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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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What's happening in the London Property Sales Market - August 2021

At the end of June we saw the deadline for the government’s Stamp Duty holiday which is now being tapered down until it is phased out completely at the end of September.   And I am sure many homebuyers are wondering what effect this will have on the London property market.  But this is just one of the factors influencing the residential property market in London so let’s take a look at the broader picture. Looking beyond the Stamp Duty holiday Of course, the Stamp Duty holiday has had a major influence on the UK property market which has outperformed all expectations in recent months, with house prices across the country reaching record highs.  The average price of a home in London in May was £497,948, around £7,000 below March’s record of £504,384, but still £17,000 above the level at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.  And there is no doubt that the holiday contributed to the outstanding performance of the UK property market.  But it was only one of the driving factors. In London, the property market has not experienced a surge in demand to the same extent as other parts of the UK, with transaction levels remaining steadier and the gradual tapering of the scheme should ensure that there is little or no negative impact. As a result, we expect demand to remain consistent, and in fact, for momentum to build over the next few months due to other influences. Lockdowns prompt a shift in priorities Homebuyers’ changing requirements have also been a real catalyst in the buoyant London property market.  We have been spending much more time at home over the last 18 months, making us appreciate just how important our home is.  In particular, we crave more space – inside and out – as our homes become somewhere we can both live and work – and this has become a driving force in what we are looking for in our perfect home. In fact, space is now often more important than traditional requirements such as proximity to public transport and this is prompting some people to move further out where this space is more affordable than in central London. New ways of living – and working While there is always a lull in demand over the summer months, as people take their annual holidays – at home this year if not abroad – we expect enquiry levels to continue to grow as we move towards autumn, with strong activity prompted by workers returning to their offices (at least part time) and maybe considering a new area to call home.  We will see this trend continue as we all start to adapt to new ways of working – and living. Meanwhile, as travel restrictions ease, international buyers are considering a move back to London and perhaps buying a home rather than renting.  Of course, some of these will be executives moving to the UK capital as they are on secondment with their firms, while we are also seeing growing numbers of BNO passport holders from Hong Kong seeking a permanent move to the UK. Financial incentives influencing the London property market Increased demand has also been prompted by incentives such as the government’s 95% mortgage scheme, together with historically low interest rates.  While for overseas investors the weakness of sterling is probably the key driving force, bringing significant cost savings. In addition, many potential homebuyers have been saving significant amounts of money during the recent lockdowns.  Those who have remained employed have had nowhere to go and not much to spend their money on!  The Bank of England estimates the amount saved by individuals could be as much as £100bn.  This gives buyers a substantial deposit for either their first property or their next move up the ladder. Shortages of good properties across London And of course, a continuing shortage of properties in London and the UK generally contributes to the strength of the property market, keeping house prices buoyant.  The government says we need 300,000 new homes a year to meet demand yet on average we build only 250,000 – so demand continues to outstrip supply across the country. Larger homes being snapped up in Hampstead and Highgate Areas like Hampstead and Highgate are extremely popular and we've seen many corporate executives relocating to London with their families, thanks to the outstanding schools in both areas.   This year is no exception and the Hampstead residential property market is changing quickly.  We have been receiving a lot of instructions recently and these are selling well.  In particular, larger family homes (three/four bedrooms) are being snapped up by the domestic market, families mostly, who are keen to move to the area before the start of the September school term.  Some of these buyers have down-sized from central London homes and prefer the extra space they can get within their budgets and of course, being near the Heath is a real bonus. We desperately need more stock so if you are thinking about selling your property in Hampstead, please get in touch with our Hampstead Sales branch to arrange a free market appraisal of your property. Read more comment from Benham and Reeves in the national press If you’re interested in the London residential property market you won’t want to miss our regular market comments in the national press.   Our director, Marc von Grundherr, gives regular interviews to national newspapers including the Times, The Guardian, the Evening Standard and City AM, giving his perspective on the latest property news and trends.  One of the most recent is his contribution to an article in The Times about investing in a property along the route of The Elizabeth Line (Crossrail), outlining Marc’s own experience of investing at The Green Quarter in Southall. And of course, you’ll also find plenty of interesting articles by going to our News area where you can see recent press coverage. Are you planning to buy or sell a London property soon? If you are planning to buy a property in London soon, or if you plan to put your current property on the market for sale, please get in touch with our sales team to discuss your requirements or arrange a free market appraisal.

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