HSBC impose solicitors on vendors


Up until recently it was a homebuyer’s prerogative to choose which firm of solicitors should represent them in completing the legal formalities relating to their new purchase. However, following warnings over mortgage fraud by the National Fraud Authority, and direction from the Financial Services Authority that lenders need to be more familiar with the firms they work with, lenders have begun to limit the panel of solicitors…

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Buying cheaper than renting?


In an unusual turn around of events, mortgage lender Halifax claims that buying a house is now much cheaper than renting. It calculates that the monthly cost of buying the average three-bedroom home in the UK is now £600; that’s 16% cheaper than the £716 it would cost to rent the same type of property. The anomaly has arisen as a result of would-be first-time buyers’ continued…

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East of Exe selected for pilot


DEVON ESTATE AGENT BACKS PIONEERING HOME SALES SERVICE offers a unique service providing commitment at the point of verbal offer for both sellers and buyers during the sale process A Devon estate agent has become the first in the region to pilot the innovative new scheme that could dramatically reduce the fall-through rates of house sales, a long-standing problem in the UK housing market. Leading Exeter…

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Stamp duty latest


It’s more bad news for first-time buyers. According to a recent report by the Halifax, one third more first-time buyers will have to pay Stamp Duty this year than last. Despite the fact that housing affordability has, on paper, improved (with the average price paid for a first home having dropped to £135,160 nationally), the temporary increase in the starting threshold for Stamp Duty, from £125,000 to…

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Welfare not covering rents


In a report commissioned for The Guardian newspaper, the Chartered Institute of Housing has estimated that caps to welfare payments that come into force this week will make 810,000 homes unaffordable for tenants on housing benefit and in private rental accommodation.  The caps will see the maximum LHA payable fall to between £250 and £400 per week, depending on the number of bedrooms. The knock-on effect of…

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Solar PV – the latest news


Confusion still reigns with regard to the Feed in Tariff for solar PV with the government appealing against last month’s court ruling that the decision to effectively impose cuts to feed-in tariffs before the end of the consultation period – ie, April 2012 – was ‘retrospective’ and ‘unlawful’. As it stands, domestic customers will receive a reduced tariff of 21p per unit (kilowatt hour) for solar PV…

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Increasing reliance on credit


A recent survey carried out by YouGov for Shelter last month has revealed that somewhere in the region of seven million mortgagees and tenants are relaying on credit to pay their monthly housing costs, with many resorting to taking payday loans from lenders demanding an extortionate 4000% APR. The trend is worrying as clearly this level of reliance on credit for basic housing costs is not sustainable. …

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Sellers & the economic downturn


Results issued by HM Land Registry at the end of last year allow an objective analysis of the housing market in 2011.  And it seems that many sellers are refusing to accept that their house may no longer hold the same value as it did when the market peaked in 2008. Of those who successfully sold their homes, the statistics show that the actual selling price was…

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