Due to various things like holidays and internal meetings I have not got round to it until now.
The year on year figure for First Time Buyers is up 14% according to the Council for Mortgage Lenders. This sounds good but is it?
I guess being a lawyer I tend to be pessimistic plus we have all seen surveys normally in the same week that say things are improving then getting worse and then are dire.
I think there are a number of reasons why this figure is perhaps slightly inflated.
1 First Time Buyers are getting geared up to exchange and complete before the 24 March when the stamp duty threshold will revert to £125,000.00. One has to wonder how many first time buyers there will be in the system after 25 March. I suspect there will be a significant decrease whilst they all save up to pay SDLT at 1%.
2 The various Government Schemes are now available that means that First Time Buyers are sucked out of the general market as these schemes relate to new builds.
On the other hand there are some glimmers of hope.
1 Lenders are now lending at higher loan to price ratios – possibly with a view to helping when the SDLT changes.
2 First Time Buyers have had time to save up.
The real test will be to see what the increase (if any) of First Time Buyers is in April when the effects of the SDLT exemption being withdrawn will appear.
Given also that the number of movers is down (see my earlier blog) I think regrettably we will see a slow start to the year. Still the sun is shining which always helps and the number of enquiries is reasonable which is good.
Isaw a report today that shows that the % of home owners is down to 66% of the total the lowest figure since Mrs Thatchers reign. Certainly buy to lets have been high and given the amount charged for rental I think we will see a swing back to ownership provided that people can save money towards the deposit (and Stamp duty) they need.
I think that the market will be stable for a few months more but I am not sure, so I am sitting on the fence and getting splinters.