And ahead to 2015, a year of planning and politics
Mon 05 Jan 2015
Following on from our blog looking back at the property market in 2014, Paul Ivens now looks ahead to 2015.
There is no need for negativity as we head into 2015. Our message is to think about finances earlier, as much as 12 months in advance if possible, and understand what’s required to meet the requirements expected by lenders. Green & Co’s mortgage advisors can help you with this and if buyers have the right approach to finances, there is no reason why 2015 won’t be another strong year, even if we’ve not yet seen the end of the fallout from MMR.
This is especially true now that the changes to Stamp Duty have been announced. As George Osborne said himself, 98 per cent of all homebuyers will benefit from the reforms and we are all waiting to see how much uplift it will generate in the coming months, particularly on starter homes above the previous threshold of £125,000 where Stamp Duty has so often been a barrier to purchase.
Back to Sutton Coldfield, there are some exciting developments planned in 2015, including phase one of the scheme to convert the Grade A listed former Town Hall into luxury apartments. Many people in the town are also waiting to see what the outcome will be of the inquiry into the Birmingham Development Plan, which includes controversial proposals for up to 6,000 homes on greenbelt land near Walmley. In addition, of course, there are significant investments further afield too, including the £600million New Street Station refurbishment with flagship John Lewis store, which is due to be completed this year.
Elsewhere, it will be interesting to see whether phase two of the Help to Buy scheme takes off in 2015. Phase one of the scheme was launched in 2013 and has proved a big success, giving people with a small deposit the chance to get on the property ladder with equity loans for new homes. Phase two opened the scheme up to any property up to £600,000 and was designed to help people to move up the ladder - but it has not benefited from the same heavyweight advertising and promotion that housebuilders were able to put into the first phase and awareness remains low.
Whilst there are certainly no signs of concern, we’re not expecting any significant increase in local property prices in 2015. Like any election year, the word you will hear used a lot to describe the market is “steady” and there will be a period of uncertainty after the General Election on 7th May as people wait to see the impact of any potential changes.
However, interest in good properties remains strong across Sutton Coldfield and surrounding areas - and homes continue to sell. The window of opportunity remains firmly open for those looking to upgrade, downsize or simply get a foot on the ladder.
Paul Ivens, Director