Swings and Roundabouts
An upturn in the property market is not far away. Get your finances in order, get borrowing lined up and be ready to grab the opportunity
Column by Elizabeth Moore
It may not seem as if it will ever happen but believe me, an upturn in the property market is on its way. I have sat in this waiting room of a market many times before, while doomsayers tell us that property will never recover as a commodity and that we should all move into ISAs and eco spreads, but then a shift happens, a Chancellor resigns or is sacked, or in this case, Brexit finally gets decided one way or another and uncertainty evaporates.
While uncertainty is undoubtedly the enemy of any market, we have managed to get more than two years into the most important post war negotiations any government has been involved in without a major collapse in prices. Given the range of attacks by the Chancellor on the buy to let market, the exodus of Russian money from London leading to the cooling of the super prime market and the level at which you have to be earning to even get onto the property ladder now, this is extraordinary. Owning a home is harder than ever, being a landlord now involves paying more tax than ever as well as a surcharge of three percent in stamp duty just to buy a new property, and yet people look around them, explore the Help to Buy scheme, or start their journey up the ladder elsewhere.
It’s true that the younger generation are different to any that has gone before in their attitude to property buying, often choosing life experiences over bricks and mortar, but amongst them there are those who are exploring ways to own their own dwelling and are thinking of novel ways to do it. In fact, if the range of options that are available to young people and first time buyers had been available when I was young, I would have used them. Part ownership through Building societies is the starting entry level scheme which allows you to choose any property on the market and buy only a portion of it, allowing you to benefit from a rise in the market value when you could otherwise not afford to buy outright.
It is assumed that we all understand what is available in the way of government help when purchasing a property, but I don’t think it is. I will be using next month’s column to lay out clearly and in layman’s terms exactly what the different schemes are, and how they work. In the meantime have a look around, prices are low due to stagnation in the market, and there won’t be another opportunity to get onto the property ladder as good as this one for years to come. Keep your eyes open and watch for houses that have been on the market for a while. Get your finances in order, get borrowing lined up and be ready, a year from now you will be kicking yourself if you don’t.