It’s been quite a year for the housing market. A three-month moratorium on all new transactions during the spring was followed in early summer with an explosion in activity as lockdown was lifted and the market reopened. It really is time to look forward to Christmas!
A lot of that new demand was triggered by the Chancellor’s decision to kickstart the housing economy by waiving Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT or, simply, Stamp Duty) on purchases up to £500,000 that completed by March 31st next year.
That has come at a price, of course, as lenders, local authorities and professional services including surveyors and solicitors struggling to keep up with the demand for loans, searches, surveys and conveyancing.
The economic impact of Covid and the lockdowns that it triggered has also prompted people to look at their personal finances and wider financial circumstances and assess whether they benefit from the right kind of insurance cover to futureproof their liabilities.
As we stand at the threshold of another new year – and one that will bring its own set of challenges, not least because of Brexit – it’s a good time for everyone to take stock of what their priorities might be in the medium to long term.
There seems to be no end to the rate at which house prices are climbing – according to online analysts Real Homes, growth is currently at 7.6%, up from 3.7% in August – and the market remains lively as buyers look to exploit the remainder of the Stamp Duty holiday.
If moving home during the early part of 2021 is a priority for you, and you want to benefit from the lower taxes that property transactions attract, then you ideally need to start that process in earnest before Christmas.
It’s not impossible to complete a house sale and/or purchase in 12 weeks, but given the delays I’ve already mentioned and the potential for further delays that may result from unforeseen and unpredictable problems in a chain, it will be tight.
Your house move priority Christmas list should include:
Identifying a professional mortgage adviser who will be able to identify a mortgage product that suits your needs and who will be able to complete your application efficiently so as to give you the best chance of securing your loan
Finding a solicitor or conveyancer who can satisfy you that they’re committed to working with you and your vendor’s conveyancer to get the deal over the line by March 31
Finding the property you want to buy, if you haven’t already done so – and then, if you have something to sell, instructing an estate agent who gives you confidence that they can find what is known as a ‘proceedable’ buyer (in other words, someone who’s property is already under offer and who has secured a mortgage offer in principle)
At Oportfolio, we have access to a wide range of mortgage products and will work with you quickly and efficiently to identify the product that we believe is suited to your needs not just today but also in the future.
For many people, 2020 brought a threat to job security and income.
According to the most recent data available from the Government and the Office for National Statistics, 1.2 million jobs were furloughed during the nine months from March while 315,000 roles were made redundant.
In many cases, by the time the reality of the situation people were facing became clear, it was too late to take advantage of the options around personal financial protection that exist.
Although the economic impact of Covid-19 focused attention on the job market, it may also have prompted people to think more widely about their ability to meet ongoing financial commitments or provide for loved ones if they were suddenly unable to work.
If financial security is on your Christmas priority list then it’s worth considering one or more of the following:
Income protection insurance replaces a proportion of your gross salary each month if you find yourself temporarily unable to work through injury or illness. These payments are tax-free and can often come close to the policyholder’s net salary.
Critical illness cover
Also known as cancer cover, this policy offers a tax-free lump sum pay out upon diagnosis of a critical illness. The conditions covered vary from insurer to insurer, but generally they include most cancers, some heart conditions and debilitating muscular or motor illnesses. The money can be used for any purpose.
Life insurance is usually offered in three forms:
Level term – the pays out the same amount regardless of where in the policy life cycle the claim is made, and the monthly premiums are the same throughout
Increasing term – payments and premiums increase during the lifetime of the policy to reflect the larger financial commitments that may come with age
Decreasing term – payments and premiums decrese during the lifetime of the policy to reflect shrinking financial liability (e.g. a reducing mortgage balance)
There are also other policies available – including private medical insurance and mortgage protection insurance – which may be of interest to you.
If you’d like to talk about your priorities in the coming year, come and talk to our friendly team to discover your options.
Oportfolio Limited is an appointed representative of Primis Mortgage Network, a trading name of First Complete Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Oportfolio Ltd fees are payable on application. We charge a broker fee for property purchases of £495 and a remortgage/further advance fee of £395. Our product transfer fee is £295.