Posted on

Property market continues to boom despite end of SDLT holiday

property prices north west

It’s fair to say the housing market is experiencing a remarkable surge at the moment. And in the words of our own agents; people are making up their own prices… and buyers are paying it, and then some!

The unprecedented boom in the price of property has been put down to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday, introduced by the Government at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, to keep the market moving during the numerous lockdowns. Nobody could have predicted the impact of this move.

The temporary nil rate for SDLT was introduced in April 2020 when the UK went into its first lockdown, allowing anyone to purchase a primary residential property up to the value of £500,000 without paying stamp duty. From 1st July, the nil rate band was reduced to £250,000 and will be reduced again on 1st October to return to the standard threshold of £125,000 (except for first-time buyers who have a threshold of £300,000).

Whilst potentially saving buyers thousands of pounds on the cost of purchasing a new property, it seems buyers are diverting the money “saved” in stamp duty and putting into the price they are willing to offer vendors. Add into the mix low interest rates, a stagnant stock market, savings made during lockdowns and no overseas travel, buyers suddenly have more disposable income that they are eager to put into a property purchase.

This action has driven up the cost of property to extraordinary levels, across the country. Mistoria’s own estate agents are seeing property selling for 30, 40, £50k more than it previously would have. Sarah Morris-Turner, branch manager at Mistoria Estate Agents Bolton said, “We can’t believe what we’re witnessing in the residential sales market at the moment. Every property that we bring to market we’re having to offer block viewings on due to the demand. From these viewings we’re receiving multiple offers, all of which are over the asking price!”

As original SDLT rates return on 1st October 2021, it was predicted that the end of the SDLT holiday would slow the market but, from Mistoria’s standpoint at least, this shows no sign of happening anytime soon.

Whilst rising prices has made for a seller’s market and boom time for the industry, there are concerns from an agent’s perspective. Morris-Turner continues, “It’s quite challenging valuing property in the current market. Some agents are valuing quite erratically giving false expectations to clients. As agents we have a responsibility to value property accurately, so as not to end up in negative equity. As and when the market dips, negative equity is a real concern for many buyers that suddenly find themselves with a property worth less than they paid for it.”

This call for caution is echoed by Dewi Caughter, branch manager at Mistoria Estate Agents in Cheadle. He says, “Whilst we are currently seeing property sell within seven days of coming to market, and for far more than the asking price, we predict next year may be more precarious for those currently paying overinflated prices for property. Should the market plateau, clients may face negative equity on their mortgages. It will be interesting to see how the market adjusts.”

There’s no doubting the SDLT holiday has done what it was intended to do in contributing towards keeping the housing market moving during the last 18 months of the Coronavirus pandemic but the long-term repercussions of such a rise in the cost of property is yet to be seen.

Property prices north west

If you’re considering buying or selling a property, the agents at Mistoria Estate Agents can help you navigate, make sense of and accurately value or make an offer in the current climate. Speak to our friendly and expert team on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk. You can find a Mistoria Estate Agent in Bolton, Cheadle, Liverpool, Salford and Walkden.

Posted on

End of Stamp Duty Holiday: first deadline fast approaching

stamp duty holiday

The Stamp Duty holiday in England will end on 30th June 2021, lowering the nil rate band from £500,000 to £250,000 for all but first-time buyers, who have a threshold of £300,000 before stamp duty is due. The rates will then change again in October to return to the standard amount pre-Covid-19.

The temporary nil rate for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) was introduced in 2020 when the UK went into lockdown amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, allowing anyone to purchase a primary residential property up to the value of £500,000 without paying Stamp Duty. From 1st July to 30th September 2021, the nil rate band will be reduced to £250,000 and then will be reduced again to return to the standard threshold of £125,000, again, except for first-time buyers who have a threshold of £300,000.

The rate of SDLT that applies to a purchase depends on the date that the purchase is completed and not the date that contracts are exchanged. This means that many people who are in the process of buying a house now could miss out on the extra relief but still have the opportunity to benefit from the £250,000 nil rate if they complete by October. The rate above £250,000 will be 5% on the next £675,000 (up to £925,000), 10% on the next £575,000 (up to £1.5 million), and 12% on the value above £1.5 million.

The adjustments to the Stamp Duty nil rate apply to main residences. Additional properties, for which there is no nil rate unless they are bought for less than £40,000, incur a 3% tax up to £500,000 until 30th June. This then changes to 3% up to £250,000 until October.

Anyone hoping to take advantage of the lower Stamp Duty rates, whether buying a main residence or an investment property, should think about moving quickly. Property purchases can take a number of months, and there are just over three months left until the SDLT rates revert to the standard amounts.

June 30th is the first Stamp Duty holiday deadline to pay attention to if you’re currently in the process of buying a property. Now is the time to try and speed things up and perhaps try to set a completion date before this deadline. If you miss this first deadline, you can still benefit from the Stamp Duty holiday, with a further three months to take advantage of the £250,000 nil rate. To check how much you’re going to pay, you can use the Stamp Duty Land Tax calculator.

If you have yet to find the perfect property, Mistoria Estate Agents can help you to speed up your search. Our estate agents will listen to your wants and needs and suggest properties for your shortlist. Please contact us on 0800 500 3015 or use our contact form. If you’re currently viewing properties, you can also speed things up by getting other necessities out of the way, such as lining up a solicitor and talking to a mortgage broker. This will put you in a good position to move quickly once you find the right property.

Posted on

What’s Driving the Current Surge in Property Valuation Prices, and is it Sustainable?

estate agents north west

2020 was undoubtedly a unique year by any standards. COVID-19 took the world by storm, forcing humanity to rethink its definition of normality and disrupting the global economy profoundly.

In the UK, the housing market was one of the most affected sectors of the economy. The factors affecting this sector include:

  • Brexit
  • The pandemic
  • The success of the vaccine
  • How businesses will act post-pandemic

However, contrary to many expert predictions, the global pandemic has not spelt doom for the property market. On the contrary, demand for housing has increased tremendously, and it does not seem likely to wane any time soon.

Mistoria Estate Agents North West look at the factors driving the surge in property values and predictions about its sustainability.

Mistoria Estate Agents North West look at what is driving the surge in property valuation?

The primary reason for the drastic increase in the valuation of property is the chancellor’s stamp duty holiday. The government introduced this tax holiday to maintain stability in the housing sector, and the plan is working well.

The government is keen to maintain stability in the housing sector to avoid a severe crisis, as was witnessed in 2008. This single move has played the most significant role in ensuring that property value did not plummet due to the pandemic.

Additionally, banks throughout the country are being pragmatic and not increasing interest rates for mortgages. This has undoubtedly played a role in increasing the value of properties because buyers are not afraid of seeking loans to finance property purchases.

Moreover, people have been saving more over the past year than they did previously. This behaviour has also played a part in ensuring that the value of property keeps going up.

The pandemic itself has also led to increased valuation of the property. This is because of working from home, which has forced people to redefine what they want in a home.

For many city dwellers, staying at home for days on end led to the appreciation of space in a house. Consequently, many people are looking to move to the suburbs to have enough space to work comfortably from home.

On the flip side, property in the city has seen a drop in valuation, reflecting the decline in demand for homeownership in urban areas. People are no longer concerned about commuting for hours since they are working from home, which further decreases the lure of city property.

Is the surge in property valuation sustainable?

According to many financial experts, the value of real property will level off in 2021. This is partly because the stamp duty holiday is set to expire by the end of June, making the transfer of property quite expensive.

However, demand for suburban property is set to continue increasing since the viability of working from home has been tested and proven. Therefore, people are bound to continue with the practice long after COVID becomes a thing of the past. If you want to sell your house fast, this is certainly the time to do it.

Contrary to many predictions, the value of property in 2021 has been increasing steadily despite the pandemic. This can be attributed to government policies as well as consumer behaviour. However, property value is set to level off in 2021 as the dust settles post-COVID.

To find out more, or for help and advice in any other related area, call us on 0800 500 3015 or use the details on our contact page.

Posted on

The rise of virtual property viewings

student housing liverpool

Virtual property viewings can take various forms, but the most common is for the seller to show interested renters or buyers around the property via a video app such as WhatsApp, Facetime or Zoom. Their popularity has grown significantly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling people to keep moving despite the circumstances, and many predict that they will continue to be popular once it is over. So, what’s their appeal? Specialists in student housing Liverpool Mistoria Estate Agents explains…

They’re COVID-safe

Virtual property viewings remove the risk of infection entirely and mean that you don’t need to worry about safety measures such as masks, handwashing and social distancing which, although absolutely necessary for in-person viewings, can make them trickier and more stressful.

Quicker, easier and more convenient

By conducting virtual viewings of properties that initially appeal to you, you can quickly draw up a shortlist of those that fit what you’re looking for. This saves time and effort you’d usually spend traipsing around multiple properties that aren’t suitable, and not having to travel between properties saves money on fuel and reduces carbon emissions. Also, virtual property viewings offer more flexibility. You’re more likely to be able to book in for a time and date that suits you, and if there are multiple people searching together, they don’t need to be together for the viewing – internet access is all that’s required! In addition, in many cases an agent will participate in the viewing along with the seller, so you can get answers to all your questions about a property as normal.

In-person viewings are still possible

Before purchasing or renting a property, it’s natural to want to have a look around in-person at least once, and this shouldn’t be an issue despite the ongoing pandemic. Virtual property viewings haven’t overtaken in-person viewings completely; they simply offer a quicker, easier, COVID-secure way of determining which properties really appeal to you. Most sellers, landlords and estate agents are still happy to conduct in-person viewings for those who are serious about a property, and these should involve rigorous safety procedures including social distancing, mask-wearing and sanitised surfaces to minimise the risk of infection.

Virtually viewing student housing Liverpool Mistoria Estate Agents

The pandemic shouldn’t stop you from moving; it simply means that everyone involved must take extra precautions where possible, and virtual viewings are a great way of doing this. Mistoria Estate Agents specialise in student housing Liverpool and we are offering virtual viewings to help guide people in their property search. To find out more, or for help and advice in any other related area, call us on 0800 500 3015 or use the details on our contact page.

Posted on

Stamp duty holiday extension: what you need to know

property for sale salford

As part of his 2021 Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the stamp duty holiday will be extended for a further three months until the end of June. For those looking to purchase a property in the near future, this provides much-needed reassurance and an incentive to push ahead with their purchase. If you have property for sale Salford based Mistoria Estate Agents have put together all you need to know about the stamp duty holiday extension and how it could affect you.

Stamp duty holiday extension: the details

Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is a tax on the purchase of property or land in England and Northern Ireland.

Last year, many buyers took a financial hit because of the coronavirus pandemic and began reconsidering their options. In response, the government announced it would temporarily increase the nil-rate band (the amount at which tax becomes payable) to £500,000 until the end of March. This has now been extended to the end of June. After that, it will reduce to £250,000 until the end of September, when it returns the standard rate of £125,000.

How does this affect you?

The stamp duty holiday has boosted the property market as intended, but this has created delays in the purchase process. Through no fault of their own, many buyers have found themselves stuck, unsure whether their purchase would be completed in time to qualify for the stamp duty holiday. The extension has relieved pressure on these buyers and encouraged them to push ahead with their purchases.

For those buyers who don’t meet the initial deadline, the staggered return to the standard stamp duty rate ensures they won’t run off a cliff-edge at the end of June. Providing they complete their purchase before the end of September, they still stand to make a significant saving.

If you have property for sale Salford based Mistoria Estate Agents can help

Whilst the stamp duty holiday extension has eased the pressure on buyers, a swift, hassle-free sale is still essential to ensure you make the maximum saving. Mistoria Estate Agents is a professional letting service with many high-quality, affordable properties in Salford, Liverpool and Bolton, and our team of experts will seamlessly guide you through the process. For more information, call us on 0800 500 3015 or use the details on our contact page.

Posted on

How to sell a property in 2021

sell a property north west

Last year property demand surged, as buyers rushed to capitalise on the Stamp Duty holiday and repeated lockdowns left many people wanting to move. With Stamp Duty set to return in April 2021 and restrictions set to continue, it’s likely to be another busy year in the property market. With this in mind, if you’re looking to sell a property North West based Mistoria Estate Agents has put together some top tips…

Make your home look its best

Clean your house and clear any clutter (including the front and back gardens, if you have them). If your property is messy and covered with personal belongings, it can be difficult for a viewer to imagine their ideal version of it, making them less likely to buy.

In addition to cleaning up, you could invest in some home improvements, such as installing a new fireplace or redecorating a room – however, first check with an estate agent if this would be worth the cost. If not, some DIY work, such as hanging new wallpaper or replacing a light fitting, could give your property an edge.

When trying making your house stand out, consider how the pandemic has changed what people look for in a living space. Home-working is now common, and therefore an office is highly desirable for many buyers. If you have one, make sure it’s clearly stated and pictured in your listing, and ensure it’s optimised for working in. Perhaps you don’t have a purpose-built office, but do have the space for one – if so, you might consider transforming it before you sell.

Set the right asking price

Overvalued properties take longer to sell, which in turn creates more problems, because a property that has been on the market for a long time is less attractive to potential buyers. It also reduces your chances of capitalising on the Stamp Duty holiday.

To avoid this, think carefully and research similar properties that have recently sold in your local area. Then, ask some estate agents to value your property. It’s wise to obtain several valuations from different agencies to gain a figure you can be confident in.

Reassess your approach if necessary

If your property isn’t selling, you should try to find out why. Talk to your estate agent about this. Are there any desirable features that aren’t being advertised well enough? Or something specific you can address that’s holding back potential buyers?

Alternatively, you might need a new estate agent. If you’re considering this, it’s best to act quickly – there is often a set notice period you must give your current agent before another firm can re-list the property.

If you’re looking to sell a property North West based Mistoria Estate Agents can help

With everything else going on at the moment, selling your home brings added unwelcome stress. We are a professional estate agent in Salford that’s here to provide expert guidance on how to sell a property in 2021 and beyond. Whether it’s developing a marketing plan or handling all the complex paperwork, we have the experience and knowledge you need. To find out more, call us on 0800 500 3015 or use the details on our contact page.

Posted on

Leasehold vs Freehold: What’s the Difference?

liverpool estate agents

Purchasing a house is one of the most complicated and stressful events most people will go through in their lives. Often, the really important details get overlooked, as you focus on the big things like securing a mortgage. But at Mistoria, we pride ourselves on being proactive and making sure even the smallest details are taken care of.  

In recent years, you may have heard of the ‘Leasehold Scandal’. People buying properties did not realise at the time of purchase what they were letting themselves in for and did not fully understand the contracts they had signed.  But what is a leasehold and how does it differ from a freehold? Read this blog post to find out.  

Leasehold vs Freehold

In British law, there are two different forms of home ownership; freehold and leasehold. A freehold is what you’d probably expect when you purchase a house – once you’ve signed on the dotted line, all of the property is yours. This should always be the preferred option and if you purchase such a property, unsurprisingly you will not be affected by the leasehold scandal.

If you’re in the process of purchasing a leasehold property then you are essentially buying permission to occupy that property for a set number of years, usually a very extended period far beyond the life of the building itself. However, wew build properties on new estates seem to be increasingly providing only very short leasehold periods, causing problems for potential homeowners. 

Leaseholds may sound like a form of rent (and some do argue it is); traditionally leasehold rents are for a very long time, usually between 100 to 999 years, but the freeholder still has some responsibility for maintaining public areas around the property. So, for example, if you buy a leasehold flat the freeholder may be responsible for maintaining the staircases and lifts; typically the maintenance comes with a small additional fee.

On top of maintenance fees, the leaseholder also usually pays a ‘ground rent’ – literally a rent on the land the property is built on. It’s these payable rents where the scandal has broken out. For a long time, the rents were usually very small; some people would pay an annual ground rent of £1 a year and this is still very common.

But recently, some property builders have been discovering the law around leasehold is very complicated and massively in the favour of the freeholder, giving them leeway to increase ground rents without any say by the leaseholder.

In return, this has meant people are now paying attention to the fact their property is leasehold and discovering how this may impact them.

Check with Mistoria and we can advise

So, if you’re buying a house what should you do? Firstly there is no need to panic. It is worth noting that the vast majority of people who live in leasehold properties have not been affected by the scandal.

Nevertheless, make absolutely sure you know what you’re buying, check with us and we can advise you of the leasehold status of the property you are considering. Secondly, if it is a leasehold, ask for a copy of the lease and get it checked over by a lawyer that knows the area well. As a rule of thumb, any lease that is less than 80 years can start to significantly affect the value of the house, but it all depends on what is in the contract.

If you do buy a leasehold, it is often possible to buy out the leasehold at an additional charge and become the freeholder. Do this as soon as possible; the owners may be willing to sell it for just a few thousand pounds.

Property law in Britain is very old, some of the stories coming out of the leasehold scandal date the ownership of the land back to the 1600s which all means it is intensely complicated and hard to understand. However, the scandal hasn’t gone unnoticed by the government, and there have been promises of an inquiry. Whatever the results of this inquest are, there is enough political will in parliament for some significant change, although what and when that change will come into force is anyone’s guess.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Salford, Bolton and Liverpool estate agents, Mistoria, on 0800 500 3015. 

We are members of ARLA and NAEA Propertymark which means we meet higher industry standards than the law demands. Our experts undertake regular training to ensure they are up to date with best practice and complex legislative changes so they can offer you the best advice. We are also backed by a Client Money Protection scheme which guarantees your money is protected.

Posted on

New Services at our Bolton Office

bolton student house

Our popular Bolton branch is about to get even busier! Known for their attention to detail,  exceptional customer service and expert local knowledge, the team of property professionals at Mistoria Bolton are expanding their service offering. Although they are already known for their residential sales and lettings, consistently negotiating the best price for sellers and finding buyers their dream homes, they have recently introduced a new auction facility and have started handling commercial tenancies and HMOs. 

New Auction Facility  

In partnership with Pattinsons, the branch has now also launched a Modern Method Auction service facility. This comes with a number of advantages over the more traditional property sale method, including; your sale will be handled with no agency fee; you have the power to set your reserve price to get the price you want; a fast timeline, with both 28 and 56 day auction periods available; immediate exchange of contracts; and complete transparency. 

With an auction, the lengthy sales process, lack of buyer commitment, high risk of an aborted sale and no firm sale date, all well known pitfalls of the traditional sales method are avoided. You can find out more about the auction process here

HMOs

The branch has now also started to undertake work on every aspect of HMO ownership, from the initial purchase of the property, through renovation and conversion works, to the finding and vetting of suitable tenants. This type of property is particularly popular both amongst students looking to live with their friends during their time at university and young working professionals hunting for affordable accommodation. Given the plans for expansion at the academically excellent University of Bolton as well as the new jobs currently being created in the area, which are attracting a new population of young people, there has never been a better time to invest in a Bolton HMO property. For more information on the HMO opportunities offered by Mistoria, please visit our dedicated property investment website by clicking here

Commercial Tenancies

As Bolton town centre and the surrounding regions develop and thrive, the number of commercial tenancies the branch has been handling has increased massively. With the town set for further growth and expansion, the team is now calling on all individuals either looking to let or rent such property, whether it be office space, retail locations, industrial warehouses or leisure facilities, to get in touch.  

Talk to the Team

Whether you are a seller or buyer, investor or landlord, or you’re looking for a Bolton student house, please contact the team on 01204 800 766; they’ll be more than happy to answer any queries you may have. 

Posted on

Mistoria Estate Agents expands with launch of new Bolton office

estate agents north west

Mistoria Estate Agents, part of the Mistoria Group, specialists in residential and student property sales and lettings, is opening their third office in the heart of Bolton to cater for the growing demand they see in the area. This will be Mistoria’s third estate agency office in the North West following on from their first two locations in Salford and Liverpool.

The new office located at 21a Market Street, Little Lever, Bolton, BL3 1HH will serve the residential property market as well as offering lettings for students and professionals. Mistoria have operated from their Headquarters in Salford since 2009 and expanded initially into Liverpool three years ago.

Mish Liyanage, Managing Director of The Mistoria Group comments: “We have had a great 12 months and are now expanding our business into Bolton as we see great opportunities there for a quality supplier. Our new team has been carefully selected for their local knowledge and they are raring to go.”

“Since we began operations in 2009 we have seen continuous growth and this expansion into Bolton will not be our last. With our expertise in the North West property market, we’ve been able to concentrate on providing the key services that landlords, tenants and those looking to buy and sell their property really want. We’re excited about the future of the region and the great opportunities there are for us.”

With an opening offer to sell your home for just £750 the Mistoria team are competing against both traditional “bricks and mortar” agents as well as the newer online companies. Mish commented further “We have invested heavily over the last few months in our technology platforms and will market our customer’s properties through the market leading property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla as well as through our own websites and traditional channels.”

The Bolton branch will be holding an open day to celebrate their launch where homeowners looking to sell their property, those wishing to buy or rent a home, as well as landlords searching for a local agent can come along and meet the team. Full details will be announced soon.

The Mistoria Group are high yielding student buy-to-let investment specialists, offering HMOs and armchair investments in the North of UK, generating combined net cash yield up to 13% (Rental and Capital Growth). For more information on the firm’s current available investments and the services it offers, visit us at www.mistoriagroup.com or email at info@mistoriagroup.com or call 0800 500 3015.

Posted on

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards landlord advice

minimum energy efficiency standards landlord advice

The buy-to-let (BTL) market saw lots of changes in 2017 (taxation of BTL investments and portfolio landlord rules, etc) and there’s yet more regulation coming in 2018.

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC ) tells you how energy efficient a property is and is rated from A (very good) to G (very poor). It goes without saying that the more energy efficient your property, the lower the energy bills and (usually) the better the overall condition of the house. A high EPC rating also restricts the amount of rent you can charge so keeping up to date with property maintenance work is a good incentive if you want to command the highest yields possible.

Furthermore, EPCs have been a mandatory document for any property rental or sale since 2007 and have a validity of 10 years. As the first of these certificates are coming up for renewal, even stricter energy regulations are being forced upon buy-to-let landlords.

As of 1st April 2018 the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) makes it unlawful to let out a residential property with an EPC rating of F or G (unless exemptions apply). From this date landlords cannot renew or grant tenancies on a property if it does not meet the MEES regulations. Beyond April 2023, the continued private rental of all buildings failing to meet the minimum standard will be outlawed entirely. Local councils will have the power to enforce compliance of the MEES, with penalties of up to £5,000.

The potential risk to landlords (if the property fails to meet MEES) is financial losses and the need to borrow more money to make necessary improvements.

You can view individual EPCs by just entering the property’s postcode here (England & Wales).

There are exemptions to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for landlords, details of which (along with further information about the scheme) can be found on the Government website.

If you are a landlord and would like to explore energy improvements for your rental property, we’d be happy to help you. If you would like to discuss ongoing management of your property (portfolio), we would also be delighted to help. Please call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk.