The property market is something that affects us all, be it buying and selling a house, to property investment. This blog is our take on the property market in Scotland in general, and Dundee and Angus in particular. To get in touch with us, please visit www.blackadders.co.uk.
I am delighted to advise that our 3rd Annual Property Sale is now bigger and better than ever with 57 properties taking part and with savings of up to £50,000 from Home Report valuations.
I think this initiative shows prospective purchasers the possible bargains that are out there and the fact that it is a great time to be buying. It also shows our innovative and pro-active approach to selling properties.
The past few days have seen a plethora of new stories regarding the above expected rise in the rate of inflation. There is now a feeling that the Bank of England may have to raise base rates sooner rather than later. I would urge the Bank of England to hold their nerve in respect of interest rates as I think that the inflation pressures have been caused mainly by the rise in raw materials and also the recent rise in VAT. I think it would be catastrophic for the fragile economy if the Bank of England started to raise interest rates now.
I note with interest that the swap rates have soared over the last few days on the growing possibility that the Bank of England will have to put up base rates. The knock on effect is that lenders are withdrawing competitive fixed price deals and replacing them with higher rates as the rates on the money market increase.
This is having a very damaging effect on the economy as a whole and on the housing market in particular.
I personally felt that the Bank of England were slow in cutting rates when the economic crisis started and I hope they will not to make matters worse by raising interest rates too early.
I was disappointed to read that the major banks and the Government have yet to reach agreement in terms of project Merlin, which is a plan to increase the availability of finance to small and medium businesses. I think that support of small and medium businesses is fundamental to getting the economy back on the right track. Given the furore over bankers’ pay and bonuses I would have thought the banks would have been more inclined to be more co-operative, although I do appreciate that there are some legal issues that need to be dealt with including the issues of lending to what might be described as weaker businesses.
I would urge both sides to work together and reach an agreement as quickly as possible to give small and medium businesses the funding they urgently require to survive and flourish in this difficult time.
I was interested to read a prediction by the Counsel of Mortgage Lenders that net mortgage lending this year is likely to be just £6 billion, the lowest annual total since 1980. Net lending is what borrowers actually owe their lenders after they have paid off some of the capital etc. This figure represents a fall of almost 95% from the £108 billion of net lending in 2007. This figure does point to the initial concerns regarding the housing market and shows inherent weaknesses. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, with no clear strategy from the Government in respect of the housing market, continuing economic uncertainty and job insecurity, people are less inclined to move house. Coupled with that you have the problems that first time buyers have in getting on the ladder then there is a real problem of a stagnating house market.
I will continue to monitor matters and keep you updated.
I heard with interest that Barratts have launched a First Time Buyer Scheme. The scheme allows first time buyer’s parents to borrow 15% of the purchase price on an unsecured loan basis with a fixed rate of 5.4% and run for up to 12 years. The scheme has no early repayment charges and a limited overpayment will be allowed penalty free. This will enable first time buyers to have a mortgage of 80%, put down a 5% deposit with the remaining 15% funded by the parents through a loan from Hitachi.
As I have mentioned before, first time buyers have been badly hit in this economic downturn and the average age of a first time buyer is now 37.
I am in discussion with a national builder with development sites in Scotland to see if they would be in a position to offer something similar and I shall let you know as soon as I have some more information to report.
I was delighted to read in the Dundee Courier about the £4.8 million pledge received from the Scottish Government. This would appear to be a key piece of the jigsaw and a catalyst for taking the V & A in Dundee to the next stage.
As readers of previous posts will know (14 October 2010), I think the importance of the V & A to the Scottish economy in general and Dundee economy in particular will be huge, and that the venue will go a long way to enhancing Dundee’s reputation as a leading UK city. The knock-on effect for the property market will be more visitors, more purchasers, more people realising the huge untapped potential of Dundee.
I would urge everyone to support the V & A project and work together to ensure that it happens.
Although I am against the sensationalist aspects relating to house price surveys (the most recent conducted by the Halifax) I was interested to note that they expect limited movement in house prices during 2011 as interest rates are likely to remain low for some time. They also pinpointed a reluctance to sell from some homeowners, this halting a decline in prices.
I do agree with this sentiment and am firmly of the view that house prices will remain stable during the course of 2011. However, I don’t think it will be any easier to sell your property and would therefore emphasize the importance of getting an experienced solicitor estate agency to sell your property. On the other hand, I don’t think that there will be many bargains around and again when purchasing, speak to a property specialist to ensure that you are buying a property for the best possible price that you can.
2011 will be a very interesting year for the housing market!