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04Dec

In his Autumn Statement this week, Chancellor George Osbourne announced a 3% surcharge on the ordinary rate of stamp duty, the land tax paid by purchasers of property in the UK.

This 3% increase above the normal rate, would suggest that the government is looking to raise the barriers to buy-to-let investors and those looking for second homes, whilst improving the situation for first time buyers at the lower to middle part of the market.

Whilst this may well be the case, the unknown would be what effect such a move will have on the availability of privately owned rental property to the market, and any potential increase in rents as landlords look to cover these increased costs. With a clear lack of council properties, and in fact any sort of affordable housing, private rental property is an important aspect of the property market for large numbers of people.

The move coincides with changes to Capital Gains Tax and tax relief available to private landlords.

It has brought strong comment from The National Landlords Association in particular, whose Chief Executive, Richard Lambert, commented "The Chancellor's political intention is crystal clear; he wants to choke off future investment in private properties to rent. If it's the Chancellor's intention to completely eradicate buy-to-let in the UK then it's a mystery to us why he doesn't just come out and say so".

On the other side of the debate, Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, said "We welcome measures to increase stamp duty for buy-to-let and second homes, and that this money will be spent to build more homes. But the Chancellor can't ignore the fact that home ownership schemes like starter homes or shared ownership won't work for many, so building more genuinely affordable homes to rent is still absolutely essential."

Time will tell whether the planned changes effect the market in a positive or negative way, but there will certainly be plenty of discussion and speculation in the meantime.

04Dec

As we head into winter and towards Christmas, it gives us an ideal opportunity to reflect on what has been a mixed but very busy year for us and the property market in Penarth.
 
On the back of a lacklustre end to 2014, the market has never seemed to get going this year, but having said that, instructions and sales are roughly level. Demand has certainly increased and maybe that is why supply appears on the low side. Many vendors are not willing to market their property until they have found the next one, and this is having a knock-on effect, creating somewhat of a stalemate in certain price brackets. Penarth continues to be one of THE places to live in Wales, and this popularity shows no signs of abating.
 
Community minded
We are proud to say that we have once again supported a number of local charities and organisations this year, donating money and our time to groups such as PODS, Penarth Hockey Club, Rugby Club, The Old Pens, Penarth Bowls Club, Marie Curie, All Saints Church, St Augustines Church, Cogan Coronation FC and Save the Children. We love Penarth and always take a lot of pleasure in helping out where we can.
 
Improved service

As we reported earlier in the year, Charles Wood has joined the business and we are now able to offer a wider range of surveys and valuations including Homebuyer reports. We have made a good start with regular enquiries coming through. Customers are really appreciating the fact that we can survey the property and talk them through the findings, rather than just issuing them a copy of the report and moving on to the next one. We can carry out surveys across South Wales, so feel free to give us a call to discuss your requirements.
 
The future
With the economic forecast still unclear, we do not expect next year to be wildly different. The demand for property locally will still be high, and the main issues will be surrounding the supply of new property onto the market. This imbalance continues to drive up prices, with lenders remaining circumspect and cautious with their values.
 
Here’s to 2015, and a positive and forward thinking 2016!

 

04Dec


David Baker and Company would like to announce the appointment of Charles Wood. Charles joins the company on the back of over 24 years surveying experience across South Wales. Starting with Cooke & Arkwright in 1991, Charles qualified as an Associate of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in 1998 and moved on to King Sturge in 2000 as a member of the Professional Department in Cardiff, with responsibility for both valuation and landlord & tenant matters. In May 2006 joined Countrywide Surveyors, carrying out mortgage valuations and Homebuyer surveys for both banking and private clients, throughout the whole of South, East and West Wales.  Since 2010, the majority of valuations have been in the Vale of Glamorgan, specifically Penarth, Dinas Powys and Sully, as well as areas of south and east Cardif



‘I am very pleased to have been able to appoint someone with Charles’ skill set and knowledge of the local area. Having worked in the valuation business across South Wales for a number of years, Charles will be able to offer our clients as well as those buying and selling through other agents an excellent service under the David Baker & Company brand. Charles is a local guy and I’m confident he will fit into our team really well’ – David Baker.

David Baker & Company now offer a range of property surveys, including Homebuyer reports for new or existing clients. For more information, please call 029 2070 2622 or email surveys@davidbaker.co.uk

04Dec

From Property Industry Eye http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/rental-homes-must-achieve-e-energy-rating-within-three-years-legal/

Regulations have now been laid in Parliament to require private rental properties to be brought up to a minimum level of energy efficiency from April 1, 2018.

It means the clock is now ticking for such homes to achieve an EPC rating of at least E.

Energy and Climate Change minister Ed Davey (Lib Dem) said that these “new tough rules for the private rented sector” would benefit around a million tenants.

The changes mean that F and G rated properties will become illegal to let out.

But Spark, the specialist energy provider to the private rented sector, warned that the requirement could prove a disaster.

The firm estimates that one in ten private rental properties will become illegal for rental purposes in the next three years, and that energy efficiency upgrades cost on average £9,000 per property – more than a year’s average rent.

Chris Gauld, CEO at Spark, said: “This legislation has the potential to burst the current buy-to-let boom.

“If landlords cannot afford these upgrade costs, which will run into thousands of pounds, then their rental property will be unlettable and void periods would inevitably follow.

“This could spell disaster for landlords and that is why we are urging them to check the EPC rating of every property in their portfolio and plan ahead for these added costs.”

He said it was important for the changes to be communicated early to landlords.

 

DAVID BAKER & COMPANY COMMENT

These plans may have a significant effect on the supply of rental properties, and will certainly make potential buy-to-let investors reappraise the type of properties they are purchasing. Older, period properties will fall foul of this legislation and more modern and efficient builds will be prefereable. Anyone with rental property already should look into this and check their current energy efficiency rating.

04Dec


As part of his Autumn Statement for 2014, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne has announced measures to reform the current Stamp Duty Land Tax system.

From midnight tonight, Wednesday 3rd December, the pricing structure will be as follows, with money being paid in sections across relevant bands.

£0 to £125,000 = 0%

£125,000 to £250,000 = 2%

£250,000 to £925,000 = 5%

£925,000 to £1,500,000 = 10%

£1,500,000 and above = 12%

This means that there should no longer be the large differences in Stamp Duty payments at the changing of bands, and in general purchasers stand to save money. Examples are....

Price £172,500    PREVIOUS £3,450       NEW £950        SAVING £2,500

Price £300,000    PREVIOUS £9,000       NEW £5,000     SAVING £4,000

Price £495,000    PREVIOUS £14,850     NEW £14,750   SAVING £100

Price £505,000    PREVIOUS £20,200     NEW £15,250   SAVING £4,950

So under the new system, Stamp Duty is not paid as a percentage of the total amount. Instead, buyers will not pay any tax on the first £125,000, then depending on the purchase price will be 2% on the portion up to £250,000, 5% on the portion from £250,000 to £925,000, 10% from £925,000 to £1,500,000 and 12% on anything over £1,500,000.

The Government has said that 98% of purchasers will see a saving, and having work out some quick sums this afternoon, all of our current vendors will save, and at an average of over £2,500. If you would like to work out what you will owe, here is a SDLT calculator from HMRC http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/tools/sdlt/land-and-property.htm

If you require any further guidance on this, please don't hesitate to give us a call on 029 2070 2622.

04Dec

David Baker & Company are extremely happy to sponsor the Cogan Coronation under 7s football team this season. Having always been keen to support local initiatives and sports team, this is the latest in a long line of activities that we have been involved with, and one that is very worth while. It is Cogan's first year team, and the encouragement of young people into sport is vital! Good luck to the team this year!

 


04Dec

Properties with Views

With the sun shining for (most of the time) this summer, we’re sure many of us have been taking the opportunities to get out there and take in some of the wonderful scenery Penarth and Sully have to offer. It’s times like this when you wish you could make the most of some of these views every day, and wake up to your very own piece of paradise. No is a great time to do just that, and with properties available in Northcliffe Drive, Whitcliffe Drive, Hayes Point, Victoria Road, Cliff Parade and Bradford Place amongst other locations, there is plenty to choose from.

The Perils of Moving House

David Baker & Company try our best to make things as easy as possible for anyone buying or selling their property, and whether you are a first time buyer, or downsizing from a bigger property, there are plenty of pitfalls out there. As they say, Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance and although you can’t legislate for all eventualities, it is increasingly important to do all your homework in advance. If you require a mortgage, seek some independent advice (Penarth has a number of good financial advisors) and make sure you know how much you are able to borrow. Whether you require a mortgage or not, it is always good to consult a qualified surveyor and ask them to give you a sensible view of the property you are intending to buy. Likewise, a good and proactive solicitor with expert local knowledge that you trust can make all the difference – don’t just go online and find the cheapest quote.

New Arrivals

The David Baker & Company team would like to announce two new arrivals. Firstly, Craig Jefferies, somewhat of a prodigal son, has returned to the business following two years working in Brighton and the South East of England with Strutt & Parker. As a result of the recent excellent performance of the company, Craig’s return adds some much needed ‘hands on deck’ and his experience and knowledge in the local market is priceless. The second new addition is a little less experienced, and was in fact born on the 10th July. Florence Baker is Richard and Kate’s second daughter and David’s second grand daughter. She has already spent some time in the office and feels right at home!

04Dec

Green Shoots

With many positive press stories in recent months regarding the property market in Wales and the rest of the UK, it would be easy to think that things are moving forward apace and prices are skyrocketing, with available houses at a premium and the number of applicants far outweighing supply. Although the market has been excellent in Penarth of late, it is certainly not the time to start panicking, and wondering whether you will ever find the right property to purchase. For buyers and sellers alike, the level of uncertainty over the housing market and the economy in general have provided doubts as to whether to enter the market. These doubts seem to have eased recently and with the outlook altogether sunnier, activity levels have risen. It is fair to say that the right house at the right price will sell well, but some properties find themselves in more difficult price ranges, or targeting more niche groups of purchasers and these can still prove difficult. Of course, prospective purchasers are still advised to be open-minded and think outside the box when looking at places to buy, while vendors are encouraged to be realistic on the price that they are asking. Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? Depends entirely on the house!


Investments

Bricks and Mortar have always been considered a safe place to invest your money. Whether it is hard earned savings or part of a pension fund, a good solid return that you can cash in when needed appeal to a wide range of people. Things are no different these days and with the best ISAs only returning 2% to 3%, and uncertainty over the future of pensions, many people are still looking to invest their future in property. You don’t need to be a property magnate in order to make the right choice, and Penarth has plenty of ideal investments just waiting for the right buyer. These can be flats or houses, and can need lots of work or be ready to move a tenant straight into. Whatever you are looking for, it is important to identify the type of property you require before going any further. Whether you like quaint period charm, or the efficiency of more modern builds, try not to look based purely on personal preference. Consider the kind of investor you are and pick a property that matches your financial needs rather than property preference.


Beside the seaside

As Estate Agents, we’re very lucky to work in such a great town, with more and more fantastic local businesses to go with some excellent scenery. As residents of Penarth, we all benefit a great deal from the town, and must ensure that we continue to use it to its full potential. We meet a great deal of people moving into the area for an array of reasons, but they all want the same thing, to live in Penarth.  They say that you never fully appreciate what’s on your own door step, but make sure you do this summer. Get outside and enjoy all Penarth has to offer, if nothing else, it helps to retain and improve the price of your property!

04Dec

(From WalesOnline)

House prices in all but one of Wales’ 22 local authority areas are still below what they were in 2007, research has shown.

In 19 of the council areas, there has been a double digit percentage reduction, a report from the Smith Institute think tank revealed.

Between November 2007 and October 2013, Blaenau Gwent showed the biggest percentage drop in house prices at 47.7%. That translates into a drop of £44,076 to an average house price in the county borough of £48,356 in 2013.

Monmouthshire was the only council area in Wales to mark an increase in house prices since 2007 – by a very modest 1.6%. In fact, the border county was the only local authority outside the South East of England to show any rise over the six-year period at all.

In the report, Smith Institute director Paul Hackett states: “The discussion about house price movements has recently been dominated by rising house prices in London and its hinterland. Our research clearly documents the ‘London effect’, with values above what they were before the financial crisis.

“But, what stands out from the data is that there are many places in England and Wales where values are low and house prices remain well below their 2007 peak.

“As the research shows, what we have witnessed over the past six years is the growth of two distinct and divergent housing markets: a London centric property market where house prices have recovered and in some cases soared; and the rest of England and Wales where prices are flat and transactions are low.

“Beyond the headlines of double digit price rises in inner London, the report is a salutary reminder that average house prices for the country (which discount inflation) remain below their 2007 peak.”

Mr Hackett said it was also important to recognise that the divergence in house prices was symptomatic of deep-rooted and persistent uneven economic development, with jobs and growth concentrated in London and the South East of England.

He said: “Increasing numbers of those looking to buy in these high demand areas will be excluded from homeownership.

“In those regions where prices are highest homeownership levels have been falling fastest. Moreover, it can lead to house price bubbles, especially given the historically high ratio of earnings to house prices.

“Perhaps just as worryingly if investment in new homes follows demand for housing (i.e. in London and the South East) it will result in more economic activity and growth in these places thus further unbalancing the economy.

“Nevertheless, millions of home owners have seen the value of their homes collapse. This not only reduces some people’s personal wealth – and that of regions – but also undermines their ambition to move on. In many parts of the country homeowners, particularly those who bought homes at the peak of the market, will now be in negative equity. The problem could become very serious in low value areas if interest rates rise.

“House-builders, developers and lenders are also wary of the higher risks in places where values remain low. This further distorts an already imperfect housing market and has a negative knock-on effect for investment in affordable and sub-market housing. For these reasons any government should take careful note of what has occurred since 2007 and calibrate its housing policy in the future to avoid another damaging cycle of housing boom and bust.”

Local government consultant Jeff Jones, a former Labour leader of Bridgend council, said: “These statistics show how poorly the Welsh economy is performing. They blast out of the water the hype from estate agents and others that there is a recovery in the housing market.

“The fact is that in areas like Bridgend, where the average annual salary is around £17,500, most people cannot afford the kind of prices developers want to charge for new homes.

“The worry is that in many parts of Wales the next generation after the present one of baby-boomers will find it very difficult to buy their own home.”

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/house-prices-across-wales-crashed-6411416

04Dec

The Sunday Times has placed Penarth in a list of 10 of the most desirable places to live in the UK for families. Of course, we all knew this, but here is what the Sunday Times had to say.

9 Penarth, Cardiff

With excellent schools, lots of green space, a beach and the bright lights of Cardiff only five miles away, Penarth is a great place to raise children. Walk down the hill past Alexandra Gardens, the main Victorian park, to reach the seaside esplanade, with its miniature promenade, pier and Italian restaurant.

Would suit: Relocating city professionals who recognise a good thing.

Property prices: Sturdy Victorian family homes typically cost £400,000.