Posted on

ARE PAYMENT HOLIDAYS GOING TO BE EXTENDED FURTHER?

There are reports that the chancellor Rishi Sunak is currently working with the FCA and industry to help put further processes in place to extend mortgage payment holidays. These will apply to all those people who are still in financial difficulty because of the Coronavirus. Although a decision has not been made yet reports suggest the are looking at ways to continue support when it runs out at the end of June.

However, the importance of explaining the consequences of taking a payment holiday must by marked out in black and white according to a number of experts.

Martin Lewis ‘The Money Saving Expert’ explained last week ‘The FCA has confirmed, sadly, that while credit files shouldn’t be impacted by mortgage or other payment holidays, lenders are still allowed to take them into account when making their acceptance decisions.’

“It’s impossible to say yet how widespread this will be or how substantial the impact will be we’ll start to learn that over the next year. 

“Each lender’s assessment process is different, it’s a dark art that’s hidden from the public and never published, so this is likely to be yet another factor applicant’s will need to navigate.”

However, for a large percentage of people they have no option, due to the financial impact covid-19 has had on their personal circumstances and Mr Lewis did state that you should take the holiday if it is imperative due to cash flow reasons.

In regards to extending payment holidays the general consensus is that given the huge impact and downturn on the economy a further extension seems very sensible.

But there is no doubt this cannot go on forever and the government will need to devise a clear and dynamic strategy on how to bring this to a close.

If you were unaware of the option to take a payment holiday on your mortgage account, loans or any credit cards contact the respective lenders website. There you will find the relevant information on how to apply for the payment break.

Posted on

THEY ARE CALLING IT THE CORONA-COASTER

The new name given to the property industry is the ‘Corona Coaster’. The first set of figures have been released relating to property transactions in the UK since lockdown. There were just 55,381 residential sales completed in March with a huge number of solicitors confirming they did not complete one sale. In contrast to January where there were over 100,000 sales completed, a 4 year high. Just looking at these two figures you can see where the name ‘corona coaster’ has come from.  

Further statistics confirm that each conveyancer completed on average 15 transactions each in March, the lowest since 2013.

However, when you look at the whole first quarter of 2020 a 5% increase is evident with over 235,000 sales completed. However, it will be interesting to see how quarter two pans out given the industry has returned to some form of normality.

Since the market re-opened last Wednesday Rightmove have reported some positive numbers as far as interest is concerned with a high percentage of these been first-time-buyers. However, many experts predict that these first time-buyers might be slightly disappointed as the reductions and discounts they are hoping may not be there.

The property portal Rightmove released date illustrating that 60% of first-time buyers postponed their plans to buy a new property. However, now lockdown on the market has slightly relaxed these first-time buyers have decided now is the time to book a viewing. Because of this influx there isn’t any early indication that property prices are going down as there is plenty of demand. These thoughts were backed up by Rightmove as their data indicates that asking prices are up 2%.  The question is how long will this last for? Is it just a honeymoon period or a backlog given in reality the market has been closed for nearly 8 weeks?

Therefore, the clever tactic for some who aren’t in a rush might be to wait whilst things pan out as that deal maybe there it might just be a waiting game until the honeymoon period is over. On the other hand there will be obviously those sellers who need to sell fast for whatever reason so if you are looking for a bargain it maybe worthwhile calling a few agents to see if they have a vendor who are in a personal situation where they need a quick sale.

But it’s pretty obvious and the property market as many other markets comes down to the basic economics of supply and demand. Whilst there is plenty of demand which at the moment there seems to be you if you are wanting to make an offer on a property you may need to pay the asking price or if not very close to it.

Posted on

CAN I NOW VIEW A PROPERTY AND MOVE HOUSE?

It goes without saying there is a high level of uncertainty at the moment with more grey areas than ever and this includes the property industry.

We are receiving a high level of calls for clarity on what house sellers and buyers can and can’t do.

On Wednesday it was clarified by the government that estate agents were formally allowed to return to work with the respect of social distancing and strict hygiene measures. Along with estate agent’s construction workers were also advised they could start their engines with the intentions of kick starting the property market.

So, I suppose the first question is

CAN I VIEW A PROPERTY?

During lockdown physical viewings on properties were not permitted, however many estate agents were offering virtual viewings by using apps such as WhatsApp and Facetime in the form of a video call. Since the slight relaxation by the government it is now possible to attend a physical viewing of a property, which has to be good news for everyone. However, it goes without saying that social distancing measures have to be respected by all parties. Furthermore, the government have advised sellers to ensure all external, internal and cupboard doors are open prior to the viewing, which will avoid contact between viewer and fixtures within your property. One thing the government has said is that only one viewing at a time, so open houses are a no no, there should also be a good sized gap in between each viewing.

CAN I NOW MOVE HOUSE?

You may have agreed to sell your property and completed the legal process prior to the lockdown or even during lockdown but due to the restrictions have been unable to move out of your house and into your new home. Good news, if all parties in your chain feel comfortable about completing the transaction and moving you can. However, again it goes without saying that this has to be done with the respect of social distancing and a thorough deep clean of the property you move into is advised. Another recommendation would be to try and move yourself without using a removal company but if this is not possible ensure you use a company who has the right measures in place.

UPDATE ON EXISTING TRANSACTIONS

Prior to lockdown there were 1000’s of people who had agreed to sell their property but due to a number of reasons their house sale stalled. This week we have seen valuers/surveyors return to their job of work. The Land Registry have started to complete applications and a number of solicitor practices have asked their employees to return to work. All of this should help those transactions which had hit a brick wall so if you were one of these people I would expect you to see progress on your sale/purchase shortly.

HOW HAS THE INDUSTRY REACTED SINCE THE OPENING OF THE PROPERTY INDUSTRY

Figures don’t lie and the property portal Rightmove stated its website experienced a 45% jump in traffic to the site following the formal re-opening of estate agencies across the Country.  Another interested statistic was enquiries about viewings had increased by 70% and there were 2,115 new properties listed in the first 5 hours of trading. This is really positive for everyone who is thinking about selling their property.

Posted on

LENDERS START TO RE-ENTER THE MARKET

In the last week a number of main-stream lenders have launched more products to the market which offer more generous terms, making it easier to get a home loan.

This is excellent news for the whole economy and should give the industry a huge boost. At the start of the month all lenders had pulled a large percentage of their products only offering mortgages to people with large deposits.

One example of a change made recently to the market is Halifax have resumed loans at 85% Loan to value where is was previously 80%.

In fairness to all the lenders it is quite impressive they have loosened things so quickly given how busy they were at the start of lockdown supporting all their customers with payment holidays.

During lockdown lenders have still been issuing mortgage offers even though their valuers have not been able to attend the respective property. To overcome this they have had to rely on their systems and information available on the internet by carrying out what they call a ‘desktop valuation’. Granted it took a few days for lenders to put these processes in place furthermore the underwriting has been a lot stricter and generally only been available with applicants with a significant deposit.

A huge amount of people will have held off from applying for a mortgage, whether a re-mortgage or purchase mortgage is required. If you are one of these people, now might be the perfect time to at least speak to someone, so why not give us a call on 03333 232 199? One of our in house mortgage brokers will offer you free mortgage advice and source you the best product to suit your circumstances.

Although certain economists predict we are facing recession fixed rate mortgages continue to be at an all-time low, with the base rate been nearly 0%. However, many experts predict its only a matter of time before interest rates start to rise, mainly because of the crisis the economy may face due to covid-19.  

Posted on

CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES TO CONTROL VIEWINGS, AND SDLT HOLIDAYS

There has recently been a campaign launched asking the government to introduce what has been described as a ‘Property Sector Support Package’. The aim of the package is to kick start the property market since lock down.

The main points detailed in this campaign are

  1. Contactless viewings
  2. A loan of £1,500 for buyer who complete a purchase
  3. A SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) Holiday

The campaign identifies all the following measure will be adhered to with regards to contactless viewings, ensuring people are protected from coming into contact with people.

  1. Back to Back viewings will not take place
  2. Viewings will not take place in a property where one of the residents have symptoms of covid-19
  3. Viewers will wait in their cars until they are told they can enter the property
  4. All vendors will ensure all cupboards are open, lights on, and no direct contact is made with anyone hosting or attending the viewing

The document then goes onto explain what the government could also consider to kick-start the market, these are

  1. A six-month holiday break on all SDLT transactions and any other tax’s involved in a residential property transaction. This element would have a huge effect on the market especially with people wanting to upsize and therefore introducing to the market more first-time buyer properties.
  • A cash of incentive of £1,500 to any homebuyer in the form of an interest-free loan, which has to be paid when the buyer sells the property. Therefore, this is not a grant as the money will come eventually come back into the system.

The campaign goes onto state that more than 1 million homes are bought and sold every year in the UK.

People have to consider its not just the estate agents, solicitors and mortgage brokers who will be affected by a significant drop in property transactions. There are figures which state the impact on DIY and home removals could be in excess of £8 Billion.

Posted on

HOW CAN I SELL MY HOUSE DURING LOCKDOWN?

We are fully aware we are all in circumstances which very few of us have experienced before. Only those who were brave enough to live through the war will have experienced what we are all living through at the moment.

The best way to summarise things today is your life is on pause, the most frustrating thing I suppose is we do not know how long this will last. The 3-week lock down expires on Monday however there are strong rumours suggesting this will be extended.

Some people will be finding the level of uncertainty hard to comprehend and that will probably include those people who want to sell their property, whatever stage you are at in the process.

You may be thinking about putting your property on the market, if this is the case it maybe worthwhile waiting till lockdown is relaxed as people are not physically allowed to view properties. However, there are ways round this, for example virtual tours which we have offered numerous times already with some been successful. So, if your property has an EPC already please check the EPC register for clarification here              or ask your estate agent there is nothing to stop you listing your property. Granted the levels of attention won’t be at their highest but there is still chance a buyer maybe found.

Alternatively, you maybe in a position where you have found a buyer. If the buyer requires a mortgage, we would strongly suggest speaking to your estate agent to see if the buyer can use a lender who will work from a desktop valuation. Similar to a virtual viewing the lender will run extensive reports on the property and make a decision on the value without having to send a valuer into the property because again this is permitted.

You me even be further into the process where the buyers have their finance, solicitors have finished their work and the sale is ready to complete. Unfortunately, this is where it gets slightly tricky. Last night it was announced by the law society that solicitors should only work on simultaneous exchange and completions. With the government not allowing anyone out of their house apart for medical reasons, work if necessary and shopping this is where things grind to a halt.

Its times like this where your estate agent needs to show their true value as communication is going to be so, so important to keep your sale going. There is a large percentage of sellers who are going to hit a wall. What I mean by this is their sale will get to a stage where everything is complete but unfortunately the solicitors will not be able to complete the transaction. Therefore, its imperative your agent stays in regular contact reassuring them you still want to sell the property once lockdown is relaxed. This may be ok for some but if you are relying on the funds from the sale things become slightly more stressful.

In these instances, there are other avenues you could explore. For example, there is the we buy any house industry. This industry is made up of companies who buy properties for cash. From our research we believe a large percentage of them have stopped buying due to the uncertainty. However, there are some sill offering their services. Better still they are buying properties without the need of a survey, inspection or valuation allowing them to complete on agreed deals today. So, if you need to sell a property fast and require it to complete asap this maybe the option for you. To help here is a number for you 03333 232 199. They will offer you a free no obligation valuation.

Posted on

THE NEW YEAR IS HERE

No, we don’t mean the New Year as far as the calendar is concerned, we mean it’s the start of the new tax year.

This article will identify a number of changes that may affect your finances. Some of the areas you will see changes are in pensions and ISA’s of which a large percentage of the population have one of these or both so its worth discussing. There are a few things you can do to hopefully save yourself some money this year and with what’s going on with the world at the moment there is no better time to save a penny or two.

If you would like to speak to someone please contact us on 03333 232 199 and we will point you in the right direction.

INCOME TAX

The amount of personal income you can make before any tax is due is £12,500 and this has remained the same for 2020. However, what has changed is the age allowance where everybody now has the same personal allowance. For people earning over £100,000 your allowance will reduce significantly irrespective of your age. Basically, it reduces £1 for every £2 you earn over £100,000. Therefore, for everyone earning over £125,000 now personal allowance will be £0.

DIVIDENDS TAX

Like Income Tax the Dividend Tax allowance will remain the same for this year. After you have had your personal allowance the tax due will be as follows. For base rate tax payers the level is 7.5% and for higher rate 32.5%.

Capital Gains Tax

For this tax year there has been a slight rise in allowance for capital gains from £12,000 to £12,300. Once this has been exhausted lower rate tax payers will have to pay 10% on any profits over the £12,300 threshold with higher rate paying 20%. However, when we talk about investment properties the levels of tax increases with lower rate at 18% and higher 28%

Inheritance Tax

The tax threshold for inheritance is £325,000 anything over that is taxable at a rate of 40%. However, to allow people to pass on their family homes to their loved ones a home allowance threshold is applied separately.

Pensions

The majority of people are allowed to put £40,000 into their pension for the next year. The main difference this year for pensions is previously when people earned £110,000 the allowance of £40,000 started to reduce. However that has now been increased to £240,000 a significant change allowing a lot more people to place the full £40,000 into their pension pot.

ISA’s

Finally, we discuss ISA’s (Interest Free Saving Accounts). The amount people can place in an ISA tax free has remained the same at £20,000.

There is also the lifetime ISA which is something so many people use who are looking to buy a new home. The Lifetime ISA allows people to save £4,000 per year tax free.

Posted on

How Is The Coronavirus Affecting The Mortgage Market

How is Coronavirus Affecting The Mortgage Market  

To say the mortgage market is volatile at the moment is an understatement. The market is basically changing every hour as the Country starts to feel the real impact of Covid- 19. Certain lenders pulled all their products from the mortgage market last week, with some re-introducing certain options this week whilst others are still not in the market for business. Furthermore, interest rates are at 0.1% the lowest in history and banks and building societies have also offered lenders a 3- month payment holiday. The industry is seeing levels of activity and change like never before. Obviously, with all these changes happening in such a short space of time the market does seem to lack a lot of transparency, furthermore with the government implementing the strict guidelines in place leaves the whole situation with so many unanswered questions. If you do have any questions we are here to listen and hopefully point you in the right direction. This article will hopefully answer the most common questions we have been asked. However, if we don’t answer yours, we can only apologise but please call us on 03333 232 199 and we will point you in the right direction.  

I have exchanged contracts, but the government says we can’t move what should I do?  

Although the government have made it quite clear in all their correspondence you shouldn’t complete a house sale. However, if you have exchanged contracts I would suggest speaking to your solicitor as this could be classed as an exceptional circumstance. If you breach the contract and don’t complete there maybe huge financial consequences. Therefore, completion may still be possible as planned but moving into your new home still might not happen until rules are relaxed.  

Will I qualify for a payment holiday?  

The government has asked all lenders to offer customers a 3 month payment holiday. Payment breaks apply to all types of borrowers i.e. homeowners, landlords and anyone else. There is one exception where a payment holiday may not apply, that is if your mortgage is already in arrears. If you are in arrears it still maybe possible for the holiday to be granted.  

How do I apply for a payment holiday?  

Firstly, one thing to consider is lenders are under extreme pressure at the moment due to the amount of people applying for payment holidays. Furthermore, they may have furloughed some of the staff, making things even harder for the lenders. A large percentage of the banks/building societies have the option to apply for payment holidays through their website. For the ones that don’t I would advise to call them as soon as they open in a morning. Check their website for their opening hours.

My mortgage term is coming to an end should I look to Re-mortgage?

As mentioned earlier in this article some lenders have pulled out of the market completely whilst others only have products on offer with a low loan to value. However, there are still a large number of banks/building societies offering deals with a LTV of 90% for example and with interest rates at 0.1% now might be the time to at least speak to someone about a re-mortgage. You also have to consider that the mortgage market will probably ger harder before it gets better over the coming months, making a discussion now even more important.  

We are here to help  

I hope we have answered the majority of your questions. However, if you have any further questions or would like to speak to someone about a Re-mortgage please call us on 03333 232 199 and we will point you in the right direction.            

Posted on

WILL MY PROTECTION POLICY COVER ME AGAINST CORONA-VIRUS

A large proportion of us at some point in our lives take out life assurance or critical illness cover to offer some form of protection for themselves and our loved ones.

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus there has never been a time with such a level of uncertainty. The recent pandemic is having a massive effect on all our mindsets, with things been so worrying for everyone.

Unfortunately, it goes without saying during this time those with policies in place will naturally be thinking will it cover this deadly virus? This opinion is backed up with the amount of people typing phrases into search engines such as ‘will my life assurance policy cover Coronavirus?’

Fingers crossed you are able to find the information you require but if not please give us a call on 03333 232 199, we will be delighted to listen to any questions you have and will point you in the right direction.

In this article we will try and answer some of the generic questions to try and appease any anxieties as quickly as possible.

PLEASE NOTE THE INFORMATION PROVIDED WAS BASED ON KNOWLEDGE FROM 30TH MARCH. HOWEVER, DUE TO RAPID SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE CHANGING THINGS ON AN HOURLY BASIS. THEREFORE, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND TO CHECK WITH YOUR INIDIVIDUAL INSURANCERS TO CONFIRM ANY DETAILS

Will I Be Covered?

Providing you have paid your monthly payments and are not in arrears generally insurers will include the coronavirus in your policy. This is obviously assuming that all the information you provided the insurer at inception or renewal of your policy is correct.

However, every insurer is different and there is no guarantee yours will cover the virus. If you are in arrears with your insurer you need to act as quickly as possible. Please give us a call and we will be delighted to look into this for you?

How can this policy help if I cannot work?

This will really depend on what the consequences of Coronavirus is to you. If the virus leads you to disability in some form, there is a strong possibility the policy will pay out. However, each insurer will be different, so it is worth checking with your respective company.

Is there an option for a payment holiday?

Many of you may have seen the majority of mortgage lenders are currently offering their customers a three-month payment holiday. However, at the moment there isn’t signs of insurers doing the same, but we would advise to keep your eye on the website of your insurers as things are changing by the day.

HOWEVER WE CANNOT EMPHASISE THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING YOUR EXISTING POLICY ACTIVE BEFORE DOING ANYTHING.

What about if I recently cancelled my policy?

If you have recently cancelled your policy there maybe the option to get this up and running. Granted there is no guarantee but there is a chance, every insurer will have different rules. However, like anything everything is worth a try. Yet again if you would like help to see if this is an option for you please call us on 03333 232 199 and we will be delighted to help.

If you are concerned you are unable to make your payments please get in touch and we will point you in the right direction to offer you the best solution by exploring all the options available.

Can I take out extra cover on my policy mid-term?

If you would like to increase the level of cover on your existing policy please get in touch. Many insurers as you can imagine are tightening their underwriting by the day and it is going to get tighter before it relaxes. Therefore, it maybe a good idea to at least speak to someone so why not give us a call. If you haven’t got any form of policy in place it is still possible to put one in place. We can put you in touch with insurers who can definitely help and are still offering new policies even in these hard times.

Interested in speaking to someone

If you would like to speak to someone please call us on 03333 232 199. There are policies currently available from £5 a month and we are offering up to £100 Morrisson’s vouchers for any policy taken out.

Posted on

Properties Still Selling During Lockdown.

Don’t think your property won’t sell during lock down, it is still possible. Here at FastMove we know its going to be hard to sell properties during lockdown, mainly because people cannot get out to view the respective homes. However, we are pleased to announce we have sold three properties since lock down with the use of a video tour taken by the vendor. Our Managing Director Christian Armitage recently stated, in times like this you just need to think outside the box.

The process was pretty simple the interested parties registered interest in the properties. On all occasions the buyers new the areas concerned so just needed to see the internal elements of the property to satisfy them. All it took was to put the vendor and buyer in touch with each other allowing the to Face-time each other. On all occasions they were happy with the content and made an offer which was accepted.

One of our vendors said ‘We had resorted to the fact our property was not going to sell until the government had relaxed the lock down rules. However, due to the initiative and never lie down attitude of my estate agent we are in a position now we are Sold Subject To Contract.’

Obviously, it’s in the early stages of the process and all buyers have confirmed they want to view the property once the rules are relaxed but at least we can instruct solicitors to generate some momentum. Furthermore, it gives the public hope that

  1. If their property is currently on the market it still may sell
  • If you are looking to sell your property it still maybe worthwhile listing your property as this has proved people are still looking for properties.

Here at FastMove we strongly feel if you have a property to sell and would like to sell it relatively quickly to market the property now. We think this for two reasons

  1. We have already illustrated people are still looking at properties they may want to purchase
  • Given the current crisis the Country is in, there is the chance there maybe a drop in the market. Granted it will recover but we don’t know how long this will take and if you would like to sell quickly by advertising your property now you are giving yourself the best chance to meet your objective.

Stay Safe.