10 December 2015

That's it for 2015! Roll on 2016. Thanks for reading.....!

Amazingly, this is my last column of the year!  I enjoy writing each week and updating you on the mortgage world's good and bad, but I am looking forward to a couple of weeks without tight production deadlines to meet!

The door may be nearly shut on 2015 and, in many ways, I'm ready to kick it shut.  It's been a frustrating year as lenders have been neither here or there with their lending volumes and every one of them has had one eye looking over their shoulder for the regulator and the other looking forward in preparation for the new European Mortgage Credit Directives that are due to be implemented in March 2016.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could just have a couple of years without regulatory changes?

At the same time, it has been a year for building foundations for what I hope will be a fantastic 2016.  Once the new regulations have been implemented and with rates set to stay static for some while yet, mortgage lenders will be competing for business. A rate price war may happen and this can only be a good thing for the end consumer.  We will also be welcoming a number of new lenders to the market (and some returning) and this will help keep competition rife.  Good times ahead!

Finally, a heartfelt thank you for reading my columns.  I've tried to provide an unbiased weekly insight to what happens in the mortgage world (and tried to keep it upbeat!). 

Thank you to everyone who has instructed AToM to source and arrange their mortgage during the past twelve months. It has been a fantastic year and we have enjoyed substantial growth in volume, November bringing more than £30m in new applications. Also, an increase in  headcount with almost 30 in the AToM team located between our two Horsham offices! They are a truly fantastic team. 

On behalf of all the staff and directors at AToM, we wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and a Relaxing and Prosperous New Year! 

03 December 2015

Increased Stamp Duty for Second Properties and Buy to Lets.

So, quite an easy start to this weeks column as the Chancellors 'Autumn Statement' has written most of my column for me!  If you haven't seen the news, for Second Properties, or Buy to Let purchases, stamp duty rates will be 3% higher.  This means that we have the following:

• Value of property £40,000 to £125,000 – additional stamp duty surcharge of 3%
• Up to £250,000 – SDLT increased to 5%
• Up to £925,000 – SDLT increased to 8%
• Up to £1.5m – SDLT increased to 13%
• Over £1.5m – SDLT increased to 15%

Therefore, for a property valued at £175k, stamp duty is currently £1,000 and this will now increase to £6,250.  Quite a hike!  For a property valued at £300k, the additional increase amounts to an eye watering £9k!

The Chancellor says this is in order to help first time buyers.  Some would say that landlords will still buy properties whilst first time buyers struggle to get on to the ladder, but rentals charges may be increased to cover the additional cost.  And whilst this does not come in to force until April 16, some estate agents are predicting a short-term surge in property purchases.

With the recent stamp duty changes and increases in taxation on profits being introduced over the next few years, the Buy to Let sector has taken quite a beating over the last couple of budgets.  Yet with interest rates so low and demand for rented properties increasing, and no clearly defined solution to help first time buyers, I can't see these changes killing off the buy to let sector just yet!

What it does do is ‘stutter’ interest from those who might have been looking to invest in property compared to plunging savings rates and volatile stocks.  If the Chancellor's long term vision is to kill offer the buy to let sector entirely, then those who may have been looking at income from Properties as a viable alternative to a pension arrangement may well be slightly more wary given these latest developments.