While hardly a surprise given the lockdown caused by the pandemic, Halifax confirmed at the beginning of July, that overall, house prices had fallen four months in a row. This was the first time house prices had shown a decline since 2010.
Summer is usually a quiet time for house sales, but following the COVID-19 pandemic, July saw a massive £37 billion worth of property sales as went up, demand was released as the lockdown was eased. According to Rightmove, this has been the busiest month for home buying for over ten years. Also due to the quarantine issues, fewer people have been going on holiday abroad and instead had more time to consider buying their next property.
Because of the government initiatives below, there are now greater incentives to buy a property in the current climate.
Stamp Duty Holiday
The stamp duty holiday will last until the end of March 2021 and applies for homes worth up to £500,000. It means that you could save up to £15,000 and potentially put that towards a deposit. This covers England and Northern Ireland. As for Wales and Scotland, this would apply for homes up to £250,000.
Help To Buy Scheme Extension
On the 31st July, the government announced that thousands of families can still benefit from the current Help to Buy scheme, despite delays in building their new homes due to coronavirus. Under the current scheme, new homes would need to be finished being built by the end of December – the extension will mean the deadline will now move to 28 February 2021. However, the deadline for the legal completion of the sale will remain the same – 31 March 2021.
Please note that this announcement that schemes in England, which has been initiated by the UK Government, may not be similar to schemes in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
This applies to both homeowners and landlords. A £2 billion insulation scheme has been announced by the government as part of a bigger project that intends to cut emissions across the UK. In this scheme, homeowners will receive financial incentives in the form of vouchers of up to £5,000 for improvements that will save energy. Some of the poorest households might be able to receive up to £10,000 in vouchers.
The scheme could mean saving hundreds of pounds each year, many homes are expected to save as much as £600 annually. The programme will start in September and will include an extra £1 billion for public buildings like schools and hospitals to spend on insulation, efficiency and green heating technology.
The initiative aims to help the UK meet its net-zero emission targets by 2050. It also intends to help the many properties struggling with cold and damp, as many homes in the UK are among the oldest in Europe (and many properties in the rented sector tend to be colder than others). Humidity and cold are also hazardous to people’s health, so it’s not just wallets that are expected to benefit from this scheme.
If you are struggling to get a mortgage due to being furloughed, perhaps you are self-employed and not sure if you can afford a to buy a house right now, maybe you simply want to remortgage. Whatever your circumstances are, get in touch with us to discuss your options. We are here to offer you the support you need.