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The UK coalition Government’s NewBuy scheme was launched today, (12th March), aiming to provide a much needed boost for people seeking first-time buyer mortgages.

A recent survey by property portal Rightmove questioned over 2,726 potential house purchasers between March 5th and 7th 2012 about their awareness of the 95% NewBuy mortgages and how the new Government backed scheme might affect them.

Their results of the survey found that nearly 2 in every 5 first-time buyers believe that the introduction of the scheme means they are more likely to get on the housing ladder within the next 12 months.

The NewBuy scheme is available only on UK new-build properties.

However, some critics were already questioning the scheme before any official announcement was made.

Labour’s shadow housing minister Jack Dromey claimed that only 3 out of the original 7 lenders were participating, and that the number of developers in the scheme had fallen from 25 to 7.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders, which up until last week was unable to confirm whether the launch was even going to go ahead despite being co-architect of the scheme.

The CML issued a general, guarded statement, adding that it would issue further information when details of the scheme and participants were available.

CML Director General, Paul Smee, said: “NewBuy mortgages will help creditworthy borrowers who simply haven’t yet managed to build up a large enough deposit to gain access to finance to buy a newly-built home. NewBuy is good news for home-buyers, and potentially good news for jobs and the wider economy too. Borrowers need to understand the implications of high loan-to-value (LTV), borrowing, so we will be supporting the initiative with clear consumer information to help people decide whether NewBuy borrowing is an attractive option for them.”

The House Builders Federation (HBF) also issued a statement just days after it too had to admit it did not know for sure if today’s launch would go ahead.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: “NewBuy will help thousands of people to meet their aspirations to buy a new home, freeing up the housing market and helping first-time buyers and those unable to take the next step on the ladder. The scheme will also provide a vital kick-start for house builders large and small who will be able to build the homes and create the jobs that the country desperately needs.

According to the research by Rightmove, 38% of those looking to buy for the first time stated they would be more likely to purchase a home over the next 12 months once the scheme was launched.

The scheme could also benefit ‘second-steppers’ – those looking to sell and trade up for the first time – with 24% of respondents in this group stating they would be more likely to purchase over the next 12 months.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “NewBuy looks set to give a significant housing boost to the fortunes of those who need it the most. We’ve found that raising a deposit has long been the major obstacle for those looking to purchase a new home at the foot of the housing ladder. NewBuy helps address this challenge, and we’ve found that the knock-on effect is that, as of today, nearly two in five first-time buyers will be more likely to getting on the housing ladder via thanks to this initiative. First-time buyers and second-steppers have long been frustrated in their efforts to get on to or move up the housing ladder by prohibitive deposit requirements. Four out of ten first-time buyers cited ‘raising enough of a deposit’ to be their single biggest housing market concern in our recent First-Time Buyer Report. NewBuy opens the door to these groups and can also serve as a great stimulus to help safeguard and create jobs in the new build property sector.”

The HSBC and Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks have already said they will not be participating, and neither LloydsTSB or Santander have deals ready although Nationwide has said it will have NewBuy deals available.

More than 66% UK property owners believe the value of their home will stay the same in 2012.

New research from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks has found that the majority of the UK public believe the value of their home will stay the same over the next 12 months.

The study revealed 66% of homeowners do not expect UK residential property prices to change considerably in either direction.

Only 16% of respondents anticipate that the value of their property will fall again this year, with the remainder expecting the costs to rise.

Retail Director for Clydesdale Bank, Steve Reid stated: “It is encouraging that such a high percentage of people have confidence in the property market and the value of their home.”

The research also revealed property owners in London are the most positive about the prospects of their property prices this year, with 39% believing the value of property is likely to escalate.

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