You wait for one piece of good news to come along and then two come along at once!
Mired as we are in lockdown and Covid-19, it has been hard to find anything to get too excited about in recent months.
But today there is hope that the Stamp Duty holiday, introduced last year to help the housing market, might be extended until June.
The Stamp Duty threshold was raised from £125,000 to £500,000 to take many out of having to pay it at all. That ‘holiday’ was due to end in March, but it is being widely predicted that it will be extended to June in tomorrow’s Budget. That means, according to Which?, buyers could continue to save up to £15,000 in tax.
That would be good news as the holiday has had a positive impact on the property market. Indeed, it has been credited with fuelling a property sale boom in recent weeks as people hurried to push through their property transactions before the March deadline. HMRC says 121,640 sales went through in January, 24% up year on year.
There were fears that the housing market might suffer a slight slump when the Stamp Duty cut ended, but if it is extended in the Budget, that might be avoided.
In more good news for the sector, on 24 February, Nationwide reduced the rates on selected mortgage products by up to 0.20%. The society is also launching a new 60% LTV mortgage with a £1,499 fee for house purchase, first-time buyers and existing customers moving home with a rate of 1.14%.
There’s a reasonable amount of optimism in the property market, despite the lockdown. Although the number of mortgage deals on the market has halved since the Covid-19 pandemic began, there are still good deals to be had, particularly for those with a decent deposit.
Sadly, people with more modest deposits – say 5% or 10% – have seen the sharpest reduction in the number of mortgage products available. Some nine out of 10 such 90% mortgages were withdrawn following the onset of Covid-19 last Spring.
However, more and more lenders are providing 90% mortgages again and there are now almost 200 fixed-rate 90% mortgages available to first-time buyers, compared to 88 at the start of December.
Getting on the property ladder and owning your own home remains a very popular and sensible investment, and I am sure will remain so.
With the Government announcing its roadmap out of lockdown there are positive signs all around us and high hopes that 2021 will be a better year.
Due to the current restrictions over coronavirus, I’m not doing face to face discussions, but I am happy to do free, no-obligation consultations over the phone on 07767 692 653 at a time to suit you.
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In the meantime, stay safe.