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Loft Style Properties - February Blog!

published on 01/02/2018  

London Hot Spots For First Time Buyers
When it comes to buying property in London, it is fair to say that many people have concerns about the cost of buying a home. A lot of people think that the capital offers nothing for first time buyers but this isn’t the case. At Loft Style Properties, we know that many parts of London are expensive but there are some great value homes to be found and there are hot spots which indicate the London property market is worth considering.
It is also hoped that in 2018 first time buyers will be supported on stepping on to the property ladder. The changes in stamp duty for first time buyers will hopefully assist some buyers in finding the right home for the right price. There is also optimism surrounding the Help To Buy London scheme, and this may provide further assistance for buyers looking to buy their first home in the capital.

London has a lot to offer
In recent times, there has been a greater level of focus on property on the outskirts of London, with prices being more affordable. Given that some of these areas are well connected to the heart of London via rail links, the commute isn’t too hard a prospect for many people. At the start of 2018, key areas in the North East, the South East and the South West have been cited as hot spots for first time buyers in London.
In the North East of London, Gidea Park has been cited as an area worth considering. It may lie close to Essex but given its proximity to Bluewater, Lakeside and Westfield Stratford City, many people will feel at home with what is within easy reach.

We can help you find affordable housing in London
In the South East of the capital, Sydenham is tipped to be the next big thing in this area of London. A very important feature is that connections to London Bridge take 16 minutes, so this is an ideal area to set up in if you work in this part of London. For the South West, Surbiton is tipped to be a hot area in 2018. This is a good distance from the heart of London, as seen by the fact that it is classed as a Zone 6 area but with the ability to arrive in Waterloo in less than 20 minutes, you can see why this is an option for many buyers.
Of course, not everyone is able to live so far from the heart of London. There are many reasons why people are looking to be located in certain areas and if you need property in and around Kentish Town, you will find that Loft Style Properties are on hand to help. We offer property in a wide range of areas around this part of London, and we are always happy to discuss your options.
There will be a few areas cited as the most affordable hot spots in London for 2018 but these aren’t always suitable or applicable. If you want to find out about the property options that are right for you, come and speak to Loft Style Properties.

Letting Fees Ban Not Expected To Overly Impact On Market
It is understandable that landlords and letting agents are waiting for more information about the letting fees ban. In fact, you will find that tenants are keen to find out about the ban as well because there is a suggestion that they will be affected by changes too. The changes may be made with the aim of helping the tenant in the first place, hopefully helping them save money, but as with many things in the property market, not everything is as straightforward.
Letting fees have arisen when a landlord has let a property via an agent, with the landlord being charged fees by the letting agent. These fees will usually cover marketing services and work associated with property viewings. At the same time, many tenants have been asked to pay letting fees too. These fees are associated with credit checks, references, drawing up the tenancy agreement and the registration of the deposit.

Some tenants paid huge sums in letting fees
It is believed that on average, a tenant will pay more than £220 in fees but there have been reported cases where a tenant has paid more than £1,000 in letting fees. It is perhaps these extreme fees that have seen the Government take action, which will come when letting fees are banned.
Naturally, there are people who believe that cutting the money that a tenant pays in letting fees will actually lead to further costs for the tenant. Recent studies in the UK suggest that the fees paid by a tenant could account for as much 19% of the income received by a letting agent. This is a considerable sum of money and you would expect for letting agents to recoup this money elsewhere. If a letting agent decides to recoup these costs, they would try to obtain more money from tenants or landlords. It wouldn’t be a massive assumption to suggest that any increase in fees for tenants would lead to them squeezing tenants further too.

2018 could be a tough year for tenants
With this in mind, there are some parties in the lettings industry who predict that tenants will face a difficult year ahead. However, there are also specialists who believe that tenants are already at the upper limit of what they can be expected to pay. With this in mind, it is believed that the costs imposed on tenants will be no higher than the existing fees and there may be some letting agents who subsume the lost fees.
Given that it is believed that rental fees are set to increase in 2018, there is only so much that tenants can afford. This would mean that letting agents and landlords who still want to appeal to potential tenants will have to hold off from increasing fees or charging more for the work that they do.
At Loft Style Properties, we appreciate this is a very emotive subject for all parties involved. It is also easy to see that various outcomes could occur depending on how people react. This is why it would be unwise to make any major prediction on what is going to happen in the rental market in the UK in 2018. However, if you are keen to stay up to date with the latest changes and developments in the property market, stay in touch with Loft Style Properties.


Will Online Mortgages Help More People To Buy Homes?
Given that the property market has been transformed in the online era, it is no surprise that many people are looking for the next digital developments with respect to buying and selling homes. One area that is starting to be mentioned as a possible area for growth and development is the online mortgage market.
There was focus on online mortgages in 2017 with NatWest offering an online mortgage. While some major lenders stated that they had no plans to introduce this style of mortgage, a number of major names said they were looking into the market. No doubt many professionals were watching the fortunes of NatWest closely before deciding if they should commit to this service.

The NatWest moved online mortgages forward in 2017
There were concerns about whether security would remain in place for these online mortgages but initial reviews appear that there have no major problems for NatWest. The lender has promised to carry out a range of checks, including using video technology as well as undertaking a telephone call with all lenders.
It is therefore no surprise to see organisations try to take advantage of online technology and Nuvo, a mortgage broker, looks set to take another bold step in their communication with customers. This is because Nuvo is launching a Facebook Messenger service. This service utilises artificial intelligence and smart technology to connect with the customer.
It is hoped that the chatbot technology will take information from the client and then suggest what mortgage option or options would be most suitable to the client. It has been reported that the chatbot will be able to answer questions that customers have and that they will be able to deal with complex requirements.

Not everyone is happy with this technology being used
There is no denying that many people would prefer not to communicate in this manner, opting to speak to a person instead. However, there will be many tech-savvy users who will find this option to be to their taste and liking. Finding the right mortgage can be a laborious process so anything which saves time without compromising on the quality of service has to be seen as a good thing.
It may be that some people will not believe that a chatbot is able to provide a suitable standard of service considering the importance of a mortgage but then again, the technology has improved at a great rate in recent years. It would also be fair to say that employees at mortgage lenders work to a script and have criteria to complete before they can recommend a certain style of mortgage. In this light, the work of the chatbot is no different to the work that is carried out by someone over the phone or sitting face to face who ticks boxes and ensures that the customers’ credentials are recorded properly.
This style of mortgage solution will split opinion but it is good news that steps are being taken to streamline mortgage services. If you want to find the best guidance and advice when it comes to mortgages, arrange an appointment with Loft Style Properties and we will do our best to help you out.


New Mortgage Ranges On Offer In 2018

It would be fair to say that the tail-end of 2017 was a pivotal time for many mortgage holders in the United Kingdom. When the Bank of England announced that they were increasing interest rates from 02.5% to 0.5%, there was a lot of consternation across the country. After all, this was the first increase in interest rates for over a decade, meaning that this was the first time many homeowners would have had to deal with an increase in their monthly payments.
According to figures provided by Nationwide, the average mortgage holder in the UK found themselves paying an additional £22 per month in mortgage payments. The impact of this increase would have differed by households but there is no denying that some people would have found themselves pushed to their limits. However, 2018 may be a more difficult year because it is likely that at least one additional interest rate will occur this year.

There will be more interest rate increases
Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has said that there will be further increases before 2020 but some sources have predicted that there will be two increases in 2018. If this occurs, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the base rate of the Bank of England will reach 1% by the end of 2018. When looking at the bigger picture, this is far from the most challenging of interest rates but with many people familiar with the 0.25% base rate, it does represents a notable increase which will place further strain on bank accounts. After all, no one wants to pay more money when they don’t have to.
Given that there will likely be changes in the mortgage world this year; it makes sense that many people will currently be reviewing their finances. It should therefore be noted that many mortgage lenders are offering new mortgage ranges at the start of 2018. While interest rates are expected to rise, you’ll find that commercial factors have led some lenders to reduce their rates. This means the savvy homeowner or first time buyer should be able to find a good deal if they know where to look.

Some big names are offering attractive rates in 2018
At the start of 2018, the Yorkshire Building Society, the Leeds Building Society and Barclays have announced new mortgage ranges, with Barclays offering a 1.28% two year fixed rate mortgage. This is likely to be the best deal you can find at this point in time but as you would expect, there is criteria in place for this mortgage. There is a fee of £99 to be paid but the mortgage is only available to people buying property and who are in a position of making a 50% deposit. This will rule out many people but for those who are able to take advantage of this option, it is well worth considering.
Anyone looking for a long term deal will find that the Yorkshire Building Society has an appealing offer. They provide a five year fixed rate at 2.03% and this is available to property buyers and customers who are re-mortgaging, although a 15% deposit is required.
No matter what your current status is with respect to property, it won’t hurt to review your finances and ensure that you have the best possible deal for your current needs and expectations. If you would like to discuss your mortgage options, get in touch with Loft Style Properties and we will be more than happy to help.


UK House Prices Fell In December: Focus On London
There is a high level of interest and focus on property prices in the UK and at the end of 2017, house prices in the country feel unexpectedly. At least this is the opinion of the mortgage lender Halifax who announced that property prices fell for the first time in six months. In December of 2017, the average price of property in the UK fell by 0.6% with the actual price standing at £225,021. In the three months leading to December 2017, the annual growth rate decline by a rate of 2.7% while in the previous three months, the growth rate was at 3.9%.
It seems as though there is an expectation that there will be a further slowdown in the UK market in 2018. This is definitely the case for London with prices in the capital expected to slide further. Of course, this is on the back of 70% growth in London over the past decade so perhaps a dip in property prices is long overdue, and there will be some people who are hoping for this to take place.

There are two sides to issues in the property market
It is always worth remembering that there are always two sides to issues in the property market. While there be homeowners who have big concerns about the fall or slowdown of property prices in London, can you imagine how first time buyers and people looking to get on to the property ladder feel? The rate of growth of property prices in the capital has priced many people out of the market so you can see why there will be some people happy or relieved to find prices are dropping or at least slowing down in London.
However, not every lender believes the situation is as grim as is being pointed out by the Halifax. The other leading mortgage lender in the UK, the Nationwide, announced that house prices in the country rose by 2.6% in 2017. They did suggest though that property prices in London fell for the first time in an eight year period. The Nationwide has predicted that the predicted price growth will slow down further in 2018 while Halifax has predicted that there will be growth from 0% to 3% in the 12 months that lie ahead.

Many factors impact on the UK property market
It has to be remembered that there are many factors impacting on the property market. There is no doubt that the wage squeeze being experienced across the country will leave many potential property buyers holding off from making a major decision. There is also the fact that there is a high level of uncertainty in the economy and of course, Brexit is still a factor impacting on the market.
However, it may be that the shortage of supply of property will continue to be the factor that sees property prices rising. Add in the fact that there is a high level of employment in the UK and that mortgage rates are historically low and there are arguments to suggest that house sales will continue at a good rate in 2018.
If you are looking to get advice and guidance on the property market, with a focus on London in particular, come and speak to Loft Style Properties. We are property market specialists in the capital and we look forward to helping you make an informed decision.
Tags: February, London, UK, Mortgage, Online, Property, First Time Buyer, Hot Spot, Affordable, Lettings,