Category Archives: Buying

5 Reasons you should sell in early 2015

The festive season is upon us and the last thing you may be thinking of is selling your home. There have been many changes within the property industry this year including the mortgage approval system and more recently the stamp duty reform. With a General Election fast approaching, why should you consider selling in early 2015?

  1. Stamp Duty

As you may have read, George Osborne’s reform on the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) at the beginning of the month saw changes to the system overnight. This meant that the previous “slab” system has been replaced by the preferred sliding system.

Residential properties

Purchase price of property Rate of SDLT (percentage of portion of purchase price)
£0 – £125,000 0%
£125,001 – £250,000 2%
£250,001 – £925,000 5%
£925,001 – £1.5 million 10%
Over £1.5 million 12%

How does this work in practice?

If you were purchasing an apartment for £300,000:

  • You would pay no tax on the first £125,000
  • 2% on the next £125,000 (£2500)
  • 5% on the last £50,000 (£2500)

That’s a total of £5000 compared with £9000 under the previous system.

Many are stating that this change to the upper brackets is a political move, and if the there was to be a change in government that the revered Mansion Tax may now not be imposed. But as history dictates, you cannot predict what each political party may change or introduce once they are in power. Homes up to £937,500 will now certainly benefit from the change in Stamp Duty payable.

  1. Interest Rates

We have been blessed for some years now with low interest rates. It has been hinted for some time that these are expected to rise during 2015. Although we believe that for many homeowners it will not have a huge impact. We do predict however, that many will want to move in the early part of 2015 to tap into a lower interest rate mortgage before the rise.

  1. Mortgages

Although the nicknamed mortgage “stress test” has slowed the market in some sectors, the number of mortgage products available is on the rise. With preferred rates and deals being pushed by major lenders it has certainly been an attractive time for buyers over the later few weeks of this year. We envisage the growth of potential buyers to continue to rise in the early part of 2015. What a better time to sell your home than when buyers are a plenty and mortgages more attractive.

  1. House Prices

 The Centre for Economics and Business Research predict that house prices will dip by 0.8% by the end of 2015. They have confirmed that this is only due to a ‘levelling off’ from the rises during 2014. We predict that the early part of the year will remain strong with prices starting to slow after April and continuing for the rest of the year.

  1. Time of the Year

Although Easter to summer tends to see the most movement in the property market we believe that there will be a strong start to 2015. Homeowners have already started to approach us with the intent of listing their property at the beginning of next year. Their reasons? They too anticipate a rush of buyers seeking to move before the election. Moving before Easter will allow you to enjoy the summer months in the comfort of your new home.

Whatever 2015 may bring we look forward to helping you move.

To find out why you should use Ellis and Co Golders Green, read next: 5 Reasons why you shouldn’t list your home with Ellis and Co Golders Green

 

 

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What is happening in the London property market?

The clocks have gone back, Halloween has been and gone and the firework displays have taken place. The world famous Christmas lights are twinkling in Oxford Street and the mince pies are in the supermarkets which can only mean one thing; the festive season is fast approaching.

What the media had to report about the London property market during November

The recent strong performance of the housing market is beginning to steady and level out. The Nationwide House Price Index saw considerably weaker growth in Q3 compared to the previous quarter. Greater London continues to perform well on all measures as average prices reach £548,040, 10.7% higher than last year.

Recent interventions aimed at curbing the housing market appear to have had little impact so far as initial statistics on lending rates, transaction levels and prices do not suggest a significant slowdown.

The shortage of housing is now emerging as one of the single biggest issues facing London and how we tackle that will define the future success of the Capital.   Complex questions of where, what, how and who all have to be addressed and resolved.

When will interest rates increase?

Due to recent poor economic data and the unexpected fall in inflation; interest rates are now not expected to rise until mid-2015 at the earliest, after the General Election.

Once they begin to rise this may have a dampening effect, most specifically in the mainstream markets where the majority of purchases are dependent upon mortgages.

More supply and political uncertainty create better buying conditions

Uncertainty of any kind tends to deter buyers and make sellers, who don’t need to sell, hold off until activity picks up in the weeks and months following the UK vote.

This has traditionally been the way and it looks like history will likely repeat itself this time around. It also means that anyone holding off until May will almost certainly end up paying more for the property they end up purchasing. There will be far more buyers post-election and sellers will have the run of things in a way that they don’t have right now.

If the Conservatives stay in power there will be no threat of a Mansion tax, therefore we believe the market will very quickly return to normal.

Buyers can use the slower market and a general feeling of caution to their advantage by driving a harder bargain.

New pension rules

The pension world is about to change radically in April 2015; and a huge wall of money is predicted to hit the property market, whether owner-occupied or rental property. Already one in three people is opting for a property nest egg as opposed to a conventional pension, and the new changes mean that the property pension pot is likely to soar in popularity. Many landlords will then be able to use their pension to repay their mortgages, refurbish their properties, and buy more property. Or, this may well mean the entire property market is under-pinned by a new injection of investment that means property makes even more sense as an investment.

Interesting times are ahead for property investors who are able to spot a game-changing opportunity!

The London property market

The future remains very positive for the London property market with strong key growth drivers and the confidence of both domestic homebuyers and overseas investors.

One thing that is clear in a market that is in a period of adjustment, is the need for home sellers to use the services of a good quality, full service estate agency who combines both online and offline marketing with the knowledge and experience of an established professional team, who understand the local market and what is happening in the market place.

Here at Ellis & Co we pride ourselves on the personal and knowledgeable service we deliver to our clients. If you are considering buying a home or investment in or around Golders Green, please do get in touch.

 

Buyers – Now is the Time to Buy in Golders Green

Despite data suggesting the demand for homes may be easing; 40% of Brits would choose bricks-and-mortar over other investments

For a long time now house prices in the capital have, in the eyes of many, been going crazy, outstripping house price growth in the rest of the UK by some way. Whether you pinpoint the cause of the rise on foreign investment, Help to Buy or genuine demand, there haven’t been many signs of a slowdown for some time now. No signs until recently anyway.

In the last week of August 2014 Rightmove released figures showing that asking prices for new properties being introduced to the market were down by 5.9% in the capital and this is not an isolated event; it was actually the third month running that asking prices had fallen and it was also the biggest drop recorded in the property portal’s history and is certainly worthy of note, so why the drop?

Expectations of an interest rate rise

As much as the Bank of England have been trying to delay it, it is inevitable that a small interest rate rise will be on the way sometime early next year and most industry experts are predicting this. The possibility of a rise might not just be affecting the decision making of buyers who may be wary of overcommitting themselves or of finding that they have overpaid for a property if values were to fall after the rise. It may also be affecting the expectations of sellers as they perhaps start to worry that their chances of selling their property quickly after a rate rise may begin to diminish and the value of their property may also start to erode too.

New rules on mortgage lending

While the new rules introduced earlier this year to tighten up criteria on mortgage lending may not have had the drastic dampening effect on the market that some may have thought it would, it has certainly had some effect as borrowers are grilled more intently about their ability to repay and find that they now fall outside of the affordability criteria.

Supply is starting to catch up with demand

Supply constraints, which have contributed to rising sales prices in recent years, have eased throughout 2014. Some owners and investors have chosen to capitalise on property gains and sell, while increased choice has motivated other vendors to move. This resulted in a 26% rise in the number of properties marketed in Q2 2014 compared with Q2 2013.

Despite the above and all the alarming media hype; let’s take a deep breath and remember…

#Rule 1: Never underestimate the London property market

If there is one thing that we’ve learned over recent years regarding the London housing market, it is never to underestimate it. This is not a ‘cooling’, more of a natural correction after a period of insatiable demand.

In reality, this is good news for anyone who was worried about being able to get on (or move up) the housing ladder. House price growth is slowing, a trend which will hopefully continue and will ultimately lead to a more stable market, and on a really positive note, it means first-time buyers won’t need to constantly worry about increasing their deposit requirements.

The drop in house purchase approvals shouldn’t give too much cause for concern. Yes, the stricter regulations following the MMR could be having an impact, but it shouldn’t stop those who can comfortably afford a home from being able to buy one. The process may take slightly longer, but it’s all for a good cause; the whole point of these new rules is to ensure that the market doesn’t return to pre-crisis approaches, which saw affordability become a serious issue and many people lose their homes.

It’s anticipated that, while the overall pace of lending activity could remain more subdued than previously, approval volumes are likely to recover once the market fully adjusts and processing times quicken. The likelihood is that it will end up being a more sedate market than we’ve previously experienced, but that equates to stability, and is therefore good for all concerned.

London has always been attractive to investors for many reasons and is still considered one of the leading international cities and many investors view London property as a ‘must-have’ trophy asset.

With supply on the increase and heightened concerns about interest rate rises and the potential impact of any annual tax on higher value property, buyers are now in a much stronger position to negotiate. For opportunistic buyers, this is a potentially attractive market, particularly as vendors look to complete before the end of the year.

Current activity levels and our own day-to-day conversations suggest strongly to us that neither international nor domestic interest in property is waning significantly. This is certainly the case in Golders Green where we continue to seen buyers from any nationalities.

There may be growing pressure on income levels and on seeing interest rates rise in the coming months but overall the prognosis for the property market remains positive and now will, we are sure, be looked back on in the future as having been a good time to move.

Register with Ellis and Co Golders Green today and we will find you your perfect home tomorrow.

 

Why this autumn is predicted to be one of the busiest yet!

September always feels like a new beginning in itself. Thousands of children return to school and even though we have worked during the summer months, there is a sense of returning to normality. It is also the time that many people re-start their quest for a new home, there are already signs this is going to be a busy autumn.

One of the signs that autumn is going to be a busy period is the recent news that a few major lenders released fixed rate mortgages deals that are back below 3 per cent. This is amazing news for buyers, with some being put off by the imminent increase in interest rates together with the new ‘stress test’. The worry of not only getting a mortgage but also being able to meet their repayments has seen some light.

Mr Hollingworth of broker London and Country in the Telegraph on 5 September stated that those ‘considering a five year fixed mortgage should not hold out for a better deal.’ In affect now is the best time to buy. He continues, “The recent falling five year fixed rates that we’ve seen shows just how rapidly prices can change. Rates might get slightly better but the market leaders are looking very competitive.”

We always see an upturn in properties coming on to the market this time of year.   This year is no exception; the first week in September we have seen a particular increase in the number of buyers looking for their next home and wanting to be in before Christmas.

But we must urge all those looking to sell that is not a done deal. Staging your home for sale will not only increase your chance of selling quickly but also can have an impact on the price offered, with many well-staged homes receiving above their asking price. Home staging is so important as it creates the lifestyle of your home, and is the first impression they may see of your home on property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.

Always go with the principle that they can’t see through your cluttered rooms or unique décor. The actual fact is that the majority of potential buyers want to be able to walk into a home without having to do any work to it. Yes they may down the line wish to decorate, but they want to move into somewhere where they can feel at home straight away.

With an increase in buyers and below 3 per cent fixed rate mortgage deals, why wouldn’t you want to move before Christmas. Contact us today to arrange your free valuation and register your buying needs.

At Ellis and Co we will not only sell your home quickly we will work hard to make it as stress free as possible. Let us to do the hard work, and you can enjoy planning your new home.

 

The Perfect Sale – Is there such a thing?

When you’re selling and buying a home, you dream of the perfect sale. The sale where you can sit back relax, the process moves swiftly and then you get a call to say you have exchanged. You collect/drop off your keys on the completion date and open the door to your new beautiful home. Everything has run smoothly and you blissfully move with no stress at all.

I’m afraid to tell you that this reads like a work of fiction, as many of us know. Why?, because that from the moment an offer is accepted the majority of what happens next is completely out of your control. Not only are you at the mercy of your solicitors’ efficiency, but also that of everyone in the chain. It’s a time where stress takes hold and frustrations set in.

At Ellis and Co Golders Green our mission, and we always choose to accept it, is to be the central control of your sale. We want you to have a pleasurable experience and we work hard to make sure it happens. It is our job to do all the chasing so you don’t have to. We keep in contact with your solicitors and your seller/buyers solicitors, we chase searches, documents and faxes and keep you updated so you can focus on planning your future. Not only do we keep on top of your sale but also that of your chain to ensure that we are in the best situation to advise and keep things moving.

In effect we are trying to give you The Perfect Sale.

But what can you do to help?

It’s all about documentation and information – any small delay can have an impact on the whole chain.

  •  Identity – make sure you have all your previous address, passport and other identity documentation ready and available.
  • Mortgage – Simple, have a mortgage in place. Please do not wait until after you’ve made an offer as you could delay things for the rest of the chain and there may even be a small chance that you can’t afford the home you’re seeking.
  • Deeds and Servicing. – If you are selling your home, start sorting through your documentation and making sure you have the deeds to your home and any annual servicing documents available. You do not want to be in a mad panic one evening as they weren’t where you thought you had left them.
  • Communication – Make sure your solicitor and estate agents have your contact numbers in case they need to get in contact with you as a matter of urgency.
  • Check – If you are asked to fax any documents, always ring to check the person they are destined for has received them.
  • Double Check – Keep on top of your emails and post, ensure any documents that are to be signed and returned, are read thoroughly and returned as soon as possible.

 

Help yourself to have The Perfect Sale.

Not all Estate Agents are the same; we work hard to ensure the service we provide is over and above your expectations. We don’t just say we’re the best; we prove it to our customers every day.

Contact us today and let us help you on your journey to The Perfect Sale.

 

 

How getting a mortgage just got a little tougher

Did you know that on the 26 April 2014 the rules to getting a mortgage changed? Why? “In the past too many people got a mortgage by simply telling their lender they would have no problem repaying their debt, and that was that,” said Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). “Our new rules will hardwire common sense into mortgage lending.”

The changes do not only affect first time buyers but also those looking to re-mortgage. The main area of concern for homebuyers and owners is the “stress” test. This is a more intrusive process than we are used to which means that taking out a mortgage could take longer than before.

2009_06stresstest

The stress test has been introduced so lenders can check your ability to repay your mortgage should the interest rates rise. With mortgage rates being low for some time a dramatic rise could seriously affect some peoples ability to repay. Surely the changes are sensible and a good thing?

Stress testing will determine if you can afford the repayments with the money spare in your family budget. This means that even utilities, your cost for commuting, membership/subscriptions, cost of living, clothes, personal goods and childcare costs will all be taken into account.

How to prepare for the stress test.

It has been advised that before you apply for a mortgage that you try and pay off any outstanding debts, cancel unused and unnecessary memberships/subscriptions and cut back on spending for at least 3 months prior to applying.

CWYNFH_2377470b

Gavin Littlejohn, founder of the Money Dashboard website, says borrowers can prepare for the new regime “by properly budgeting and showing consistent behaviour of being able to live within their means”.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders suggest that prior to your meeting with the lender that you anticipate the questions that may be asked and have the relevant documentation available such as pay slips and bank statements.

The changes make seem drastic but I am sure you will agree it’s better to go through a stress test than risk loosing your home.

Contact James Ryan today about where to get the best advise on the new mortgage rules on 020 8455 1014.

 

11 Non Emotional Tips for Buying a Home

Buying a home is romantic, we think with our heart and our emotions often play a critical part in the choice. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with emotions but buying a home should also be about the practical elements. This is the part that is described as ‘buying with your head’. Buying with your head takes away your wants and dreams and starts looking at the nitty gritty side to the property. No matter how beautiful the home is, it’s the practical elements that will ensure you don’t just lust but love your new home. Here are our 11 non-emotional tips for buying a home.

  1. Finances

It maybe a very easy tip, but only buy what you can afford. You will be surprised by the number of people who search for property on what they ‘believe’ they can afford, rather than what they can ‘actually’ afford. Before you start your search seek advice on what mortgage you are able to achieve, also get an idea of the monthly repayments, as it’s this figure that is the most important. Calculate the monthly repayments into your monthly finances; will you be able to live?

  1. Searching

The majority of people start their property search online, tempted by the property portals and the abundance of property at their finger-tips. Don’t discount the importance of your local estate agents. We can ensure you get to see property before it hit’s the portals, keeping one step ahead of other potential buyers.

  1. Shortlisting

One thing we see quite often is buyers trying to match a property to meet a long list of criteria. Try and create a top three list of requirements and be open-minded. At Ellis and Co Golders Green we like to chat to buyers and find out what they are looking for in a property. We want you to trust our judgment, and show you things outside your comfort zone, you will be surprised by the number of buyers who go for the wildcard.

  1. What to view

You have a shortlist but what to view? Go and see as many properties as you can. This will give you a feel of the market with regards to size and price. It is great to look at properties first online, but only when you physically walk into a property can you really get a sense of the space.

  1. Viewing

We have a motto for viewings ‘honesty is the best policy’. When you are viewing with your head and with your heart, tell the agent exactly what you think. You are not hurting people’s feelings but giving us, the agent, an invaluable insight into the type of property you are looking for.

  1. Questions

Please ask questions, we expect them. You will have questions about the street, neighborhood, the property, the services etc. ask away. You don’t want to leave and think ‘I wish I had asked’, yes we have all done it. If you forget to ask something, please feel free to contact the office, we will be more than happy to help.

  1. Buying a character property

A character home is all about emotions. You fall for the period features, the irregular shapes and the unusual details. But put those emotions in a box right now. Buying a character property is buying a piece of history and as such can be costly. Can you afford the maintenance this property will need? Have you got the time to do it? Yes we know, questions you don’t want to be asking yourself when viewing a beautiful home, but you do not want to be left with a huge bill you can’t afford a year or two down the line.

  1. Buying a newer property

One of the great things about buying a newer property is that the maintenance is considerably lower than a character property. Newer properties can have extras like an en-suite but their room sizes are often smaller than character properties and storage space is poor.

  1. Buying off plan

Buying off plan is exciting; you get to choose all the finishing touches, the style of kitchen, the colour of the carpets. But what will your property actually look like, and can you honestly get a feel for the size of the rooms? We would recommend visiting a show home, even if it’s on a different site, to not only understand the space but to see the quality of finish.

10.      Making an Offer

We all love a bargain and buyers are getting more confident in putting offers. Do your homework. What have property in that area sold for in the past? If you are one of several people interested in a property you want to make an offer that is fair, competitive and attractive.

11.      Emotion

Whoops! Our number 11 tip is to include emotion. We all have gut feelings when we walk into a property, and emotions play a critical part when buying a home. Home viewings should also be from the heart so enjoy each viewing; you will know when you have found the right home.

Thinking about buying a home or moving?  Register with us today and let your buying journey begin.

Call James Ryan on 0208 457 5590