Buy-To-Lets vs First-time buyers

Buy to Let Buy To Lets vs First time buyers






Last year saw a rise from 4.4% to 18.2% in the proportion of buy-to-let mortgage enquiries of the total mortgage marketplace. Ironically for George Osborne, this had a direct impact on first time buyer enquiries as they fell by 3.7% annually to 23.5%.

It would seem for now at least, that the buy-to-let market has “gained a chokehold” over first-time buyers, as many struggle to get out of rented accommodation and on to the housing ladder.

With the Stamp Duty deadline looming, buy-to-let enquiries as a total percentage of the market have increased considerably from the start of this year, with year on year growth of over 16% and a 62% increase compared to December.

The main reason why the BTL market remains strong, especially in London and the conurbations, is because it is one of the few ways that solid yield and capital growth can be secured whilst interest rates remain so low. Anyone reading my post on bank deposits will already know about this.

I would also argue that The Chancellor continues to not think his policies through properly. Offering Pension Freedoms last year only provided the flames to the already dry tinder box. This policy facilitated pension fund values to be used to acquire buy-to-let properties.

Good UK property stock is limited, and whilst it remains so, its premium, subject to location, is strong.

Over the past 20 years I have seen spiralling property values move out of the price range of first-time buyers earning good combined salaries. This has meant that lenders have had to be more flexible with their lending multiples. This is not a good thing as it encourages borrowers to borrow to their maximum level of affordability, and to expose them to future inevitable interest rate rises.

With the introduction of The Mortgage Market Review last year, this lending strategy has been reined in. But this is to the cost of the first-time buyer.

It will be interesting to see what happens after April 1st.

I am predicting that the damage has now been done to the property market by George Osborne’s Pension Freedoms decision. Only building affordable homes will improve things for the first-time buyer now as investors will just ‘price in’ the increase in Stamp Duty and the reduction in tax relief on mortgage payments.

High yielding properties offering solid capital growth will continue to be appealing to the retired whilst interest rates are low and uncertainty remains in the Global equity markets as to where to make a solid and reliable profit with minimal risk.

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Rowena ChowdreyPhotographer at Depth of Vision



Live Next Door To A Prince Of England

For ardent monarchists, it’s hard to imagine what could be better than living next door to the future king of Britain.
Ashworth House ext 2674120b1 Live Next Door To A Prince Of England
Buy Ashworth House near Tetbury in Gloucestershire and you could live the dream – the stone property, on sale for £1.95m, neighbours Highgrove, the Prince of Wales’s official country residence.
Ashworth Houseloun 2674129c Live Next Door To A Prince Of England
Tthe two properties share a boundary fence between their adjoining fields and owner Kelly Luchford, CEO of of PR company Luchford APM, claims the Prince and his family are often glimpsed around the pretty Cotswolds area – though they’ve never popped round to borrow a cup of sugar.
highgrove 1880586c Live Next Door To A Prince Of England
Luchford bought the property, which sits opposite the Beaufort Polo Club, five years ago. “Prince Charles discreetly drives around Tetbury and his sons play charity polo matches opposite and on occasion drink at the Cat and Custard Pot,” she says.
Ashworth House Cot 2674131c Live Next Door To A Prince Of England
“We were told when we bought Ashworth that the princes often ride past the back of our stables on their way to polo – but I I think this was probably a sales pitch from the former owner!”

The house, which has undergone extensive modernisation under Luchford’s ownership, offers four large bedrooms and a spacious kitchen/breakfast room which opens onto an orangery with views of the garden. In the grounds, there is a small cottage which offers two further bedrooms and equestrian facilities including stables and a manège – perfect for budding polo players.

The house is not the only home with a royal connection currently on the market. The modest north Wales farmhouse rented by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for three years is soon to be available to new tenants, as the couple move into lavish apartments at Kensington Palace with their new baby.

Ashworth House is on sale through Chesterton Humberts for £1.95m

Blue Watch

. A new scheme, Blue Watch, has been launched by the Chief Fire Officers Association. The scheme, supported by UK fire and rescue services, will provide advice, support and products. The scheme will allow landlords to have their properties checked by their local fire service or trusted partner and validated to confirm that it’s a safer place for tenants to live.  Requirements include fitting carbon monoxide alarms, smoke alarms, emergency lighting and other safety equipment.


Facebook integration for your convienence

facebook like button 512x34111 300x199 Facebook integration for your convienence

Houseswift, has now integrated with the largest social media site in the world, yes you guessed it, you can now register and login using your facebook account, and soon you will be able to advertise your property on your wall, or send propertys you think your friends will be interested in looking at directly to theirs.

And of course you will be able to “like” some of the stunning properties advertised on

Why not register today, being a member allows you exclusive access to create Tennancy agreements, Section 21′s and Section 8′s and Save them in your “My Documents” so you can refer back to them at any time without having to did through your paperwork or search through your PC. You can also save your searches, recieve notifications on new properties in your search parameters and much more.

And dont forget, you will get one Free property listing allowing you to Sell or Rent your property.

Why not join houseswift now, no reason not too.

Clampdown facing homeowners with large grounds with governments new ‘Garden tax’

Those with more than 1.23 acres of land face having to pay a 28 per cent levy on gains on the sale of a home.
large garden tax Clampdown facing homeowners with large grounds with governments new Garden tax
The new stance by tax authorities, reviving the enforcement of rules on the statute book since the 1960s, threatens to upset the long-held assumptions of many that profits from the sale of one’s main home are exempt from tax.

Accountants reportedly said the number of inquiries from HM Revenue and Customs about tax due on gardens had gone up from a couple a year to three a month.

It is feared that the Government could be moving towards a cap on tax-free gains as in America, where only $250,000 of any profit is exempt and homeowners have to prove they have lived there for at least two years.

The emergence of the garden tax clampdown comes ahead of George Osborne’s autumn statement this week. He has come under pressure from Liberal Democrats to bring in a mansion tax on high-value property.

Currently, householders can sell their main residence and grounds free from Capital Gains Tax if the garden is less than half a hectare (1.23 acres).

Even if the grounds are bigger, they can claim full relief if it can be shown that they are “required for the reasonable enjoyment of the house as a residence”.

HMRC denied that it had “launched a campaign to look at private residence relief” but admitted it was checking on transactions using a computer programme called Connect, which enables it to cross-check stamp duty records paid by homebuyers with CGT declarations by sellers.

Gary Heynes, tax partner at Baker Tilly, told the Sunday Times: “Our clients have had to demonstrate the grounds they are claiming for are an integral part of the property with no hedges or streams that separate them from the residence.”

In an example of the application of the rules, a homeowner selling a £2.3 million house in Kent with eight acres might find that HMRC only allows three to be sold free from CGT.

If the other five acres were worth £180,000 of the total price, compared with a value 10 years ago of £60,000, the seller would have to pay tax at 28 per cent on the £120,000 gain – £33,600.

Brits still not switched on to energy saving, shows new study.

saving energy Brits still not switched on to energy saving, shows new study.Despite ever-increasing fuel costs, the British public just can’t seem to get motivated on energy saving, regardless of our good intentions. According to a new study, while 94% of us say we want to become more energy efficient, only 37% of us currently rate ourselves as such – and it’s the basics that are still eluding us.



With energy costs at an all-time high and four of the ‘big six’ energy firms putting up their prices again this week, it is surprising to learn that 40% of us still leave the heating on all day and a third of us leave windows and doors open when the central heating is on.


Two thirds of people say they leave the TV on when they’re not in the room and almost half leave it on standby overnight, while 63% leave their mobile charging all night. Almost half of those asked say they still leave the tap running unnecessarily when brushing their teeth or washing up.


Although rising energy prices are quoted as being one of the biggest concerns for UK homeowners, almost a fifth of us still don’t have energy saving light bulbs, 29% overfill the kettle when boiling it, and only 46% of us would use extra layers of clothing or blankets when it gets cold instead of turning up the heating.


The study, which was conducted by Anglian Home Improvements to mark Big Energy Saving Week (22-27 October 2012), found that 40% of us still don’t have energy efficient windows or doors, even though around 30% of a home’s heat is lost through windows and doors, and only 44% of us have an energy efficient boiler.


Yet 82% of people say if they could make one simple change to become energy efficient they would, and 88% say that if making that change would be guaranteed to save them money over the next five years, they would do it.


TV presenter and environmental science expert Philippa Forrester has championed environmental issues for many years. She says, “In light of the latest news about rising energy costs, heating our homes and using electricity is going to cost us more and more. How high do prices need to get before we think about making fundamental changes to the energy efficiency of our homes? We can all stop money leaking out of our roofs, windows and doors and by reducing our energy consumption, we’re also reducing our bills and our carbon emissions, so we should all try to make it a top priority. Saving energy and saving money – it’s a win-win situation.”


Melanie McDonald, Head of Marketing and Communications at Anglian Home Improvements, says, “The cost of running a household is radically increasing due to rising energy prices and food inflation. So as we head into the winter months and energy consumption increases, it’s more important than ever for people to look at ways they can improve their energy efficiency. There are lots of quick, easy things we can all do straight away and there are also many ways in which homeowners can improve the efficiency of their property for the longer term. Installing the best thermal windows on the market, for instance, will ensure they get the maximum return on investment and benefit for many years to come.”


Anglian Home Improvements is an Energy Saving Trust Recommended supplier and offers a broad selection of stylish and energy efficient products, including windows, doors conservatories, roof trim, solar panels and much more. For more information and to view the full product range, visit

How broadband speeds can affect the value of your house – download our podcast.

Brought to you in conjunction with Houseswift &

Forget location location location….Brits now want broadband broadband broadband Following the Government’s announcement of a £114m investment in faster broadband, study shows high speed internet now ranks near the top when it comes to buying a new house. But how much do broadband speeds vary throughout the UK and even within regions and cities?

A good broadband connection has superseded the likes of off street parking and access to local amenities to be listed as one of the most deciding factors when buying a new house.

The Government recently announced a £114m investment in broadband across 10 UK cities to make Britain’s broadband the fastest in Europe by 2015. But in 2012 broadband speed varies greatly across the UK, and it seems these variations are having a huge impact on the property market.

That’s according to a study of more than 1,500 homebuyers across the UK, and in the first trial of its kind, the results have been tested in independent estate agents to measure the impact of broadband speeds on the buying decisions of home movers.

Knowing a property had good broadband speeds was routinely ranked above the likes of off street parking, access to amenities such as shops, the local pub and even proximity to a doctors surgery by respondents in the study commissioned by

When questioned, one in five revealed they had actively checked broadband speeds when evaluating a house – before doing a recce of the local area.. One in ten house seekers revealed they had gone so far as actively disregarding a property because it had a poor internet connection.

In further evidence of the importance placed on broadband, one in five revealed they arranged an internet provider before connecting gas or TV. In fact, setting up a broadband connection was second only to finding a new electricity supplier.

The trend was further evidenced in a trial carried out between and independent estate agents Delaneys, in Essex, where broadband speeds were included online, alongside a property’s price, number of bedrooms and dimensions. Over a four week period, viewing requests for those properties showing broadband speeds were twice as high as those without. Analysis of online traffic figures also revealed these properties attracted more views than those without.

In addition to making a property more appealing, the study also revealed that broadband could help to add to the value of a house. One in five respondents said they would be happy to pay more for a property, and over a third claimed they would pay between two and five per cent extra to have a high speed broadband connection. It would add as much as £15,000 on a property worth £300,000.

broadbandspeedswhenbuying – Right Click to download podcast

Squatting Criminally Illegal From 12:00pm Tonight

Squatting will become a criminal offence tonight, carrying a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a fine of £5,000, or both. The new law applies to empty houses as well as occupied ones.

ABANDONED Squatting Criminally Illegal From 12:00pm Tonight

There are 720,000 empty houses in Britain, reported The Independent. This followed a government consultation into the matter after a string of high-profile cases reported in the press.

The paper also reported that ministers said the move would end squatting for good, protecting homeowners.

The new law, reported The Guardian, is introduced under Clause 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act. It only affects residential, not commercial, properties. What are currently known as “squatters’ rights” are to be made redundant. Prosecutors will have to prove that squatters entered the building knowing that he or she was a trespasser, and – crucially – had the intention to stay. The paper also reported that the number of squatters in the country was estimated at 20,000, though it was hard to be accurate. The Mail explained that police were unable under previous laws to evict squatters after they’d moved in, so that the homeowner’s only option was a civil action – “which could be time consuming, expensive and stressful.”

How to let a property

How to let a property
Whether you consider yourself a landlord or not, if you collect money in exchange for someone staying in a property you own, you are a landlord.

As a landlord you want to know the best way to let a property. Being a landlord doesn’t need to be a minefield. Tenant issues, tenant disputes or tenant problems whatever you label them you need to keep these to a minimum.

Whether you let your property privately or through a letting agent, as a landlord there are a number of key steps you must follow to make sure you are protected.
It’s important to do your research and ensure you’re charging the right amount of rent, have a tenancy deposit in place and have adequate insurance cover. Key questions you should be asking yourself are: How to furnish my property? What kind of a tenancy deposit protection do I need? Do I need to tell my mortgage lender I’m renting my property?
Luckily Total Landlord Insurance has put together a video with a check list on everything you need to have in place before you let your property.