CML Reports First Time Buyer Numbers Up

I was interested to read a report from CML (The Council of Mortgage Lenders) advising that first time buyer activity in May reached 250,100 which is 29% higher than in April and 42% higher than in May last year. If you have read my previous blogs you will know how important first time buyer activity is in getting the housing market stabilised and moving again. The CML report also shows there had been an increase in the number of first time buyers entering the market with smaller deposits and this has resulted in the shift in average first time buyer loans to the value (LTV) ratio rising to 83% from 81% in April – the highest ratio since November 2008. The report also advised that the average age of the first time buyer remained at 29.

Paul Smee, CML, commented “Although monthly lending is still running at far less than half its typical monthly levels during the peak, there is no doubt that the mortgage market is firmly open for business.”

Lindsay Darroch 
Partner & Head of Property 

Beware of Hidden Estate Agency Charges

In a recent discussion with two new clients, I was surprised at the withdrawal fees charged by some solicitor estate agents. In both cases the clients were unaware of the fee although it was  included in the terms and conditions. I would urge all perspective sellers to ask their solicitor estate agent to confirm the position very clearly regarding the withdrawal fee. The Blackadders’ Property team do not charge a withdrawal fee on the basis that if we have not managed to sell your house then there should be no extra estate agency charge.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner  – Head of Property

Dundee City of Culture Bid Update

You will know from my previous blogs that I am an advocate of Dundee so I am absolutely delighted that the city has made the shortlist for the UK City of Culture in 2017. Hull, Leicester and Swansea Bay are the other three contenders and I understand that the winner will be announced by the end of this year. With the V&A, the new railway station, Malmaison, the new swimming pool plus various other investments and initiatives, winning the City of Culture status will have a huge impact and allow the momentum of these other projects to be sustained and enhanced.

With the investment generating new jobs and an increase in visitors to the city, these projects will positively impact on the Dundee economy in general and the local housing market in particular.

I am feeling very positive about the future of the city – well done to the team for getting us to this stage and fingers crossed for the final result.

Lindsay Darraoch
Partner & Head of Property 

Stamp Duty

As a postscript to my previous blog regarding changes to Stamp Duty, HMRC’s recent tax figures for May 2013 indicate a measure of recovery in the residential property sector with clear growth in Stamp Duty Land Tax receipts.  This figure ties in with the CML statistics of 17% growth in lending.

These figures certainly accord with the Blackadders’ property team figures which are currently coming in well above target and well above last year.  I will continue to report on trends.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner & Head of Property