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: davidtr@mab.org.uk or visit: www.dawsonsproperty.co.uk

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.”


Leading estate agent offer special software system for instant conveyancing costs

Dawsons Estate Agent has adopted a state of the art software system revolutionising the way conveyancing is calculated for the customer.
Dawsons has implemented the Hoowla Panel Management Software Solution to help save time generating quotes and improve its reporting and feedback from solicitors.

Based in Swansea with around 115 members of staff, Dawsons is a well established independent estate agents specialising in sales, lettings and property auctions.
The firm boasts an enviable reputation for providing excellent service and value for money to both private clients and commercial organisations.

The Hoowla Conveyancing Panel Management Software Solution will be utilised across all of Dawsons branches, ensuring a secure and consistent approach to conveyancing for clients.

“Hoowla Panel Management Solution improves the way estate agents and solicitors work together and promotes a modern approach to conveyancing. We are delighted that Dawsons have installed our system,” said Hoowla CEO Adam Curtis.

Chris Hope, Senior Partner at Dawsons, said: “From our point of view our industry revolves around innovative software and keeping in touch with people. Hoowla is an excellent way for us to be involved with clients and solicitors.

“It’s a huge benefit for the house purchaser most of all and increases efficiency all round.

Hoowla is a growing software provider for the conveyancing industry. Developed in the UK and using the latest technology to provide cost effective solutions to Estate Agents and Solicitors.

Dawsons will be in full control of which solicitors they include on their panel.

Where solicitors are making use of Hoowla’s other case management tool Dawsons and their clients will also be able to be kept informed at every stage of the conveyancing process automatically.


Established estate agent promotes four staff to key roles

Leading Swansea estate agents Dawsons has appointed four members of staff to associate level.

The promotion of Joanne Sommerfield, Lorraine Evans, Alison Morris and Matthew Mason highlight the success in Dawsons’ growth and expansion. The appointments increase Dawsons’ associates from two to six.

“The success of any business is to acquire, inspire and promote those staff who see the same commercial vision of how a business grows. These are four of those exact people,” said Chris Hope, Dawsons Senior Partner.

“Alison, Joanne, Lorraine and Matthew all have different skill sets but collectively they all look for growth opportunities within their departments, to create the highest ‘customer service’ levels which in so doing, creates additional revenue from client referrals.

“At Dawsons, we are very fortunate to employ many staff who are keen to be ‘the best of the best’, and we look forward to rewarding many others.”

Alison joined Dawsons in 1988 spending most of that time working in Dawsons’ office in Sketty where she has been branch manager for more than 10 years.

Joanne left school at 17 and joined a local agricultural firm of estate agents and progressed through the ranks to eventually head-up their Swansea operation being promoted to sales manager. She joined Dawsons in 2003 working in the Swansea operation and auction department and is now branch manager at the Gorseinon office, a role she has had since 2007.

Lorraine became an estate agent in 1997 after several years in retail management. During her early years in estate agency she worked in Mumbles, Swansea and Killay before joining Dawsons at their Morriston office in 2001. She managed the Gorseinon branch in 2006 for a short period before going to Llanelli in 2007 to manage the sales and rentals departments.

Matthew joined Dawsons in 2006 having graduated with an Honours Degree from Swansea University. He was employed within the Professional Surveying department and then gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Surveying which enabled him to be elected to Membership of the RICS and become a Chartered Surveyor in 2010.

He now heads the Commercial Department and undertakes the majority of professional valuations for Dawsons. He also acts as an expert witness in litigation cases.


The countdown commences – Swansea’s newest and best purpose built student accommodation set to open in September 2015

With summer fast approaching, new and existing students across Swansea will be looking ahead, not just to their plans for the holidays, but even further to the start of the new term. But unbeknown to many the search for the perfect student pad needn’t be a chore.

Set to open its doors in September 2015, Park Buildings Swansea offers state-of-the-art accommodation for students already living in the city and those new to the area. The development consists of 24 purpose built studio apartments, each of which provides a great place to live, study and relax.

Swansea-based Dawsons is the independent estate agent behind the new development, and their team of property experts will be taking reservations on a first come, first serve basis.

“Park Buildings is a truly unique addition to Swansea and its student population needn’t settle for second best any longer when it comes to finding a new home from home for the new term. The studio apartments come complete with a concierge service, cleaning service, laundry facilities and storage facilities, so you have everything you need to start or continue your education in Swansea,” added Ricky Purdy, Director of Residential Lettings at Dawsons Estate Agents.

Park Buildings is conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from transport links and local amenities. The accommodation is also beautifully designed with open plan living and sleeping areas and their very own kitchen and shower rooms.

“The studio apartments are available with all-inclusive rent so you can concentrate on your studies. There are only 24 apartments available so hurry and reserve yours today,” concluded Ricky.

For further information on Park Buildings, please contact Dawsons’ Swansea office on 01792 646060. Please also visit http://www.parkbuildings.info/ for more details.

Chris Hope


Dawsons is proud to announce it is featuring all of its properties at OnTheMarket.com, a new property website which launched on Monday, January 26th 2015 as a direct competitor to Rightmove and Zoopla.

OnTheMarket.com is a mutual organisation focused on providing an outstanding service for property searchers, estate and letting agents, vendors and landlords. The venture has the support of more than 4,600 estate and lettings agency branches nationwide, including those of leading national, regional and local firms. OnTheMarket.com is expecting many more to join in the coming weeks after they have seen the website.

Estate and letting agents who have joined have moved hundreds of thousands of properties to OnTheMarket.com from other websites to create a unique set of listings which cannot be found elsewhere. In addition, many are choosing to launch their properties exclusively there first, at least 48 hours in advance of the other portals.

Neither Rightmove nor Zoopla can now claim their property listings cover the entire market because many estate and letting agents have left them to join OnTheMarket.com as the best platform to showcase their properties in the clearest and simplest way.

The property search at OnTheMarket.com is slick, simple, fast and state-of-the-art, compatible with the latest technologies. The website adapts seamlessly to fit the screen of any device being used to view it. There is no clutter from irritating and distracting third party adverts, nor any spam email.

Every property at OnTheMarket.com is marketed by a locally-based estate or letting agent because OnTheMarket.com knows the majority of the public recognises the benefits of having a local professional in place who can manage the sales or lettings process on their behalf. Also, there is no substitute for their detailed knowledge of a property, the local area, the current market conditions and the vendor’s/landlord’s personal circumstances.  OnTheMarket.com does not feature properties marketed by online-only agents.

Dawsons Senior Partner Chris Hope said: “We believe OnTheMarket.com will rapidly grow to become a major player in the portal market because it will provide a clean, crisp and simple search function and a highlyeffective platform for our vendor and landlord clients and be a great place to launch new properties onto the market.”

Ian Springett, Chief Executive of OnTheMarket.com, said: “We are delighted Dawsons has committed to OnTheMarket.com and we look forward to matching motivated buyers and tenants with all the properties our member agents are marketing for their clients in and around Swansea.”

Oliver Adair MAB

How has the introduction of Help to Buy in 2014 affected the wider property market?

The Help to Buy equity loan scheme, known as Help to Buy 1, was officially introduced in April 2014. The initiative has since been a huge success, giving buyers with small deposits the chance to get onto the housing ladder, as well as aiding the recovery of the housing market.

Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, explores how the introduction of the Help to Buy schemes has fared throughout 2014.

Only available on new build properties worth up to £600,000, the Help to Buy 1 scheme can be accessed by all borrowers. However, applicants must not have another property and cannot take out loans on an interest-only basis nor let the Help to Buy property out.

“To buy a house using the scheme, borrowers contribute a deposit worth 5% of the property’s value whilst the government provides a loan equivalent to 20%. The remaining 75% is obtained from a traditional mortgage lender. This means that a buyer with a £10,000 deposit could access finance which enables them to purchase a house worth £200,000 under the scheme,” said Oliver Adair from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme, known as Help to Buy 2, helps homebuyers with good credit records who can afford to purchase the property outright with a deposit as low as 5%. These include first-time buyers trying to get onto the property ladder and ‘second movers’ needing to move up the ladder to a bigger home.

The Help to Buy 2 loan is not available for buy-to-let landlords, second homeowners or for a shared ownership purchase.

Oliver added, “Data from our National Mortgage Index shows that the average deposit paid by a Help to Buy 2 applicant was just £7,856 in November 2014 – the lowest point of the year and 7% lower than the previous lowest point. This means that applicants need 89% less than those purchasing in the wider market, with the typical deposit being £68,828.”

After consistently reaching its targets throughout 2014, Help to Buy 2 has attracted buyers with lower salaries who are looking for more affordable properties. Alongside the new Starter Home scheme, which was announced in December, first-time buyers now have numerous opportunities to find varying affordable routes into the property market.

“To see how you could benefit from one of the government-backed schemes, you should seek help from a professional mortgage adviser who will be able to guide you through the steps and recommend the right scheme for your situation,” concluded Oliver.

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 olivera@mab.org.uk. Alternatively, please visit www.dawsonsproperty.co.uk

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 davidtr@mab.org.uk. Alternatively, please visit www.dawsonsproperty.co.uk

Swansea & south Wales estate agents blog