March Budget – Housing Issues

The March Budget mainly focused on measures being introduced to halt the Coronavirus, which meant the housing market didn’t receive as much focus as people expected it to. Given housing was a priority for the Conservative Party in the build-up to the General Election, it is understandable that this was tipped to be at the heart of announcements.

Of course, times change, and there was a need to focus on halting Coronavirus, and providing support for those who need help. However, there were still some housing measures introduced, and as you would expect, there has been debate as to how suitable these measures are.

Stamp duty surcharge will be introduced

In 2021, there will be a 2% surcharge on stamp duty for non-UK residents buying property in the country. A lot of people have said this is a sensible move, and one which will help people buy property. Of course, there is also an opinion that this is unlikely to create the outcome many people hope for.

Some of the criticism levelled at the measure include the fact it is a measure mainly focused on the London property market. Another complaint is related to the measure being introduced next year, which means there is nothing to stop prospective non-UK buyers snapping up property this year.

Mark Hayward is the Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark, and he has spoken about the stamp duty surcharge, saying; “If introduced, this policy allows those in the UK to have a better chance at purchasing a home. However, overseas buyers tend to purchase properties in prime central London which are completely unaffordable to most homebuyers anyway. Therefore, this move will not help those that need it most.”

Richard Donnell is the Director of Research & Insight at Zoopla, and he said; “The additional 2% Stamp Duty surcharge for non-UK resident buyers represents the latest in a long series of tax reforms, and may have a short-term impact on demand in higher value markets once it is introduced. For those who are looking at a longer-term hold, the additional upfront purchase cost will diminish in significance over time. In the interim, however, there will likely be some increased activity among non-UK residents looking to purchase before the new rules come into force.”

Is enough being done to support landlords?

There has also been criticism for the Government for not doing enough to support landlords and the letting industry. The Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlords Association issued a joint statement criticising the lack of backing for this sector.

The statement said; “The Government is undermining its own efforts to boost homeownership through its attacks on the private rented sector. By choking-off supply and making renting more expensive it is tenants who are hardest hit. Ministers need to wake up to the reality of the damage their tax measures are doing to the private rented sector and support landlords to provide the new homes for private rent we desperately need.”

Whatever move you intend to make in 2020, you can rely on Williams of Petersfield to provide you with support and guidance. We are pleased to provide you with a property valuation, which is an essential component in placing your property on the market. No matter what assistance you require, contact Williams of Petersfield today, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Will There Be Stamp Duty Changes In Budget?

There is every chance the March 2020 Budget will be significant for the housing market. The Conservative Government has announced significant plans regarding the UK housing market, and this Budget represents their first chance to bring these changes to the fore.

Stamp duty is crucial in the sales process

Whether you are buying or selling a home, stamp duty is critical. While no one knows what will be announced, there is a growing expectation of stamp duty charges for non-UK residents who buy property. Some experts have tipped changes to the stamp duty threshold.

Richard Donnell is the Director of research and insight at Zoopla, and he has spoken about proposed stamp duty changes in the Budget. Donnell said; “It’s time for the Chancellor to turn his attention to the core housing market and review the price bands and five per cent stamp duty rate that covers averaged priced homes across large parts of London and the commuter belt. No government wants to cut taxes indiscriminately, particularly when losses could be high. However, any cut to the rate of stamp duty could stimulate much-needed marketed activity in southern England in particular.”

Mark Bogard of the Family Building Society, issued an open letter to the Chancellor, saying; “Our view is that SDLT should be reviewed urgently and changes made to the rate to encourage downsizing and free up the market.”

Neil Cobbold, is the Chief Sales Officer at PayProp and he isn’t sure if stamp duty will change in this Budget. He said; “Stamp duty is a hot button for consumers and property professionals, so the calls to reform the system are always plentiful in the lead up to a Budget. It appears that the Prime Minister has put any plans to overhaul the controversial tax on ice. However, Boris Johnson has previously said that stamp duty rates are ‘absurdly high’ so there could be changes later in his tenure.”

Cobbold also said; “In the meantime, property professionals and consumer groups will continue to lobby politicians to reduce the pressure. Reconsidering the three per cent surcharge on additional homes and the tax rates which affect the very top end of the market would be a good first step.”

There is a broad range of opinions on this Budget

Matthew Hillyer is an associate director of a loans company and he is also hesitant to say stamp duty will be cut. He said; “My response to clients who have asked about stamp duty cuts, has been that it is highly unlikely. A government who is taking a big economic hit from Brexit is not going to be giving out any tax breaks on what is a very good income generator for them. If house sales were slowing down solely due to the level of stamp duty people have to pay then the government may consider reducing the tax. But all the evidence we are seeing since the start of this year is that it was the fear of a Labour government and possible property and wealth taxes that was actually stopping people buying in the prime space.”

At this point, we don’t know what will happen in the March Budget, but whatever is announced, we are here to assist you. We are pleased to say we have helped many Petersfield vendors sell their home, and this remains the case in 2020. We are happy to arrange a property valuation for you, and we take you from start to end with the sales process. Contact Williams of Petersfield today, and we will be delighted to assist you.

Support For Landlords Dealing With Tenant Fees Act

There is no denying landlords have had a tough time of things recently, and issues may become more challenging before they become easier.  There is a need for support for landlords. With new regulations on their way in 2020, many landlords are still coming to terms with regulations brought in last year!

There is confusion in the lettings industry over the Tenant Fees Act, and there are fears this will lead to com plaints being made against landlords. Many of these complaints will be unfounded, but dealing with these complaints will be a concern for landlords, and will cause some sleepless nights. At Williams of Petersfield, we are on hand to assist local landlords as best we can, so if you have any issues or complaints, please let us know.

Tenant Fees Act is updated in 2020

A company which assists automated payment technology used by many landlords, PayProp, has spoken about their concerns for landlords with the Tenant Fees Act. Even though the Act was introduced in 2019, it will be extended to cover all tenancies from June 1 2020.

Neil Cobbold is the Chief Sales Officer of PayProp, and he said; “There is likely to be confusion among tenants over the next few months. Until June 1, active tenancies are still subject to the old rules until their tenancy renews or the legislation is extended. This confusion could lead to consumers wrongly complaining to the redress schemes about agencies which are, in fact, acting lawfully. However, now is the right time for landlords and letting agencies to make sure they have all their processes in place to ensure they are not overcharging renters and that they remain compliant with the Act.”

There are approved redress schemes, the Property Redress Scheme and The Property Ombudsman, and media reports suggest more than 200 com plaints have been filed against agents. There is a belief that some of these complaints come from tenants who don’t understand why they are being charged certain fees or why the deposit is larger than the stated deposit cap.

We provide support for landlords

Cobbold continued by saying; “There is no indication of how many of these complaints were upheld by the redress schemes…however, under 250 complaints is a relatively small number when one considers that the PRS and TPO represent thousands of letting agencies across England. This could save time, protect relationships and allow agencies to focus on other important parts of their business. There is no excuse for agencies or landlords to be charging illegal fees or holding deposits on new and renewed tenancies that are above the cap, leaving themselves open to reputational damage or potential fines.”

There is no denying the importance of clear communication between landlords and tenants. It is vital landlords reach out to tenants before June 1 to explain the situation at their rental property, and how it affects the tenant. At Williams of Petersfield, we are here to assist you, and if you need any help in this matter.

If you are a local landlord requiring help managing your property or dealing with tenants, please get in touch with Williams of Petersfield today.

Is Confidence Back In The Property Market?

Confidence can make a massive difference in the property market, and it is easy to see why so many people want to feel more optimistic about the market this year. Information provided by NAEA Propertymark isn’t going to dampen enthusiasm, and it is easy to see why many people feel 2020 could be the year when things improve with buying and selling homes.

A lot of the optimism stems from the organisation stating the number of prospective buyers, and the number of agreed sales, increased in December 2019, compared to December 2018.

The year on year sales agreed per member branch stood at five in December 2017 and 2018, but in December 2019, the number have increased to six agreed sales per branch. This may not seem like much, but any step forward is to be celebrated, and there are many reasons why December is a slower month in the market.

Of course, the General Election of 2019, and the convincing margin of victory for the Conservative Party means December 2019 wasn’t a standard month or a typical December.

Sales to first-time buyers increased

The presence of first-time buyers is crucial, because this is the largest group of buyers in the property market. The number of sales made to first-time buyers in December 2019 increased marginally from November 2019. The figures moved from 28% to 29%. However, the year-on-year figures showed a notable increase of 5%. The December 2018 figures stood at 24%.

There was a fall in house hunters registering with estate agents

One area where there was a slight hit in the market was the number of house hunters registered per branch. In November 2019, this stood at 332, but in December of 2019, this had fallen to 313. This is the lowest figure since July 2019, when there were 305 house-hunters per branch. However, there was an increase in the year-on-year figures, which stood at 304 potential buyers per branch in December 2018.

More homes were supplied to the market

In November 2019, there were 39 homes supplied to the market per branch, and by December 2019, this increase to 41. This is the highest figure since August 2019, when there were 44 houses per branch on the market. There was a slight dip in the year-on-year figures, moving from 42 in December 2018.

Mark Hayward is the Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark and he said; “After a period of suppressed market activity due to Brexit and political uncertainty, the clear outcome of the General Election in December has injected some much-needed confidence into the market.”

Mark continued by saying; “Despite it typically being a quieter time of the year seasonally, our figures have shown positive trends with both demand and the number of sales being high in comparison to previous years, as both buyers and sellers no longer hold off on their plans. This is an encouraging close to the year and we hope to see more of this stability in 2020.”

If you plan on making a move in or around Petersfield this year, contact Williams of Petersfield, and we will be happy to help.

Petersfield Landlords – Electrical Safety Standards

We know being a landlord is often a trying position. There is a considerable amount of work involved with the process of being a landlord, and we know it is hard to keep up with regulations. At Williams of Petersfield, we aim to provide a service which ensures you remain up to date with all regulations, which is why we are keen to inform you of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.

While the House of Commons and the House still have to approve the regulations, it is very likely they will come into effect from the 1st of July 2020. All new tenancies which begin on or after this date are required to have a five-year electrical certificate in place. This test must be carried out by a registered electrician.

Landlords must renew the certificate by the stated date in the report

While the standard renewal period is five years, if the certificate recommends the property be tested in less than five years, this will be the relevant renewal date that landlords must abide by. All new tenancies is set to include renewals, and tenancies which become statutory periodic tenancies.

All existing tenancies must comply with the regulations from the 1st of April 2021.

If landlords are familiar with the regulations associated with Gas Safety, they will have a good understanding of what is required from them with Electrical Safety. When the landlord receives the certificate, a copy must be provided to the tenant within 28 days. At the start of a tenancy, the landlord must provide a new tenant with a copy of the certificate. During the letting phase, potential new tenants have the right to request a copy of the electrical safety certificate.

Local authorities can request a copy of the electrical safety certificate

Landlords should be aware local authorities have the right to request a copy of the electrical safety certificate. If a local authority requests a copy, the landlord should provide a copy within seven days.

When remedial work is required in a rental property, it must be carried out within 28 days or by the date stated in the report. The date which comes first is the relevant date for carrying out work. When remedial work has been completed, landlords should receive written confirmation of the upgrades. A copy of this confirmation should be provided to tenants and the local council, if requested.

Any landlord that fails to comply with the new regulations faces a fine of up to £30,000; which will be imposed by the local council.

We know landlords must comply with a lot of regulations, and having more matters to comply with is far from ideal. However, many people in the industry, including landlords, have been calling out for this style of test. If you are a landlord in or around Petersfield, and you need support in managing your rental property, contact Williams of Petersfield, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Tips To Sell Your Home Effectively In 2020

In the aftermath of the General Election in December of 2019, there was a significant spike in mortgage searches. It is likely this increased level of buyer demand will continue in 2020, which means if you are considering selling your home, 2020 is the year to do so.

Of course, more buyers usually lead to more sellers in the market, so it will likely still be a competitive time in the property market. Therefore, if you plan on selling your home, you should be looking for ways to enhance your chances of selling your home quickly and without too much effort.

At Williams of Petersfield, we are pleased to say we have assisted many clients in selling their home, and here are our top tips to sell your home effectively in 2020.

Choose a traditional agent, not an online estate agent

There is no denying online agents have affected the property market, and that some vendors have found their service to be of benefit. Over time, the importance of online agents will increase, but right now, the market isn’t quite in a position where you should opt for an online agent over a traditional agent.

Online estate agents are still more likely to list your property and expect you to sell it, as opposed to selling your home for you. This isn’t a suitable standard of service for most vendors, and we believe you will be much better off relying on an agent who has helped many people sell their home.

We believe choosing an agent with demonstratable experience and expertise in your local area, with your type of home, and with buyers who are likely to show an interest in your home is the ideal starting point in selling your home quickly and effectively.

List your property at a realistic price

While selling your house for as high a price as possible would be a tremendous outcome, this shouldn’t be a strategy you start off with. If you place too high an initial price on your property, you will struggle to attract attention.

Therefore, it is best to call on a local agent to evaluate your home before coming up with a value. External factors such as supply and demand, and local facilities, influence property price as much as the condition of the property. Therefore, it is best to call on an expert who understands the local market, and who can place an accurate value on your property.

Evaluate each offer on its own merits

If you are fortunate enough to receive more than one offer, don’t just assume the highest offer is the best offer for you. You should consider if the highest offer is part of a chain, or it comes from a first-time buyer. A buyer who isn’t part of a chain is likely to be a more appealing buyer to you, as chains add risk when selling your home.

If you are looking to sell your home in 2020, contact Williams of Petersfield, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

 

Caring For Your Home This Winter

Whether you are a landlord, a vendor or you have no intention of selling or letting your home soon, there is something which unites us all. If you own a property, you must make sure it is cared for in the winter period. Challenging weather conditions put homes under greater pressure, and if your home isn’t ready for winter, the inhabitants are in for a miserable few months.

At Williams of Petersfield, we encourage homeowners to be proactive when it comes to caring for their home this winter. If problems arise, you should act quickly, but it is better to act now and ensure problems don’t arise than it is to deal with issues. We are here to provide you with guidance which will minimise the likelihood of problems arising this winter.

Have your boiler serviced

Repairing or replacing a boiler is expensive, and it is obvious why many people would rather not worry about their boiler until an issue arises. However, this is the wrong attitude to have because if something does go wrong with your boiler, it can be a disaster.

When a boiler isn’t working, the property is cold and miserable. If you are a landlord, you will have a very unhappy tenant. Also, when a problem arises, the cost of replacing the boiler, and calling out a plumber in an emergency, is often very expensive. It is far more cost-effective to be proactive than reactive.

Protect your pipes

If your pipes burst or freeze, you are again in for a miserable time. It is vital you lag your pipes to protect them from cold snaps, and to maintain a level of consistency in their heat. You can buy commercially available lagging, but you can also use material that you have in the property. Lagging your pipes don’t have to be stylish, but it must be effective.

Review the roof

Quite often the roof is out of sight and out of mind, but if there are problems with your roof, you will suffer in winter. If rain or wind gets in, the house will feel cold and miserable. Energy bills will sky rocket, and there is a strong chance people will suffer ill health.

Therefore, it is imperative you call on expert to review your roof, and if any changes need to be made, you should make these changes.

You should also take the opportunity to clear your drains and gutters. If these are filled with leaves and debris, water is blocked and will be diverted. This may see water flow into your home, and this can cause considerable damage. Clearing your drains isn’t a job most people like, but it is one you must take care of.

When it comes to caring for your home in winter, it is better to act now than wait for a problem to arise. If you need assistance in managing rental property, or you want to learn how to care for your home before selling it, get in touch. At Williams of Petersfield, we are pleased to say we support the local community, and we look forward to helping you.

 

What Do Home Buyers Want?

If you are planning on selling your home in 2020, there is no harm in planning what you want to do. You will likely have some thoughts about the sales process, but the most important thing to remember is you want to appeal to the buyer. When you know what home buyers want from a home, you are in a much better place to provide them what they are looking for, which helps you sell your home.

At Williams of Petersfield, we are pleased to say we have helped many local vendors sell their property. We help connect vendors with people looking to buy a home, and we know how to provide them with what they are looking for. Our local knowledge and expertise make a massive difference in selling homes in Petersfield, and if you are looking for guidance, we are here to assist you.

Do you know what buyers love to see?

We also stay in touch with the latest studies and findings relating to the property market. A recent survey carried out by Hyperoptic indicates the following issues are very important for buyers when they look at property:

  • The number of bedrooms in a property is an important factor
  • Having a fast and reliable internet connection is crucial for buyers
  • Buyers want to be located close to a pub

While the importance of a local pub may change for some buyers, it is easy to see all three factors matter when it comes to selling your home. The number of bedrooms in a property has always been crucial. When a buyer searches for property, one of the criteria they normally search on is the number of bedrooms.

Broadband connectivity is crucial for buyers

It is also fair to say that a fast and reliable internet connection is essential these days. So much of modern life is dependent on the internet, and a lot of people will struggle if there is no reliable broadband at home. Whether someone wishes to work, or they want to stream live sports and the best boxsets, internet connectivity is a crucial factor for buyers.

Even if you aren’t too bothered about staying close to a pub, it is correct to say most buyers are looking for the chance to shop locally. When there is a sense of community in the local area, people feel at home, and this allows people to make the most of life. Online shopping provides flexibility for people, but there is no getting away from the importance many people place on shopping locally and meeting people.

Other factors which were cited in the study include living close to a train station and having a post box or post office close to the property. If you have these elements in your local area, make sure you inform potential buyers of their availability, as this may draw additional attention to your home.

If you are looking to sell your home, contact Williams of Petersfield and we will be more than happy to assist you. We are pleased to say we have helped many local homeowners connect with buyers, and sell their home.