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The Help to Buy Scheme

Taking the first step on the London property ladder

Buying your first home in London is often believed to be beyond the reach of many young professionals – and it certainly isn’t easy. But softening house prices, record low mortgage interest rates, discounts from developers and the London Help to Buy scheme – mean that this could be the best opportunity many professionals will have to make their first move onto the property ladder.

We are working with an increasing numbers of first-time buyers keen to take advantage of the current situation, assisting them throughout the homebuying process, from helping them find the right type of property within their budget to navigating the Help to Buy scheme and the mortgage application process.

What is The Help to Buy Scheme?

The Government’s Help to Buy Scheme is aimed at first-time buyers and existing homeowners who wish to buy a new-build property, providing part of the equity needed in the form of a loan which means the buyer needs to borrow less from a mortgage company and needs a smaller deposit.

The Government will lend you up to 20% of the cost of a new- build home – or up to 40% for homes in Greater London because London properties are more expensive than in the rest of the country. You must put down a 5% deposit on a new-build property valued at up to £600,000.

You must not own any other property when you buy the new property. And you must not sub-let the property or enter a part-exchange deal with your old home.

For more information, go to www.helptobuylondon.co.uk

What should first-time buyers be aware of?And how can Benham & Reeves help?

Getting the best deals

Trawling through websites to uncover the most cost-effective options for buying your home can be daunting. For example, how do you know if you are being offered a competitive interest rate? What fees should you be paying?

You also need to accurately work out your budget – based on your salary, your deposit and any additional loan from the Help to Buy scheme.

If you’re spending up to £600,000 on a property, you want to make the right decisions – so expert advice is essential. We can work with you to make sure your paperwork is in order and you are getting the best deals.

Finding the right property

Next, the property itself. Where would you like to live – in which area and which Zone? How far from public transport do you need to be? What type of amenities would you like nearby?

Which new build developments are located in this area? Ideally, what type of facilities should they have – private parking, a gym, a concierge? What is the annual service charge? What is important to you?

We can provide expert knowledge when it comes to the property search, advising on suitable areas and developments within your budget – and your ideal commuting distance.

We work extensively with many Tier 1 developers so we can also negotiate on your behalf and help you take advantage of the many discounts currently on offer.

And we have a ‘little black book’ of trusted mortgage companies and solicitors who you may wish to work with to take care of the financial and legal side of matters.

Furnishing your new home

Finally, if you want your new hometo look its best, our professional furnishing company can supply stylish but economically priced furnishing packs to suit any budget and size of property. It’s a simple and surprisingly cost-effective way to furnish a new property from scratch.

Taking the first step

If you are considering buying your first home and would like someone you can trust to help you throughout every step of the process, then please get in touch with our sales team on 020 3280 6400 or email us. They can guide you throughout all the aspects of this important stage of your life and take the stress and worry out of this major financial investment.

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The London property sales market – November 2020

Lockdown has prompted many people to reassess what they want from their property purchase. Some Londoners are looking to move to a new part of the Capital, while others are looking for more space. Whatever the location, flexibility is more important than ever and a home now has to be multi-functional and able to quickly adapt to its owners’ changing needs – whether this is for working from home, home-schooling or simply having some outside space to enjoy. Demand for residential properties in London remains good, driven by many people’s need to move to a new home that can adapt to these new circumstances. Affordability remains a key issue for many though so the price bracket up to £500,000 is still the busiest, accounting for the majority of transactions. Both domestic and overseas buyers driving demand for properties Domestic buyers are driving much of this demand, but overseas buyers are also active, encouraged by the continuing weakness of the pound, Stamp Duty savings and the desire to purchase before the additional Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge of 2% for overseas buyers comes into force in April 2021. We continue to see enquiries increase from Hong Kong buyers wishing to move to London following the UK government’s plans to grant Hong Kong BN(O) visas which launches in January 2021, allowing Hong Kong nationals to work and study in the UK for five years and eventually seek British citizenship. These buyers are looking for a safe haven for their money, but also a home if they plan to move here permanently. At the moment, North West London appears to be very popular, mainly because there are strong Chinese communities already in this part of London. Some buyers are also looking to ‘try before they buy’ and are considering renting for one year and so we have been working with our lettings branches to accommodate those requests. The award-winning Beaufort Park property development in Colindale is a great option for individuals and small families. You can rent or buy here at affordable prices and anyone interested should contact us for further details. Millbrook Park in upmarket Mill Hill, NW7, is another project attracting a lot of interest from overseas investors. Our Hong Kong office will be showcasing this outstanding scheme for its launch on November 21 & 22 at the Mandarin Oriental and will welcome any local investors who want to come along and meet us. To make an appointment can book here Buyers reassess their priorities For many of us, our homes have become a real sanctuary this year and this is unlikely to change. Finding the right home is more important than ever and this applies whether the buyer is a homeowner themselves or an investor who is looking to buy a property that offers renters a home that meets their needs. Much has been talked about the way some Londoners are considering moving to the suburbs or beyond, looking for a different, perhaps quieter lifestyle. But there are still many professionals, often singles or couples, who love the buzz of living in central London and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. These professionals have good jobs in the City or central London and may work long hours, either from home or in the office. Increasingly they want to commute to work on foot, or perhaps by bike, but not on public transport. They may wish to push their budget by buying a property with an extra bedroom where they can work comfortably from home. They will almost certainly want some outside space, a balcony or a terrace, and they would like to be close to a park or other green space. The convenience of having shops and other amenities within easy reach is high on many wish lists now as many prefer a lifestyle where everything they need is nearby, without the need to travel too far. Developments such as Nine Elms Point in Vauxhall, Beaufort Park in Colindale and Imperial Wharf in Fulham all meet these criteria and, being situated amidst beautiful, landscaped gardens, they offer buyers a great quality of life. So these are the types of development that we are finding popular with buyers and renters at the moment. Beating the Stamp Duty holiday deadline We expect the market to get busier as we approach the Stamp Duty holiday deadline next Spring and already some clients are reporting to us that they have been told to expect longer than usual delays for conveyancing, carrying out building surveys and local authority searches, due to the increased demand from buyers. In some cases, buyers are waiting 20 weeks to complete – the average is usually 12 weeks. So my advice to anyone thinking about buying a property soon, is to plan well ahead and ensure you can exchange before the March 31 deadline. Contact our sales office to discuss any requirements you might have.

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