Getting on the property ladder is tough. For buyers in London you are paying rent and saving for a deposit, and it can feel like an uphill struggle at times.

There are however certain schemes available to first time buyers, which we’ve outlined below:

Help to Buy ISA

This product is available from a range of banks, building societies and credit unions.  You save money into a Help to Buy ISA and the government will boost your savings by 25%.  So, for every £200 you save, you receive £50 in a government bonus.  The maximum government bonus you can receive is £3000.  The accounts are available to each first-time buyer and not each household.  This means a couple could get £6000 towards their first home.  Your solicitor will apply for the government bonus on your behalf and use the funds at the completion of the property transaction.  You cannot use the funds for the deposit at exchange of contracts. Further details here.

Shared Ownership

If you cannot afford the mortgage on 100% of a home, you can buy a percentage of one (normally 25-75%) and rent the part you don’t own.  As and when your income allows you can purchase more shares in the property (there are costs involved with this and you purchase at the current market value).  To be eligible your household needs to earn £80000 or less outside of London and £90000 or less in London. Further details here.

Help to Buy Equity Loan

Under this scheme the buyer needs a 5% deposit, the government offers a 20% interest free loan (first five years only) and the remaining 75% is funded by a standard mortgage.  Be aware though that from year 6 interest becomes payable on the 20% and starts at 1.75%.  Every year after it increases by RPI (Retail Price Index) plus 1%. This scheme is available for all new-build properties in England worth up to £600,000.  Further details here.

Help to Buy London

In an extension to the above scheme, the London Help to Buy was launched on 1st February 2016.  Specifically to help buyers in London, the amount will grant an equity loan of up to 40% of the purchase price. Buyers can proceed with a deposit as little as 5%. Subject to qualifying you would need a mortgage on the remaining 55%.  You won’t be charged any fees on the 40% for the first 5 years of owning your property.  You cannot sublet this home and you are not allowed to own any other property at the time you buy your new home with Help to Buy London.  From year 6 interest becomes payable on the equity loan and follows the formula in the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme above. Further details here.

Starter Homes

If you are a first-time buyer (under 40 years old) the Starter Homes scheme could help you buy a new-build home with a 20% discount.  The maximum cost of a home offered via the Starter Homes scheme will be £250,000 outside London and £450,000 inside London.  The scheme isn’t up and running yet but planning is well underway.  Aspiring homeowners can register their interest online now here.

We are selling 11 apartments in the St Paul’s Square development in Bow, E3. With prices for one bedroom apartments starting at £440,000, and £525,000 for two bedroom units at £525,000, all apartments are available through Help to Buy.

All apartments are built to a high specification and benefit from private outside space. The development is beautifully designed with modern city living in mind, and is surrounded by landscaped gardens. These apartments offer an excellent opportunity to live in a well-connected location near to both the City and Canary Wharf, at attractive price levels.

The development is conveniently located for public transport with Mile End station and Devons Road DLR within walking distance giving easy access to Central London, Canary Wharf and the West End.

For more information about the development please contact a member of the new homes team by email or phone: newhomes@currell.com or 020 3826 4888, or arrange a viewing on our website here.

Now it’s May, and spring is officially here (even the weather is catching up), it’s the perfect time to give your home a spring clean – and a general makeover. Here are some of our top tips for rejuvenating your home, and adding something new to the mix:

1. Inject some green

Houseplants have seen a massive boom recently, with everyone wanting to decorate their homes with all things green and growing. We’re loving the new trend for terrariums – little mini plant beds that are usually displayed in glass bowls or geometric containers.

Make your own at a terrarium workshop by geo-fleur near you.

Lots of interesting new plant emporia are also springing up – make sure you visit Grace and Thorn or Conservatory Archives in Hackney Road.

2. Re-jig shelf space

As well as adding the aforementioned greenery, jazzing up your shelves and mantelpieces can make a big difference. Update photo frames by adding more recent photos, and add decorative objects like candles and books to really enhance the space. De-cluttering and spacing objects out will bring a more minimalist feel.

3. Upgrade your bedding

Walking into a bedroom, the first thing you notice is the bed – so a change of bedding will make a big difference. This is also a  quick and effective way to change up a bedroom’s colour scheme.

4. Finish your floors

Over time, wooden floors get scuffed and worn out, and this isn’t something we often notice straight away. Waxing your wooden floors or applying a sealant will leave them gleaming again, and will make a huge difference to the overall effect of the room. Or, for a more dramatic change, why not paint the floor instead.

Farrow and Ball offer a wide range of floor paints in contemporary shades. Check out the colour samples at the Islington shop.

5. Give the cushions an upgrade, too

Although small, cushions make a big difference. Colourful or patterned cushions can really bring a sofa to life, and add something special to the room. Changing the cushions and other small accessories can change the entire colour scheme of a room, and a bring a different feel, without spending too much!

6. Get organised

There are lots of ways you can organise your stuff to refresh your home. Labelling containers and jars in the pantry will make cooking feel a lot easier, and help you keep track of supplies. Take the opportunity to put photos into albums, and to throw out anything in your wardrobe you don’t wear anymore. Spring means new beginnings, so it’s time to declutter and pass on old belongings to friends or charity shops.

7.) …Don’t forget the garden

Outdoor furniture often gets neglected during the winter months – so give your chairs and tables a good scrub down to leave them looking new again, perfect for when your guests come to visit.

Spring is the perfect time for planting, so if you have an old sandpit that’s been outgrown, or an area you’re not sure what to do with, why not create a herb garden or a flowerbed.

 

 

The mortgage war between lenders reignited last week. HSBC has retaken pole position in the best buy tables for mortgages launching a five year fixed rate of 1.69% for those who have a minimum of 40% deposit.  The loan carries a fee of £999 which is lower than many typically tied to an ultra-low deal such as this.

The only other deal that comes close is from Yorkshire Building Society, which offers a two year discounted variable rate of 0.89% to those with a 35% deposit.  However, it comes with a substantial arrangement fee of £1,495.

Lenders are fighting for new business and the above rates demonstrate this.  However, the high deposit levels required will be a barrier to many first-time buyers.  With uncertainty around Brexit negotiations, many buyers are holding out for rates to dip further.  However, most brokers are in consensus that rates are close to the bottom of where they can feasibly go.

The high deposit levels required mean that the bank of mum and dad is playing an increasingly important role. According to new research from Legal and General in association with CBRE, this year parents are expected to lend £6.5 billion, contributing to more than 2980,000 mortgages and accounting for 26% of all property transactions. This is a 30% increase on the £5 billion loaned in 2016.

Across the UK the average of borrowing from mum & dad currently stands at £21,600 with the amount borrowed in London at £29,400.

To put these figures another way, the bank of mum & dad is now the 10th biggest lender in the UK.

Whether or not this is sustainable, it is symptomatic of the ‘affordability’ problem, exacerbated by the shortage of new homes, especially in London. Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property book states:

“We must remember that the increasing use of the bank of mum and dad is a symptom of the lack of housing in the UK not the solution, so we need to build enough homes to match population growth.”