February 8th marks the start of the new Chinese Year – The Year of the Monkey
- Prime Surrey estate agent looks to the East as new buyers are attracted to Wentworth
- New Chinese school coming to North Surrey
February is an important month for the Chinese. February 8th sees the start of the new Chinese Year – this year the naughty Monkey takes over from the staid Sheep. The Chinese New Year also heralds the start of Golden Week in which many Chinese nationals take a week off, often overseas, to celebrate the start of their New Year.
For the first time since 2012, London has slipped out of the top 10 best cities in Europe for property investment to 15th place as a result of high prices and a crunch on yields.
Berlin and Hamburg came out on top in 1st and 2nd place, while Birmingham was 6th according to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report by PwC and the Urban Land Institute.
A new law requiring that all new and converted homes in Wales be fitted with sprinklers has come into force, the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
CFOA Vice-President Dave Etheridge attended an event at the Welsh Senedd on January 12th to celebrate the introduction of the new law. The event was hosted by Ann Jones AM, who was one of the key drivers behind the campaign to see the legislation introduced.
Kate Faulkner of Property Checklists
According to the government, the Housing & Planning Bill will “transform generation rent into generation buy”. Is there any truth to this claim? Well, I’ve taken a look at the impact this bill is really going to have – the good, bad and ugly bits!
So you can pretty quickly work out this isn’t something that intends to help tenants at all and, as such, also doesn’t help buy-to-let investors. But developers and first-time buyers can look forward to a steady run over the next few years.
And although more new builds being planned will help boost agents’ business, the likely loss of buy-to-let business and the continued expectation of a lack of stock for buyers and rents means they will continue to take the brunt of the government’s and local authorities’ lack of ability to provide enough homes for population of the UK.
A 35 year repayment term is fast becoming the norm for a first time buyer taking out a mortgage according to the FT. This comes after reports that there were more than 300,000 first time buyers last year. This is the second year on the spin where the 300,000 mark has been passed.
Excerpt of blog kindly shared by mortgagesblogged. Read full article
The Guardian and The Telegraph have posted articles in the last week picking up the quandary of buy-to-let landlords. By a combination of changes in the summer budget and autumn statement, the previously lucrative venture whereby landlords would purchase property with the sole intention of renting has now been placed “in the red”. Landlords could previously claim tax relief on mortgage interest payments at the marginal rate, but from April 2017 to 2020, this will gradually be reduced to 20% (the ‘Clause 24’ change). “Wear and tear allowance” previously allowed landlords to deduct 10% from rental profits, but from April 2016 will only be granted for costs actually incurred. Meanwhile, George Osborne used the autumn statement to increase stamp duty on purchases of buy-to-let and second homes by 3%.
Landlords unsurprisingly are less than happy with the legislative changes. A group representing 250 landlords is seeking to launch a legal challenge by way of judicial review of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2015 enacting the ‘Clause 24’ change to mortgage relief (see: s. 24). As The Guardian reports, the group claims that the measure breaches Human Rights Law and EU Law, whilst The Telegraph reports the group as claiming that the move flouts “a long-established principle of taxation that expenses incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business are deductible when calculating the taxable profits”. It would seem from these statements that the claims pivot upon establishing that the new legislation breaches either Article 1, Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘A1P1’), some common law right or EU State Aid Law. These are my rough guesses based upon very rough information. Although the former two will have little prospect of success in the courts, the latter EU Law point could well have some bite. This will be used as a springboard for a more general discussion about the development of EU State Aid Law
Excerpt kindly shared by Stephen Daly of taxatlincolnox. Read the full article
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Many of Britain’s flood defences are being abandoned or maintained to minimal levels because of government cuts that could leave almost twice as many households at “significant risk” within 20 years, according to a leaked document submitted to ministers.
The paper, written by the body representing all major organisations responsible for flood defences, was presented to ministers on 30 November last year – days before Cumbria was hit by the heaviest rainfall recorded in 24 hours in Britain.
It was then discussed by floods minister Rory Stewart and Oliver Letwin, the cabinet office minister leading the government’s flooding review.
The leaked document says: “We have had the five wettest years since 2000. TheEnvironment Agency’s funding for maintaining flood assets has fallen by 14%. Downward adjustments have also been made to intended revenue spending commitments.”
Excerpt of full article kindly shared by The Guardian. Read the full article.
The Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme helped more than 60,000 people onto the property ladder in Q3 2015, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Showing an annual increase of 4%, 81% of the purchases were made by first-time buyers, with 50,969 being first properties. Andy Frankish, NewHomes director at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said the scheme continues to reach its target audience of first-time buyers and commented on the new dedicated Help to Buy scheme for first-time buyers London.
The Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme helped more than 60,000 people onto the property ladder in Q3 2015, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
Showing anannual increase of 4%, 81% of the purchases were made by first-time buyers, with 50,969 b eing first properties.
Andy Frankish, NewHomes director at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said the scheme continues to reach its target audience of first-time buyers and commented on the new dedicated Help to Buy scheme for first-time buyers London:
“The introduction next year of a dedicated Help to Buy scheme for London, with an increased 40% equity loan, will be welcome news for first-time buyers struggling to afford to buy in the capital. The scheme will require a maximum 55% mortgage, rather than one at 75% loan to value.”
“While the equity loan scheme is well ingrained in the sales of new homes, and continues to evolve in response to buyer’s needs, more creative solutions that address underlying problems to housing affordability must be developed in addition to targeted schemes.
The greater focus being placed on shared ownership will help, as will the creation of Starter Homes, but these will need the full support of lenders to have the desired effect. Increased housebuilding will eventually deliver more homeownership opportunities.”
Article kindly shared by Ryder & Dutton & Mortgage Advice Bureau