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Gloucestershire Business News

Will you hop on the ladder this leap year? The Mortgage Brain looks at becoming a property owner

By Enzo Mora, CEO and founder of The Mortgage Brain.

While a leap year is every four years, British homeowners move on average once every 21 years according to Zoopla. While most first-time-buyers will move on long before that, second steppers are more likely to stay put for longer, maybe having moved for schools or to be nearer to parents, not to mention the actual cost of each move.

What is more likely is that they won't stay with the same mortgage lender. Hopefully, as house prices rise, equity will increase on a property and if you're lucky you may end up earning more money as your career progresses.

These factors are reasons why we look at the whole market of lenders when your mortgage term is ending. Many have different criteria so we can find exactly the right deal to suit your personal circumstances which you won't be able to access yourself via a high street bank. And this often means going to a new lender.

Spring budget on the horizon

Interest rates are still heading in the right downward direction and could be imminently lowered as the Bank of England has just said that inflation doesn't need to drop to 2% from the current 4% to allow further rate cuts.

There's also been talk of another government-backed version of Help to Buy in the upcoming budget to help first-time buyers and mover uppers with low deposits when buying a new or previously owned home.

We work with the UK's largest housebuilders so we can see the demand for new homes continues a pace, but we do need more of them! Any initiatives that facilitate this such as speeding up planning for brownfield sites is welcomed but local councils and governments need to be on the same page and local residents need to be fully informed from the outset to make sure they are happy to accept new homes.

Stamp duty savings

I doubt any further Stamp Duty holidays or reductions will be included in the budget as the current exemptions are in place until the end of March 2025. Many first-time buyers we speak to are still unaware that they are exempt from the tax for the first £425,000 of their property purchase price up to £625,000. 

Others moving home won't pay SDLT on the first £250,000 unless it's a second home or buy to let. A recent poll of Countrywide surveyors revealed that 22% thought the budget should include a SDLT reduction while 16% thought that downsizers buying a home should pay less to incentivise moves that would free up family homes.

Early bird buyers

The year has got off to a good start for property sales so we would advise having a chat with our team first so you know how much you can borrow. Agreed sales in the first six weeks of 2024 were 16% higher than over the same period last year says Rightmove, and 3% higher than in the more normal market of 2019, indicating that many early-bird buyers feel that 2024 offers the right conditions to move.

A number of housebuilders are offering incentives if you buy at the beginning of the scheme such as a cash back deposit which all helps for budget-conscious buyers. If you are making the leap this year to move or to buy your first home, it pays to be informed and The Mortgage Brain will be the first to help you on your way.

To find out more about The Mortgage Brain, visit www.themortgagebrain.net or call 0333 340 8888.

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