Category Archives: Mortgages

Staff 12th July

New promotions, appointments and staff moves as leading estate agent just keeps on growing

After winning the title of Wales Lettings Agency of the Year at The Lettings Agency of the Year Awards 2016, independent estate agent Dawsons has gone from strength to strength.

In recent months the firm, which has eight sales branches throughout Swansea and south west Wales offering a wide range of property services, has made a number of new appointments. Dawsons is pleased to announce two new additions, Robyn Lewis and Dafydd Spear.

“Robyn joins our highly successful auction department bringing a wealth of experience, boundless energy and enthusiasm, three factors that mean Robyn can easily and confidently handle any residential or commercial property queries. With a very broad knowledge of the housing market and experience spanning a number of years in the industry we also welcome Dafydd to complement our very busy Morriston team,” said Joanne Summerfield-Talbot, Director of Residential Sales at Dawsons.

It’s not just new team members that Dawsons is celebrating, there has also been a variety of promotions and moves affecting current staff. Emma Bolton has transferred from the firm’s successful Marina branch, where she worked in sales and lettings, to their Mumbles branch to take on the role of Branch Manager. Emma’s drive, determination, energy, and vast knowledge and experience in the housing market makes her the perfect staff member for the job.

Joanne added, “Due to the continued growth of our business we have made a number of internal moves throughout our sales department for existing key staff to provide additional support with their vast knowledge and experience, and for some of our newer members these moves will help with their progression and advancement within Dawsons. We wish all of them the best of luck in their new roles.”

Chris Marina Office01

To buy or rent – the great debate that rumbles on

It is one of life’s great debates that often dominate our lives year on year: is it better to buy your own home or rent someone else’s?

The simple answer is: there is not right or wrong decision, but financial trends – a stable or unstable economy – will often dictate that decision.

Here Chris Hope, Senior Partner at Dawsons Estate Agents, weighs up the pros and cons of the buy or rent conundrum.

“People are always asking what is the best course of action when it comes to buying or renting,” said Chris.

“Of course personal circumstances will always dictate and every four or so years the buy/rent debate shifts one way or the other.

“To be perfectly honest at the moment it is probably a 50/50 scenario when looking at a decision to buy or rent.”

Just to put into context Chris gives an example of a three-bedroom terrace in the Morriston area of Swansea.

At around £100,000 to buy that would give you a £385 per month on a typical 25-year mortgage with a 10/15% deposit. That would compare to £500 rent per month.

“So looking at the averages there is not a great deal of difference when you take in consideration the buyer’s initial outlay with a deposit,” reflected Chris.

“Looking at it historically – 20 years ago those that rented were those who couldn’t afford to buy.

“But whereas there has been a social status element with owning your own home it’s nowadays become a lifestyle choice. Renting is now socially acceptable, and to put that into perspective in our Marina Office we only have one or two lettings properties at any one time. The demand is that great.

“Renting now gives young professionals flexibility. The fact the house needs painting or decorating is not longer and issue. You can just move!

“The culture has definitely changed – renting is a socially accepted way of living. Renting has given people freedom and gives you flexibility and latitude, especially when a career may take you around the country.”

But where rent gives you flexibility and no real ties buying is seen more and more as an investment. For instance fairly recent figures from Santander Bank indicated that ‘lifetime renters’ who never manage to climb on to the property ladder are likely to hand over around £300,000 to private landlords during their lives.

“But rental does look attractive especially when you look at people who have bought at the wrong time have been caught in a negative equity situation – that brings it’s stresses and strains,” added Chris.

“Despite that, compared to other countries such as USA and Germany we are still largely a nation of homeowners. Some people see an investment in a property is an extra pension at a time when pensions cannot be relied on to fulfil financial needs in retirement.

“There is still an advantage on buying a property because of the basic economics of what it costs to buy compared to cost of rent.

Having a mortgage-free environment is a comfort blanket.”

To put that into perspective a recent survey from HSBC talked of a growing divide between property ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.

Analysing that the generation of owners who bought in the early 1980s tended to become mortgage-free at 56. Recent buyers – average age 29 – are expected to be mortgage-free at 60, whereas young people who say they do not expect to be able to buy until age 35 are likely to be approaching 68 before they own a home outright.

In conclusion Chris says: “There is no right and wrong to be honest – but it changes its balance determined by financial stability.”

Continue reading

Oliver Adair MAB

Mortgage prices are at record lows – is now the time to take one out?

Analysts have announced that there may never be a better time to take out a mortgage, with figures showing that rates have nearly halved over the past 12 months.

With lenders in an ongoing mortgage price war as they try and persuade people to choose their mortgage deals over their competitors’, the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, looks at how potential borrowers could use the next six months to their advantage when buying a property.

“Swap rates can directly influence the interest rate that you pay on your mortgage, and last year the general consensus was that the Bank of England was going to increase the Bank Rate from its record low of 0.5%, which caused swap rates to increase in preparation. However, this increase never happened which has caused swap rates to tumble back down, thus providing lower interest rates for mortgage deals,” said Oliver Adair from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

“With the market finally beginning to catch-up on the slowed activity from last year and house prices continuing to increase, there is an air of confidence around lenders, hence the raft of cuts.”

Banks and building societies are also finding that they have surplus money due to the Funding for Lending Scheme. Launched in 2012, the Funding for Lending Scheme originally allowed banks and building societies to borrow cheaply from the Bank of England on the condition that they then use some of the money to offer mortgages to homebuyers, though it is now focused on funding lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“With the current low level of inflation and the Bank of England concerned that lifting the Bank Rate would destabilise Britain’s ongoing recovery, it is looking increasingly more likely that interest rates will not increase until sometime in 2016,” explains Oliver. “This leaves lenders to fight amongst themselves in a thriving market full of previously struggling homebuyers hoping to take advantage of the low rates.”

The war will continue and fixed-rate deals may well stay at their record low rates for the coming months, alongside typical variable rates that have halved over the past 12 months, and five-year fixes that could go below 2%.

Oliver added, “The rate war is showing no sign of dwindling any time soon and with various new lenders entering the market, competition is heating up. Over the next few weeks, rates could reach levels that may not be seen again for an extremely long time. But the question is – what’s next for interest rates?”

We currently sit at 0% inflation – teetering on the edge of deflation. Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, announced at a conference in Frankfurt last week that the next move for interest rates will be up, but chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight added that a likely rate increase won’t occur before the early months of 2016.

“Whilst it is looking like low rates may be around for the next few months at least, they could vanish as quickly as they appeared so it is important that you seek the advice of a professional mortgage adviser who can give you advice specific to your circumstances,” concluded Oliver.


What does a Conservative government mean for housing?

So, the Conservatives have won the majority vote in Parliament and David Cameron is set to return to Downing Street as Prime Minister once again. But after this

somewhat surprising victory, how will homeowners, prospective buyers and landlords stand to benefit from the refreshed government?

Amid all of the parties’ manifestos, first-time buyers found themselves at the helm of attention. Labour pledged to give first-time buyers priority on new homes built for a period of two months and the Liberal Democrats proposed a ‘Rent to Own’ scheme where first-time buyers built up shares in their homes through renting.

The party that matters though is the Conservatives. David Treharne of Mortgage Advice Bureau looks at what the Tories plan on bringing to the table.

What have they proposed?

Their flagship policy, albeit a controversial one in the industry, is the expansion of the Right to Buy scheme which will see tenants of housing association properties receive huge discounts, allowing them to consider purchasing their homes.

1.3 million tenants could qualify for discounts of 35 per cent up to a maximum of 70 per cent up to a maximum of £102,700 in London and £77,000 across the rest of the country.

Help to Buy ISA

Announced in the Budget in March, come the autumn, hopeful and prospective homeowners will receive a Help to Buy “savings account” that will see the government top up £50 for every £200 saved towards a deposit, up to a maximum of £3,000.

Aspiring homeowners under a Conservative government would have access to a Help to Buy Isa, which would top up £50 for every £200 saved towards a deposit, up to a maximum top-up of £3,000. This was announced in the March Budget.

Only available for the next four years and being introduced in the autumn, the new savings account will only be available to consumers who are yet to buy their first home and will have no limit to how long people can use the accounts for.

First-time buyers based in London will be able to use the savings to buy properties worth up to £450,000, whilst the rest of the UK will see a ceiling of £250,000.

Discount homes for first-time buyers

David Cameron has pledged to offer up to 100,000 new homes to first-time buyers under the age of 40 at a discount of 20 per cent.

The ‘starter homes’ initiative has been created to encourage home ownership among young buyers and to boost construction of new homes by building on brownfield land – land previously used for commercial uses or industrial purposes.

While this means that, if you qualify, you will be able to afford a property that you would have previously struggled to, it should be noted that you will not be able to sell the home at full market price for five years after you purchase it.

A London Land Commission will also help release brownfield land owned by the public sector in the capital for building by promising a £1bn brownfield regeneration fund to unlock sites for around 400,000 homes.

With the general election now over and done with, new policies from the Conservatives will be coming through thick and fast which is why it is important to speak to a professional mortgage adviser who will have the latest information to help you through the mortgage process.


Overpayment – is it something worth considering?

With the ongoing mortgage rate war, there is some debate over whether now is a good time to pay off your mortgage early. Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, discusses the ins and outs of early repayments and overpayments.

“Credit cards and unsecured loans are prime examples of debts that charge high rates of interest, with some having interest rates that are much higher than that of your mortgage. It is always more beneficial to pay off these sorts of debts before considering paying off your mortgage, being mindful to not revert back to them once you have paid them off,” said David Treharne from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

Those contributing to a pension scheme may also be considering using their savings to pay off their mortgage a little earlier. The government now tops up your contributions with tax relief, and if the company you work for participates in specific pension schemes, they may also match your payments into a pension pot.

David added, “The sooner you begin to pay into a pension pot, the quicker your retirement pot will grow. So, if you find yourself with money to spare, it may be worth considering using your savings to add to your pension for the future rather than pay off your mortgage early.”

Have you thought about what the monetary consequences would be for your family if you were to pass away? If you have dependants who rely on your income to cover your mortgage, life insurance can help provide for them if you were to die, so this may be something worth putting your spare money into instead of paying off your mortgage.

If you are serious about overpaying your mortgage then it is important to consider any charges that may be incurred. Ensure that you check your mortgage deal carefully, you may need to pay an Early Repayment Charge (ERC), though some lenders allow you to overpay by up to 10% a year without any penalties.

“When interest rates are as low as they are now, overpaying on your mortgage will mean that you will have a smaller amount to be charged on when rates do eventually rise. It doesn’t just mean that you may have to pay less in the future, you could possibly pay off your mortgage completely – sometimes years earlier than the original end date. With prices constantly changing, it is important that you seek the advice of a professional mortgage adviser who can talk you through what is right for your personal circumstances,” concluded David. Continue reading

Oliver Adair MAB

The lowest inflation rate on record – How could it affect you?

Sitting at its lowest point since records began, inflation in the UK now sits at 0%. In the short term, this could be good news for most of us – we feel richer and, technically, we are, but we are also teetering on falling into deflation, which wouldn’t be good at all. Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, explains why.

“With inflation announced as zero, interest rates are likely to be set lower for longer and there is, of course, the possibility that the record low base rate could also fall even closer to zero. The low interest rates will encourage people to continue borrowing money, helping the economy to grow and inflation to increase,” said Oliver Adair from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

Inflation is affected by a number of factors, ranging from household goods and video games to transport. However, with the prices of oil rising slightly from their lowest in six years in February, the price of fuel didn’t really affect the rate of inflation in the UK. That particular trait fell to the ever-increasing strength of the sterling against the euro, thus reducing the cost of imports.

“If these low prices continue for too long, we could find ourselves in deflation,” explains Oliver. “If this was to happen, we could become accustomed to tumbling prices, meaning we wouldn’t spend as much, as we hope that the item we were going to buy today will be even cheaper tomorrow. This could create a ‘chain reaction’ effect as the economy would then become motionless and we could be facing another recession before we know it.”

With oil prices continuing to pick up, we still have a slight cushion against deflation at the moment. For now, average wages are growing by just under 2% per year, and with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) showing that prices haven’t risen at all, you will find that your wages will go further.

The rate rise is also likely to be delayed as the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will no doubt want to see how much zero inflation affects wages.

“With the delay in the rate rise, now could be a good time to consider your next steps, be it looking for your first home, remortgaging on your current property or adding to your portfolio. Whatever the case, professional advice should always be taken from an independent mortgage adviser,” concluded Oliver. Continue reading


First-time buyers to receive help with deposit for first home

In light of the 2015 Budget, David Treharne of Mortgage Advice Bureau discusses the new Help to Buy savings accounts announced by Chancellor George Osborne.

First-time buyers will get £50 for every £200 they save towards a deposit for their first home.

Announced in the budget, first-time buyers are to receive a new ‘Help to Buy ISA’, which will see the government add £50 to every £200 buyers manage to save towards a deposit.

Only available for the next four years and being introduced in the autumn, the new savings account will only be available to consumers who are yet to buy their first home and will have no limit to how long people can use the accounts for.

The account will also be available per person rather than per home, which means that couples looking to buy their first home will receive double the amount.

The accounts will come with no minimum monthly payment, though it should be noted that a maximum of £200 can only be saved in a month. The government has also capped the bonus they will pay in at £3,000.

First-time buyers based in London will be able to use the savings to buy properties worth up £450,000, whilst the rest of the UK will see a ceiling of £250,000.

An example of how the scheme could work was given by the chancellor George Osborne delivering his Budget: “A 10 per cent deposit on the average first home costs £15,000, so if you put in up to £12,000 – we’ll put in up to £3,000 more.

“A 25 per cent top-up is equivalent to saving for a deposit from your pre-tax income – it’s effectively a tax cut for first time buyers. We’ll work with industry so it’s ready for this autumn and we’ll make sure you can start saving for it right now.”

Head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, Brian Murphy, believes that the Help to Buy ISA is a: “crowd-pleasing move and another sign of greater commitment to improving accessibility in the housing market.

“First time buyers will welcome the measure. But in many cases, their next step will be to ask which of the many schemes and incentives on offer is the best suited to their needs?

“Offering the savings bonus on purchases worth up to £250,000 outside London or £450,000 in the capital looks far more sensible than the maximum £600,000 limit that currently applies to house purchases through the Help to Buy equity loan or mortgage guarantee.

“The £600,000 cap has proved unnecessary for the vast majority of homebuyers using either scheme to secure a mortgage. The new ISA is a welcome innovation – but the fact that different rules and timescales exist for the various elements of Help to Buy has the potential to cause confusion, and first-time buyers will want to understand how they work in tandem.

“We are sure to see more pre-election policy ideas to support first time buyers, and politicians must work closely with industry to ensure new measures are as clear and accessible to first time buyers as possible.

“Anyone confronting the array of choices is likely to find that expert advice is essential to make headway and ease their path towards homeownership.”

David Treharne is from Mortgage Advice Bureau – for further information call: 07501 720320 E mail: or visit:

Chris Hope

Swansea estate agent reveals positive impact of Stamp Duty changes on the wider market

According to a recent estate agency survey, revised changes to the UK Stamp Duty Land Tax, as outlined by the Government in December, have already had a positive impact on the housing market.

In December 2014, the Government announced it had cut Stamp Duty Land Tax for the majority of homebuyers, with the aim of making payments fairer. The Government estimates the tax reductions will help 98% of those who are liable to pay for the duty.

In a national survey conducted among its members, Relocation Agent Network found 66% of respondents said that the tax cuts have had a positive impact on the market.

When asked to explain the ‘positive impact’, the majority of survey respondents (68%) indicated the number of buyers entering the market had increased by up to 10%.

Interestingly, aside from the Stamp Duty changes, respondents said that ‘consumer confidence’ was another positive trend impacting the market (63%).

The national network of independent estate agents also asked its members whether the revised Stamp Duty changes has led to price increases for properties that were traditionally around the £250,000 threshold. Indeed, 75% said that they had. When asked to specify on the price increase, a resounding 91% reported up to a 10% rise.

Chris Hope from Dawsons, a member of Relocation Agent Network in Swansea, said: “As Relocation Agent Network reports a rise in the number of buyers entering the UK housing market, this survey brings good news for sellers.

“If you have a property to sell, contact us today. We’re Relocation Agent Network’s appointed Local Expert for Swansea which means we have access to out of town buyers moving into the area.”

Oliver Adair MAB

Will the stamp duty reformation have an impact on your property buying habits?

As with any government statement, there were a few surprises in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, and not least was the reformation of stamp duty as we know it. In what was his last statement before the general election, Osborne announced that there is to be a complete overhaul of the system.

Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, explores the changes in stamp duty and how it will affect buyers across the nation.

Introduced in 2003, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a transfer tax charged when purchasing a property. The old way of calculating stamp duty was by using what was known as a ‘slab system’. It would begin when a homebuyer purchases a property valued over £125,000. Any properties bought for up to £250,000 would then be charged at 1%.

The stamp duty charges then rose to 3% for properties worth more than £250,000 and up to £500,000, and continued to rise to 4% up to £1million, 5% up to £2million and 7% over £2million.

“The problem with this system was that, if a buyer paid just one penny over the £250,000 threshold, they would be charged triple the amount of stamp duty than if they were a penny under,” said Oliver Adair from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

So what’s changed? Under the new system, the amount of stamp duty owed will work in a tiered way, much like income tax. For example, if you bought a property worth £130,000, you would pay £100 stamp duty as you are only paying 2% on the £5,000 over the stamp duty free threshold of £125,000.

If you bought a property worth £255,000, you would still pay the 2% stamp duty on the £250,000 as it is still in the 2% bandwidth of £125,001-£250,000. This purchase would equate to £2,500 in stamp duty charges.

Oliver added, “The new rules will undoubtedly affect all buyers. In fact, 98% of homebuyers could potentially save thousands of pounds when purchasing a property. However, homes that cost over approximately £937,000 may see their stamp duty increase.”

The new thresholds mean that when purchasing the average family home of £275,000, a buyer will save £4,500. The changes affect the whole of the UK until April, which is when the Scottish parliament unveil their own tax reforms.

“With any introduction or change in the housing industry, it is advised that you speak to professional independent mortgage adviser to discuss how you will be affected,” concluded Oliver.

For further information please contact Oliver on 07917 146430 or email Alternatively, please visit

David Treharne

As the government introduces 100,000 new homes, could the Starter Home initiative be your ticket to an affordable first time buy?

Since the credit crunch of 2008, housebuilding has notoriously wilted. It is no secret that, whilst the number of new homes in construction has slowly improved since then, the market is still some way off where it really needs to be.

Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, explores how the new government scheme will help first-time buyers in the New Year.

“Although there are no quick fixes, increasing the supply of homes on the market needs to be a focus in 2015 if conditions are to improve, specifically for first-time buyers. This is why the new Starter Home initiative announced by the Prime Minister on the 15th December should be welcomed with open arms,” said David Treharne from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

As part of the push to help people onto the property ladder, the Starter Home scheme will offer new homes with 20% discounts to 100,000 first-time buyers. New home builders currently face an average bill of £15,000 in Section 106 affordable housing contributions and tariffs when building properties, often adding tens of thousands to the final cost of a property.

However, under the scheme, which starts early this year, the properties will be built on under-used land, which will allow developers to build the homes free from any planning costs or levies thus lowering the price.

David added, “The homes will not be able to be resold at full market value for a fixed period of time which means that the savings should then be passed onto the next home buyers. The scheme is exclusive to first-time buyers who are under the age of 40. Prospective homeowners who are interested in the initiative will be asked to register from the beginning of this month – six months earlier than originally planned.”

Increasing the supply of housing is not a simple process, but by bringing forward more available land whilst assisting first-time buyers at the same time, the scheme is certainly another positive move by the government in an attempt to combat the shortage.

Saying this, the initiative will not solve the housing crisis on its own. The initiative should be viewed as another short-term solution that has been brought in to bring brownfield land back into use in a way that will provide an almost instant relief to the market by increasing the number of available homes, something that is so desperately needed.

“What the next government plan to do to attempt to end the crisis is yet to be seen, but in the current climate this scheme should be seen as a helping hand in what is currently a severe problem throughout the UK market,” concluded David.

To find out more information about the Starter Home initiative is it advised that you seek independent mortgage advice from a professional financial adviser.

For further information please contact David on 07501 720320 or email Alternatively, please visit