Chris Hope

SWANSEA ESTATE AGENT JOINS NEW PROPERTY WEBSITE ONTHEMARKET.COM

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

David Treharne

As record low interest rates continue, should you get onto the property ladder sooner rather than later?

We are now familiar with the headline ‘Bank of England keeps interest rates at record low of 0.5%’, in fact it’s been the same story since March 2009, some 68 months ago. But with this news comes a greater responsibility for the buyer.

Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, explores how the prolonged interest rates could mean that sooner could be a better time to buy than later.

In a survey by the Money Advice Service, 69% of people said that they did not have a plan for when interest rates do eventually rise despite 84% thinking that an increase would have an impact on their finances. But right now, homeowners and prospective buyers have other things on their minds as they have been presented with an opportunity to obtain some extremely cheap mortgages as a result of the Bank of England’s decision to delay the rate rise.

“The new lower rates come as a result of the UK’s low inflation levels, the stagnation of the Eurozone and the slowing of the national housing market. The aftermath of the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) also seems to have calmed as lenders begin to try and meet their yearly targets – hence the wave of lower rates – with some deals falling as low as 1.49%,” said David Treharne from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

Existing homeowners who do decide to take advantage of the current low rates need to consider the penalties that come with exiting their current deal. Many lenders will enforce fees and charges. Under the newer mortgage rules, application timescales are also longer than before, so homeowners will need to ensure that they are financially prepared for a lengthier process.

“Deciding when to take out a mortgage is always going to be a risk. The low rates that are with us at the moment may stay with us for a while, but there is a greater chance of them disappearing as quickly as they appeared. With the rise of interest rates being a popular topic for debate and opinions frequently changing, it is important to get advice from a professional mortgage adviser when discussing your next steps,” concluded David.

For further information please contact David on 07501 720320 or email davidtr@mab.org.uk. Alternatively, please visit www.dawsonsproperty.co.uk

 

We are now familiar with the headline ‘Bank of England keeps interest rates at record low of 0.5%’, in fact it’s been the same story since March 2009, some 68 months ago. But with this news comes a greater responsibility for the buyer.

Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, explores how the prolonged interest rates could mean that sooner could be a better time to buy than later.

In a survey by the Money Advice Service, 69% of people said that they did not have a plan for when interest rates do eventually rise despite 84% thinking that an increase would have an impact on their finances. But right now, homeowners and prospective buyers have other things on their minds as they have been presented with an opportunity to obtain some extremely cheap mortgages as a result of the Bank of England’s decision to delay the rate rise.

“The new lower rates come as a result of the UK’s low inflation levels, the stagnation of the Eurozone and the slowing of the national housing market. The aftermath of the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) also seems to have calmed as lenders begin to try and meet their yearly targets – hence the wave of lower rates – with some deals falling as low as 1.49%,” said David Treharne from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

Existing homeowners who do decide to take advantage of the current low rates need to consider the penalties that come with exiting their current deal. Many lenders will enforce fees and charges. Under the newer mortgage rules, application timescales are also longer than before, so homeowners will need to ensure that they are financially prepared for a lengthier process.

“Deciding when to take out a mortgage is always going to be a risk. The low rates that are with us at the moment may stay with us for a while, but there is a greater chance of them disappearing as quickly as they appeared. With the rise of interest rates being a popular topic for debate and opinions frequently changing, it is important to get advice from a professional mortgage adviser when discussing your next steps,” concluded David.

For further information please contact David on 07501 720320 or email davidtr@mab.org.uk. Alternatively, please visit www.dawsonsproperty.co.uk

 

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Gowerton property goes through major renovation

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The hall before and after renovation, and  Richard Stait and Jason Applin in the plush new kitchen)

It is a property transformation which would look perfectly at home on the BBC’s popular Homes Under The Hammer programme.

Number 12, Victoria Road in Gowerton – sold at auction by Dawsons Property and now on the market again with the same estate agents – has gone through an impressive make-over from run down, uninhabitable shell to a sought-after family home which has been renovated to an impressively high spec.

When developers John Stait and Co bid successfully for the end-of-terrace house at Dawson’s auction they paid £70,000. To the untrained eye, the sellers looked like they may have achieved a good sale price because the three bedroom property was in a state of disrepair.

The wall was coming down in the master bedroom, the kitchen was literally under the stairs and the garden and drive were overrun by eight feet high brambles.

Jason Applin, the project manager at Number 12, a seasoned developer, admitted it was one of his more challenging projects.

“It had to be gutted; taken right back to the bones – it needed a total rewire, the plumbing need a complete overhaul and the rendering and plastering had to be redone,” he said.

“Not only were some of the walls unstable but there were other things we had to overcome. For instance you had to go through the third bedroom to get to the bathroom.

“It was challenging project but I’m extremely happy with the outcome – it has exceeded expectations.”

So much so that Dawsons have put the house on the market for £145,000.

“When you take on a property like Victoria Road you have to have a real vision for the renovation and we pride ourselves in turning around properties such as this one,” explained Richard Stait, director of John Stait and Co.

“A lot of credit has to go to Jason for his ability to produce impressive renovations like Victoria Road.”

Richard says that the process in the case of Number 12 has been helped by their relationship with Dawsons from auctioneer through to vendor.

“During the auction process Dawsons were extremely helpful and when it came to putting the house on the market they seemed the most impressive of the agents we contacted.”

Dawsons have noticed a continuing trend towards buying at auction both from professional and amateur developers.

“Buying and selling at the Dawson’s auction has become more and more popular over the last couple of years. It has become a real growth market,” said Julie Lawry Auction Manager at Dawsons.

“We have noticed a trend where the typical purchaser is now an amateur investor looking for an initial ‘buy to let’ property to finance a long term pension scheme. These purchasers are now competing with the professional investors creating competitive prices in the auction room.

“The unsuccessful professional bidders at the auction are often utilised as project managers because of their in depth experience of renovation and development, this can be invaluable to the new investor.”

From left to right: Laura Waite, Lorraine Evans, Branch Manager, Felicity Curtis, Angie Bastin, Charlie Williams

Estate agents in bedtime charity appeal

From left to right: Laura Waite, Lorraine Evans, Branch Manager, Felicity Curtis, Angie Bastin, Charlie Williams

CHARITABLE staff at Dawsons Estate Agents in Llanelli have raised more than £150 for Children in Need by coming to work in their pyjamas.

The office staff greeted clients wearing onesies and night wear.

Dawsons had looked to make £150 from the day but exceeded expectations by raising £182.35.

Lorraine Evans, Dawsons Branch Manager said: ‘’Dawsons are proud to support BBC Children in Need.

“The team came up with the idea of holding a pyjama day only two days before and managed to pull everything together.

‘’It was a great day and the whole team made a huge effort for a worthy cause. We’d like to thank everyone who donated and we are delighted to have exceeded our target.’’

David Treharne

How will the new EU regulations affect ‘accidental’ landlords in the UK

With many homeowners being left a property in an inheritance or forced to take out a mortgage to buy a second home because they are unable sell their original property, becoming a landlord accidentally is easily done.

Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, explores how the new EU regulations will affect ‘accidental landlords’ in the UK.

Accidental landlords have in recent years formed a significant proportion of the Private Rental Sector (PRS). Forced into the market since the 2008 recession, a higher than expected percentage now remain through choice.

Ricky Purdy, Director of Lettings at Swansea’s leading estate agent Dawsons, adds: “Financial restraints and commitments in recent years have in these cases eased, with financial benefits and returns from these properties meaning the continued letting is now the preferred option. Accidental landlords are now in many cases purposeful landlords within the PRS.”

Despite their transition from accidental to purposeful landlords, new EU regulations could reinstate pressures felt some years earlier.

“Those who find themselves inadvertently becoming landlords will have to pass new affordability tests – similar to those faced when applying for a residential mortgage. The changes are to be instigated by March 2016, and, similarly to the Mortgage Market Review (MMR), the new rules will see lenders assess both borrowers’ incomes and expenditure in much greater detail to ensure that they can afford a loan,” said David Treharne from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

As accidental landlords do not make a business decision to let their properties out and do it as a result of circumstance, the Government feels that borrowers should still be seen as consumers and need to be covered by an ‘appropriate framework’.

Out of the 1.6 million buy-to-let mortgages currently in existence, a fifth are accounted for by accidental landlords and last year 151,000 buy-to-let mortgages were taken out.

“Under current rules, buy-to-let mortgages do not follow the same regulations as residential mortgages and most are calculated in relation to the amount of rental income that is to be made from the property,” added David.

The EU laws were not originally going to affect the British mortgage market, however, the plans will now form part of the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) – a scheme that will be brought in at the same time as the EU regulations in March to regulate other loans that have homeowners’ properties as security.

“Under the new EU rules, affordability will be assessed and it could also mean that older homeowners may not be able to take out a buy-to-let mortgage as lenders often require borrowers to repay the whole loan back before they retire. It is important for those looking to move into the buy-to-let sector as landlords to seek advice from an independent adviser,” concluded David.

Oliver Adair MAB

How will the new loan-to-income cap affect first time buyers?

Increasing house prices, restrictive lending and rising deposits have all been problems faced by first-time buyers in recent years. So, with the new loan-to-income cap now in place, how are newcomers to the market going to be affected?

Here the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker, Mortgage Advice Bureau, reveals how the cap will impact on the currently thriving first time buyer market.

“Recent figures released by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showed that first-time buyer numbers were at a six-year high, showing that a once impossible market has rebuilt itself to become a competitive arena once again,” said Oliver Adair from Mortgage Advice Bureau.

“Now, thanks to the Mortgage Market Review (MMR), responsible lending is at the forefront of the industry and each lender has been monitoring their affordability limits closely in light of the recovery of the sector.”

Enforced at the beginning of October, the loan-to-income (LTI) cap began when the Bank of England stated that loans over 4.5 times the income of the buyer must account for no more than 15% of a lender’s new lending total.

“Affordability remains the most important factor when assessing a potential borrower and every lender will have its own procedures to carry out to determine how the caps are implemented,” added Oliver.

Despite the added regulatory changes, the number of first time buyers rose by 27% in the first half of this year, and with the Help to Buy scheme, increasing employment levels and growth in higher loan-to-value lending, the confidence in the market may potentially overpower any effects the LTI cap will have in the coming months.

“The effect of the cap on the market and on the first-time buyer arena in particular will continue to be a topic of discussion until the cap has settled and we can see what difference, if any, it will have made,” concluded Oliver.

For further information please contact Oliver on 07917 146 430 or email olivera@mab.org.uk. Alternatively, please visit www.dawsonsproperty.co.uk

Estate agents raises dough for breast cancer charity

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It was an event that The Great British Bake Off’s Mary Berry would have been proud of.

Independent estate agents Dawsons held a pink bake sale and champagne bar to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Care campaign.

The event was held at Dawsons’ Mumbles branch in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

There were plenty of delicious homemade cupcakes and glasses of bubbly on offer in exchange for a suggested donation.

Pastel pink balloons and bras were displayed in the window to mark the occasion. The staff also visited shops in the Mumbles area to spread the word and raise extra funds.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month exists to help women become better aware of the common symptoms and seek help as early as possible, which increases their chance of survival.

Dawsons representative Julie Elliot said: “We enjoy supporting the Breast Cancer Care campaign. It’s such an easy activity to get involved with and one that we all love to do.

“This year, all the staff are wearing pink as well as selling pink cupcakes and champagne.

“The girls here have even hung their pink bras in the window to raise awareness. They’re all brilliant ways to raise money and have fun at the same time. We’re proud to support such a worthy charity.”

Swansea & south Wales estate agents blog