Posts filed under ‘Agent features’
Important Update: 29/09/2013
The second phase of the Help to Buy scheme is now being launched three months earlier than originally planned. For the most recent Help to Buy information please click here and see our most recent articles.
Original article below:
There appears to be a fair amount of mixed opinion about the Government’s Help to Buy initiative, the second phase of which is due to be launched in January 2014, writes Kerry Butters of Hunters Estate Agents.
Some critics feel the scheme will push up property prices so much it will cause a ‘bubble’, while George Osborne maintains this won’t happen due to strict rules when it comes to borrowing.
There’s little doubt that the first phase of Help to Buy has already had an effect on the market, with Taylor Wimpey reporting record order levels for the first half of the year. While the builder only sold 5,191 homes in the first three months of the year – a 2 per cent rise on 2012 – orders increased by a massive 42 per cent, boosting profits by £1.3bn.
How does the scheme work? It allows home buyers to purchase a property with just a 5 per cent deposit, with an additional 20 per cent being supplied in the form of an equity loan from the government. The additional 75 per cent is then borrowed via a mortgage.
Help to Buy is intended to strengthen the economy by allowing families who would otherwise have to find a 20 per cent deposit to get on the housing ladder.
Rising house prices have led to concerns about Help to Buy creating a bubble that will lead to a crash. But the Council of Mortgage Lenders says improvements in the cost and availability of mortgage credit are underpinning a meaningful recovery in the housing market. It claims that we have seen the strongest performance for mortgage lending since 2008.
However, it adds that while the pace of first-time buyer activity is approaching a quarter of a million per annum, this is still barely half of activity rates a decade earlier, and so far below what might be considered normal levels.
It would suggest there’s a long way to go before we have to worry about the bubble bursting, despite a reported 8 per cent rise in the cost of homes, the fastest in three years. This is according to Taylor Wimpey and supported by figures from the Halifax.
Anyone purchasing a home is eligible, subject to credit status and if the property isn’t one a second home, shared ownership (housing association scheme or similar) or more than £600,000.
There’s no upper income limit and it applies to new and existing properties, so is open to those selling their home as well. The second phase is also known as the mortgage guarantee scheme and the guarantee is not made to the buyer, but the lender.
How long does the scheme run for? It’s set to run until 2017, although there are concerns this won’t be enough time or incentive to overcome the current UK housing shortage in some areas of the country.
The Government must place a real focus on new homes, so that demand doesn’t outstrip supply. The first phase of Help to Buy addresses this as only new homes are eligible for the scheme.
“The mortgage market is open for business, and it is clear that government support has helped to create more favourable market conditions for home-buyers. Lenders, whether they choose to participate in the guarantee scheme or stay outside, will continue to do their utmost to meet households’ needs for mortgages, but always in a way that is responsible,” said CML director general Paul Smee.
Some experts have expressed the opinion that as the first phase of the scheme was proving successful in increasing lending to first-time-buyers, the second isn’t really necessary. This is especially the case as phase one has been proven to be a model that’s enjoying success in boosting new builds, while the second phase will encourage existing owners to ‘cheat’ when moving up the property ladder by getting cheaper finance.
In all, Help to Buy appears to be having a positive effect on both the housing market and first-time-buyers. Despite the criticism, the Government is firmly committed to the scheme now and has managed to get the market moving again.
For those interested in Help to Buy, it could represent the only real chance they have of getting a foot on the ladder. Bearing that in mind, will negative reports from the media have any impact on the success of the scheme? I doubt it, especially since it’s seen such a positive impact on the industry so far.
Kerry Butters writes for Hunters Estate Agents.
We’ve got some great news! We can now offer our member agents even greater exposure and wider distribution of their listings across the web with new, exclusive marketing partnerships with two of the UK’s largest websites, eBay and Gumtree.
There will be no additional charge to our member agents for the added exposure under these new partnerships and these partners join a list of other leading UK websites that currently partner with Zoopla.co.uk, including MSN, Yahoo, TalkTalk, Sky, Virgin Media, UpMyStreet and Guardian. So, this means agents listing on Zoopla.co.uk now have the opportunity of being seen by over 73% of all UK website users monthly, a far higher figure than any other portal.
The new partnerships involve brand new, dedicated ‘agent listing’ channels on both the eBay and Gumtree websites. In the case of the eBay channel, this will include all the latest ‘for sale’ and ‘to let’ listings and in the case of Gumtree only the latest ‘for sale’ listings will appear.
The partnerships will operate in exactly the same way as our other existing Zoopla.co.uk partnerships. Enquiries will come through to our agents as Zoopla-branded emails or ‘redirect’ phone calls in the usual way.
Both partnerships are now live although it may take a week or so to fully ramp up, with new ‘estate agent only’ listing categories on the partner sites.
Here are links to the new partnerships:
The full press release can be found here
More information about Zoopla.co.uk for agents
To celebrate a year of Google Street View, Google asked the nation to vote for what they thought were the most picturesque streets in Britain.
Google’s criteria for street-selection stated that:
“The winning street should be uniquely British and visually charming. It could be vibrant, full of character, diverse, walker-friendly or architecturally interesting.”
…and Ed Parsons from Google said:
“The Google Street View Awards are aimed to celebrate the many fantastic streets that Britain has to offer, and the results reveal a diverse cultural landscape of food, fashion and beauty that puts the winning towns firmly on the map.”
More than 11,000 people voted for their favourites after the streets were short-listed by a panel of experts.
The top three streets, in order were:
Google Street View Most Picturesque Street Shortlist 2010
|Street||Area||Average Value March 2010|
|High Street||Chipping Campden||£683,525|
|New College Lane||Oxford||£337,413|
|Brunswick Square||Brighton and Hove||£274,315|
|Main Street||Isle of Mull||£146,835|