25-year period. In 2016, 60% of mortgages were for 25 years or more.

More aspiring first-time buyers are also having to factor stamp duty into their costs. Less than a third (29%) of first-time purchases in 2016 were below the £125,000 stamp duty threshold. This share was 45% in 2013.

The average age of a first-time buyer is 30, ranging from 27 in Carlisle in Cumbria and Torfaen in South Wales to 34 in places such as Slough in Berkshire and the London boroughs of Barnet and Ealing.

   Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said record low mortgage rates, high employment levels and Government schemes such as Help to Buy have helped first-time buyers. The UK-wide Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme ended in 2016, but other schemes are still available.

   He added: “Across the regions there is a contrasting picture. In London – which has one of the youngest populations in the UK – the average house price for a typical first-time buyer is now more than an eye-watering £400,000 with an average deposit of over £100,000 – more than twice that in the South East, the next most expensive region.”

   Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: ’The Halifax’s findings are good news in terms of the increase in number of first-time buyers but are also indicative as to what parents and grandparents put themselves through so that they can afford those deposits – with more than £100,000 required in London.

If the housing market is going to function properly, as the government has told us so many times it should, then we need to protect first-time buyers. First-time buyers are the life blood of the market as they tend to buy at the bottom and trade up whereas investors buy at one level and stay there.

Although lenders are supposed to be providing support via Help to Buy now that the mortgage guarantee element has been withdrawn, on the ground we are finding it is not happening in all cases and more flexibility on lending criteria at higher loan-to-values is required.’

Source: http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/ftbs-at-10-year-high.html?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=21136-188156-Campaign+-+13%2F01%2F2017+MC
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