Monthly Archives: May 2010

How to build an extension on your home

Seeking Planning Permission for alterations/extensions to your home or for a new build, if you have not been involved in such matters before, can be rather daunting for some people. It is important to bear in mind a few guidelines and I mention a couple of these which are important to note before any works start.
(1) Don?t progress any works on the project in mind before you have researched what Planning Permission, or other Authority you need. You can be made to remove/ or the Local Authority will take action to remove any/all building works in some cases, at your expense, and it is not advisable to rely on Retrospective Planning Permission being given for any building project deemed to need Planning Permission.
(2) You could need Building Regulations Approval, even if you don?t need full Planning Permission.
A reputable Builder, will of course know Building Regulations details, and you should note it covers such things as structural requirements, energy efficiency, fire safety, damp proofing etc.
An experienced /reputable builder will progress with you all the requirements of any building project concerning Planning Permission, Building Regulations and Public Utility (Electricity/ Gas/ Water) concerns from the planning stages to completion of the works.

As Safe as Houses?

Some positive news from the Council of Mortgage Lenders suggests that this year so far, repossessions and mortgage arrears have both reduced. This time last year, repossessions stood at 13,200, compared to the 9,800 for the first quarter of 2010.

Although we are warned not to become complacent as we cannot be certain what lies ahead with our economy. People have lost their jobs but somehow managed to meet mortgage payments due to the continually low interest rates, while some have had help and support from the Mortgage Rescue Scheme. Let?s hope our newly formed Government recognise the importance of helping homeowners to keep a roof over their head.

Rising market delivers blow to First Time Buyers

House prices have risen for the fifth consecutive month, bringing the annual UK rise to 9.7 per cent and the average house price to ?205,598.

As the prices increase, it becomes virtually impossible for young people who haven?t had the opportunity to save a large deposit, unless they have had some help from relatives, to even get within sniffing distance of the property ladder. With wages not increasing either, potential first-timers are destined to remain in rental properties.

Perhaps the new Government will make a difference? Capital Gains Tax is due to be increased; meaning investors and the like may want to offload their properties to avoid the higher rate from next April. Also, the scrapping of Home Information Packs may encourage more properties onto the market, but these things take time.

Cash boost for Buy-to-Let investors

Reports have suggested that buy-to-let lending will almost double to ?15.8 billion by 2012 if the demand for private rents increases as expected.

One of the biggest lenders to landlords has increased loan-to-value limits to 80 per cent for the first time since 2000, which gives borrowers a choice of better rates.

Another buy-to-let lender has said that the private rented sector needs to expand … yet it is being inhibited by the lack of available finance.

A collective of the country?s biggest landlords, investors and lenders have called on the new Government to change the tax system so that institutions are encouraged to build on a larger scale to cater for this increase in demand.

Should we have to pay for people to be Green?

There may be a rise in domestic fuel bills of up to 21 per cent to look forward to if the proposed renewable heat incentive gets the go ahead for April 2011.

The incentive will benefit those who choose to install devices such as ground-source heat pumps, solar thermal water heaters or biomass boilers and all energy bills will increase to cover the subsidy.

While we should all have a commitment to carbon reduction, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has said that none of the carbon savings expected under the scheme would be cost effective and, at best, be unnecessarily expensive.

What will happen to house prices this summer?

The recent fall in house prices after the recent recovery is a strong reflection of that renowned economic law of supply and demand. With the average man in the street becoming increasingly confident that his largest asset has been regaining much of its lost value, the average man in the street has decided to cash in and sell up, the property that he has been trapped in for the last few years.
One thing that the economists can often overlook is that although sometimes it may not make sense to sell or buy at a particular point in the property cycle, many people are far more motivated by their own unique personal circumstances than the value of their home. Many in the property sector now believe that this year will be a ?flat year for house prices?, and in my opinion that is probably a very good thing.

Continued signs of better mortgage deals and availability?

Mortgage brokers are becoming more positive that they will have a better selection of products to guide their customers through as 2010 continues. There are many reports from mortgage brokers that lenders are becoming increasingly responsive, with the period that they turn around mortgage applications decreasing. There has also been some increase in the numbers of deals available with a selection of attractive fixed rates coming to market.

More new build property developments

Property development is no longer the dirty word it has been since the beginning of the down turn, so what?s changed? Well a number of factors have caused the builders to start building again, for residential house building of new build developments a combination of pent up demand and a very slightly easing in bank finance for speculative residential development funding have been instrumental. The world of commercial property development has been bolstered by spending on several large projects and works for the 2012 Olympic Games.
This is great news for the construction industry but an early rally is not always a sign of a medium term recovery or normality in the property sector. We need to remember we have recently come from a very low base and we need to focus for a sustained recovery.

Commercial property looking like a better investment?

Recent reports point to a near 70% increase in take up levels on that of the previous year, and great news is that the Midlands has accounted for nearly 60% of that take up figure. In fact the Midlands have already exceeded last year?s total figures and we are only in May. This just proves that old adage ?investors have got to put their money somewhere?. These figures are based on industrial unit take up on units exceeding 100,000 sq ft, but reports also show an increase in the take up of retail units.
The take up of retail units is also evident with one of Stoke-on-Trent?s more innovative property investment companies reporting 2 new lease deals being signed with a further in the pipe line. This will leave that company with no vacant stock, and one eye on acquisitions.

Buy to let lending criteria loosens

Some of the buy to let mortgage providers are quietly increasing their loan to value rates, you will notice some lenders dropping the deposit required by buy to let buyers by 5%. This may sound like a small detail but it will immediately make some deals stack that buy to let purchasers would have previously have not been able to complete. These deals are also available for re-mortgage, this will mean many more landlords will be able to re-finance and draw cash from their battered portfolios. We all know when landlords draw cash the majority cannot resist the next buy to let bargain, again breathing new life back into the property sector.