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Mortgage Insights this Spring | Financial Advice

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In this blog, our mortgage experts share their insights for Spring on the current activity within the market and the opportunities for first time buyers and sellers. 

 

Mortgage Insights | Opportunities & Challenges

The Scottish property market is currently experiencing a surge in property listings, indicating a lively period for both buyers and sellers. However, amidst this activity, certain trends and financial considerations are worth noting.

Market Overview

  • Buyers are finding themselves negotiating closer to the Home Report figures, with offers over becoming less prevalent. Suggesting a more balanced market where sellers may need to adjust their expectations to attract buyers effectively.
  • Economists are predicting a potential decline in interest rates during the upcoming summer months. The anticipated decrease could have significant implications for both prospective buyers and current homeowners, potentially making borrowing more affordable and stimulating further activity in the market.
  • In line with these economic indicators, mortgage approvals have reached their highest levels since 2022. This uptick in approvals points to a growing confidence in the housing market and increased accessibility to financing options for buyers.

 

An exciting time for First Time Buyers

For first-time buyers, the current landscape presents both opportunities and challenges. On the positive side, more lenders are offering 95% lending on properties, requiring only a 5% deposit. Additionally, schemes like Accord’s £5,000 minimum deposit initiative for houses provide further assistance to those entering the market, making it more accessible to get on the property ladder without a huge deposit.

An alternative approach to securing a deposit involves receiving gifted deposits from family members, expanding the options for financing a property purchase. Additionally, the availability of Joint Borrower Sole Proprietor arrangements also offers a route for boosting affordability, albeit without the parent being listed on the title deeds.

As a First Time Buyer, you benefit from relief on Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) which is Scotland’s alternative to Stamp Duty. LBTT has a tiered structure and FTB get full tax-relief on properties with a purchase price up to £175,000.

Furthermore, The Track Record scheme offers 100% lending to eligible renters with a documented history of meeting monthly rent obligations for at least 12 out of 18 months. This removes the barrier of requiring a deposit, making homeownership more accessible, especially considering the high rental costs that often cause difficulty in saving for a deposit.

While the Help to Buy ISA scheme is no longer accepting new applications, existing account holders can still benefit from the government’s 25% bonus on savings, up to a maximum of £3,000. It is important to note, the property you use your Help to Buy ISA to buy must be under £250,000 in Scotland. Alternatively, the Lifetime ISA remains open, allowing individuals to save up to £4,000 per tax year with a government bonus and the potential for interest earnings. This has a higher property value threshold of £450,000.

 

Top Tips for First Time Buyers

Maintaining a healthy credit profile is essential for securing favourable lending terms. This includes staying on the electoral roll and consistently meeting financial obligations such as rent, bills, and existing credit commitments. Consideration should also be given to managing credit card usage responsibly, avoiding high balances and ensuring timely payments. Use online providers to check your credit score for free, this will give you a quick insight on how you are viewed in lenders eyes.

Additionally, aspiring homeowners should aim to build savings and take advantage of government-backed schemes like the Lifetime ISA to enhance their deposit funds. Researching different areas and property prices can provide clarity on budget requirements and potential negotiation strategies.

In summary, while the Scottish property market is experiencing heightened activity, particularly for first-time buyers, careful planning and informed decision-making are essential for navigating this dynamic landscape. By leveraging available resources and adopting prudent financial practices, aspiring homeowners can position themselves for success in achieving their property ownership goals.

It’s crucial for first-time buyers to approach the market with informed decisions. Seeking advice from an independent mortgage advisor, such as our team at Melville, can provide valuable insights into mortgage options, borrowing capacity, and associated costs.

Please do not hesitate to contact our team of advisers regarding any queries.

April 2024

 

Contact Us

Alistair Marsh

Head of Mortgages

alistair@mi-plc.co.uk

 

 

 

Beata Figueira

Mortgage and Protection Advisor

beata@mi-plc.co.uk

 

 

 

Catherine Johnstone

Mortgage and Protection Advisor

catherine@mi-plc.co.uk

 

 

 

Disclaimer:

All the above information is provided as information only and any examples used are not indicative of financial advice to address your particular requirements. The information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by Melville Independent plc, and is not intended to be relied upon by readers in making any financial decisions.

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