Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

If you’re thinking about setting up or moving your business to St. Leonards on Sea, Hastings or Eastbourne and are looking for the minimum of hassle in set up and want ongoing management then check out this video to see why having your business in these locations will not only provide a prime location it will also provide you with a great work/life balance.

If you want to know more then visit their site here.

Philip Hammond the new chancellor confirmed in September 2016 that the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme would close at the end of 2016. This decision brought to end three years of Government support for first time buyers. But will it have an impact on your homeownership aspirations?

A successful policy

The scheme was first introduced in October 2013 in an attempt to boost and provide a deposit percentage of lending at high Loan-To-Values (LTVs). This helped first-time buyers get onto the property ladder. Records show that it appears to have had the desired effect: official figures show that the scheme has supported 86,341 purchases since its launch, with 79% of those being to first-time buyers, and has led to a surge in activity in the high-LTV sector with a welcome boost in competition and product choice across the market. Chancellor Philip Hammond decided to write to Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, to say that the scheme would close to new loans at the end of 2016. He said that it had done the job it was intended to do in kick-starting the high-LTV market with the figures demonstrating that the purpose of the scheme “had been successfully achieved”, and that given the average price of a home bought through the scheme stands at £157,000, it’s been shown to support responsible lending.

The strategy

It was always intended to come to an end in 2016, but there had been calls for it to be continued, particularly given events that could create uncertainty in the market. There were fears that lenders could once again retreat on the LTV position which follows lesser deposits without a Government guarantee to act as support, so the decision to wind down the scheme came as a bit of a surprise to some. However, the Chancellor doesn’t see this as a problem. He said in his letter that the high-LTV sector has become “less reliant on the scheme as confidence has returned,” he went on to say that there are now over 30 lenders that offer 90-95% LTV mortgages outside of the scheme. He believes that the closure of the scheme “will be unlikely, in current market conditions, to affect significantly the provision of finance to prospective mortgagors, including high LTV borrowers”.

Boom or bust

Many believe this is the exchequers fiscal ‘drawing in of the horns’ , so which is it – boom or bust? The Chancellor certainly seems to think that the high-LTV sector will continue to flourish without the scheme being there, but critics think he has got it wrong. Much of it could come down to how the mortgage market as a whole reacts to the uncertainty caused by the referendum, but more recent figures show that lenders are already becoming slightly more cautious about lending to those with only a 5% or 10% deposit.

All may not be lost, however, as it’s worth pointing out that the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, the phase of the initiative that provides support to buyers in the form of a Government loan, is still going to be available, so first time buyers could still find some help. However, the market here is slightly different: although 81% of the 91,759 properties bought using the equity loan scheme have gone to first time buyers, the scheme is only open to those buying new build homes, which means the average value of those properties is far higher at around £225,000.

Not everybody wants to go down this road because there will be a lot more concern about future repayments and the possibility of securing a suitable mortgage in the future, particularly for those seeking a higher-value home, and as a result, many could miss the simplicity of the Government guarantee.

To discuss your mortgage options, please get in touch with McPhersons Financial Solutions on 01424 730000 or email info@mcphersonsfs.co.uk.

Homesprite are Eastbournes newly established local, low cost agent.

As estate agencies and the way people look for homes is changing, people tend to do a majority of their search online and that’s where we have put our focus.

Given the above it was important for us to find the right premises in Eastbourne at the right price. Pacific House at Sovereign Harbour offered us a great workable office space that was flexible enough to accommodate all our IT and infrastructure needs with minimal hassle and setup. Having a base where clients can visit if they wish with secure parking is a great advantage but still saves us over 60% on the cost of a similar unit on the high street. By controlling our overheads, not only are we able to offer almost half the fee of the local agent we are also able to market your property in many more places than the local brands which in turn creates more applicants and more people to buy and sell.

There are many online agents popping up but what they lack is personalisation. They tend to be more nationwide agents that offer an online service but their ‘local experts’ are often more for a large region or area. And your ‘local’ experts aren’t normally the ones who are dealing with the sales progression and admin that will get passed to someone else out of area who won’t always know much about your case.

We keep the personalisation of the ‘local agent’ – we will send a local expert who lives in the area and has worked in the area, round to value your home and should you be buying in the area you will also have a knowledgeable agent to tell you about the area and provide you with all you need to know.

So the benefits- low cost- we completely undercut the market and until Feb 28th we have a fixed fee inclusive of Vat of Just £500. Local- so we can provide you with good knowledge of the area and tell you how to get the most from your home.

Someone you can always call- you will have a landline and mobile number to call so if you have any concerns there will be someone to help.

 

 

 

For weeks now, senior figures from the world of business have been at pains to point out just how important this year’s Autumn Statement will be.

The new Chancellor, Philip Hammond, stepped up to the despatch box to give his most significant speech since he took charge of the Treasury during the summer.

If his predecessor George Osborne, now watching from the backbenches, had come to be defined by his ongoing battle to balance the books in the wake of a financial crisis, the start of Mr Hammond’s tenure was always going to be overshadowed by one word. Brexit.

Businesses across the UK – and indeed overseas – were watching closely to see how the Government intends to steady the economy ahead of the UK beginning the formal process of leaving the European Union.

In his opening remarks, Mr Hammond laid out his stall.

“We will maintain our commitment to fiscal discipline, while recognising the need for investment to drive productivity,” he said.

Economic overview

The Chancellor will have been acutely aware, as he rose to address the Commons, that many headlines tomorrow would be dominated by the economic outlook and in particular the fall in growth forecasts.

He sought to extenuate the positives, pointing out that employment levels were at a record high, the deficit was falling as a share of GDP and that the economy had shown resilience in the wake of the summer’s referendum.

But he also acknowledged that the Brexit vote meant it was more imperative than ever to tackle any frailties in the nation’s finances, adding that the Government was committed to tackling these challenges head-on.

Growth is expected to be 2.4 per cent lower over the forecast period as a result of the uncertainty arising from the referendum result.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has calculated that growth will be 2.1 per cent this year, falling to 1.4 per cent in 2017.

“That is lower than we would like, but still higher than many of our European neighbours,” said Mr Hammond.

Borrowing, meanwhile, will be 3.5 per cent this year, dropping to 0.7 per cent by 2021-22.

While acknowledging that the Government no longer expected to balance the books by the end of the decade, the Chancellor announced three new fiscal rules: to achieve a surplus in the next Parliament and reduce borrowing to two per cent by the end of this one, to get net debt falling by 2020 and to ensure welfare spending is kept within a cap set by the Government.

Business and enterprise

The Chancellor was unequivocal that he wanted the UK to retain its reputation as a top destination for businesses.

He reiterated his predecessor’s commitment to reduce Corporation Tax to 17 per cent, although speculation that he may announce a further reduction (perhaps to 15 per cent) proved to be wide of the mark.

There was news of a two per cent reduction in the transitional relief cap, which will be overseen by the Communities Secretary, and Rural Rate Relief will increase to 100 per cent. This will be worth up to £2,900 for eligible firms.

Conversely, employers will have to make preparations for another increase in the National Living Wage next year. The statutory wage floor will increase from £7.20 an hour to £7.50 as of April 2017.

As part of efforts to make the UK a “world leader” in 5G broadband, ministers will also be offering 100 per cent business rates relief on new fibre infrastructure from April next year.

Finally £400million will be pumped into venture capital funds, via the British Business Bank, to help unlock £1billion in finance for expanding businesses.

Transport and infrastructure

Mr Hammond said that the Government was committed to high-value investment in the nation’s infrastructure and that all of the UK would feel the benefit, acknowledging that too much onus had been placed on London in the past.

At the core of proposals are plans for a new national productivity investment fund, a £23billion pot which will be used to fund innovation and infrastructure.

There was also a commitment that investment in research and development will increase by £2billion annually by 2020, a £1billion digital infrastructure fund (with an emphasis on improved broadband) and the promise of a £1.1billion in additional spending on England’s transport network.

Property

As had been widely trailed before the speech, Mr Hammond confirmed that he would be banning fees charged by letting agents to tenants.

The move, which had actually been Labour policy at the last General Election, was designed to address the fact that fees were continuing to spiral upwards despite the efforts to regulate them. It had nonetheless attracted criticism in some quarters as another “assault” on landlords.

Mr Hammond admitted that a large section of the population continued to struggle to get a foot on the property ladder and said that the Government would shortly be publishing a new white paper to address some of the pressing issues relating to housing.

The Chancellor also confirmed plans for a £2.3billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will lay the ground for the construction of 100,000 new homes. In addition, there will be a £1.4billion investment to deliver 40,000 additional affordable homes.

As part of ongoing efforts to increase home ownership, there will be a “large-scale regional pilot” of Right to Buy for housing association tenants.

Personal tax

There was welcome news for many taxpayers in the form of an increase to the personal allowance. This will rise from its current level of £11,000 to £11,500 from April 2017. And Mr Hammond said that the Government remained committed to raising it still further (to £12,500) by the end of this Parliament.

Meanwhile, the 40p rate will increase to £50,000 over the course of the same period.

As regards National Insurance (NI), from next April the employee and employer thresholds will be aligned at £157 a week.

There was good news for the nation’s motorists, with the announcement that the Treasury would be cancelling the proposed rise in fuel duty for the seventh year running. On average this is calculated to save car drivers £130 a year and van drivers £350.

However, insurance premium tax will rise to 12 per cent (up from 10 per cent) which some have suggested is likely to wipe out any savings arising from the crackdown on fraudulent whiplash claims.

Tax savings relating to salary sacrifice and benefits in kind are also to come to an end, although exceptions will be made for pensions, childcare, cycling and ultra-low emission vehicles.

Pensions and savings

There were comparatively few announcements on pensions, although Mr Hammond did confirm that the Government would usher in a ban on pension cold-calling.

The Chancellor said that the Government was also committed to helping the nation’s savers and set out plans for a three-year investment bond, offering a 2.2 per cent interest rate on deposits of up to £3,000.

Tax evasion, avoidance and aggressive tax planning

Mr Hammond said the Government had a proud record of tackling tax avoidance and evasion and that the tax gap was one of the lowest in the world.

As part of the ongoing drive to ensure that businesses pay their fair share, he outlined plans for a new penalty for those who enable tax avoidance, which HMRC later challenges and defeats.

Overall it is calculated that the various anti-tax avoidance measures will raise in the region of £2billion over the forecast period.

End of the Autumn Statement

One of the biggest surprises was the news that this year’s Autumn Statement would be the last.

Next year will be the last time that the Budget takes place in the spring. After that it will be moved to the autumn, and while there will be a Spring Statement, this will be used principally to respond to OBR forecasts rather than as a platform for any major announcements.

Mr Hammond said that having just one financial announcement each year would bring the UK in line with the IMF’s best practice.

Summary

Ahead of today’s speech, the Chancellor seemed to play down the prospect of any dramatic new policy announcements, instead placing emphasis on a tax and spending plan which would prioritise prudence and stability.

Certainly this wasn’t a delivery sprinkled with giveaways and perhaps the biggest surprise – given that the media had been briefed in advance about many of the headline announcements – was that Mr Hammond’s first Autumn Statement would also be his last.

The decision to condense all the major tax and spending plans into one annual summary is partly designed to give businesses greater stability and this may well be welcomed in the current climate.

Mr Hammond is unlikely to get away from the fact that uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the EU is calculated to have created a £122billion black hole in the national finances.

 

The council’s Grotbuster initiative is continuing to have significant success in turning around run down and derelict buildings and other unattractive sites in Hastings and has once again achieved excellent results, this time in St Andrews Square.

Last year, councillors and council officers went on a Grotbuster walk in the St Andrews Square area to identify properties that were in need of action because of their poor appearance. As a result, warnings and/or enforcement notices were issued to a number of owners and successful legal action was taken against another.

“The action taken by the Grotbuster team has resulted in improvements being carried out to a number of properties in the St Andrews Square area and work being carried out on other properties as well” said Cllr Kim Forward Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for housing.

“One of our priorities is to build better neighbourhoods and the Grotbuster scheme is helping us to do this. The cumulative effect around St Andrews Square has meant a big improvement in the overall appearance of the whole area which is great news for the people who live there and the town as a whole” added Cllr Forward.

The continuing work of the Grotbuster initiative has resulted in over 700 properties, structures and areas of land improved across the borough since the scheme began.

The buy-to-let market has seen some very significant changes in 2016, most significantly the increase of the additional 3% in stamp duty on any property you own in addition to your primary home.

What this means for those looking to invest their money in buy to lets or property generally may not find the same kind of sound investment that property once provided and offered.

The hike in stamp duty means that any buy-to-let property now attracts a 3% surcharge, which is a considerable increase from the previous rate. Under the old system, if you were buying a property for £200,000, you would pay nothing on the first £125,000 and 2% on the remaining £75,000, resulting in a stamp duty tax bill of £1,500. Now with the 3% levied on the first £125,000 and 5% on the £75,000, you get hit with a much larger £7,500 stamp duty tax bill. This now makes the wait to get additional cost back from any profits much longer.

The longer term prospects for the financial health of buy-to-let does not look good. From April 2017, new limits are being introduced on the amount of mortgage interest that can be offset against rent payments.

It’s a complicated system that some predict will transform profitable buy-to-lets into loss-making properties in most locations, which in turn could force landlords to raise rents considerably or put their properties up for sale.

The chancellor has also stated there will also be cuts to the ‘wear and tear’ allowances, which allow costs for maintenance to be offset against rental income, making achieving a profit even harder to achieve for landlords.

There are also plans in the pipeline from the Bank of England for greater restrictions on who will be eligible for a buy-to-let mortgage. These will mean a wider consideration of a potential landlord’s financial situation, including scrutiny of their monthly income and outgoings, as opposed to just consideration of the rental income of the property under the current system.

The landlords association feels this is a deliberate ploy by the chancellor to free up housing to substitute those the government has failed to plan for.

Ultimately, if you are looking to enter the buy-to-let market soon, you should consider the returns and these new rules. When investing it is always wise to spread your investments and have a diversified portfolio that doesn’t rely solely on placing your money in property just in case as now bricks and mortar means that, even if matters in the property market don’t go your way. 

Need more help?

This feature  aims  to give some informal hints and McPhersons are offering small businesses free advice so get in touch now to arrange your free meeting on 01424 730000 or info@mcphersons.co.uk.

 

Hastings really does seem like the place to live at the moment.  Already this year the town has seen the opening of the new skatepark Source. Madness front man Suggs visiting the pier to lay down the last plank and finally  the reopening of the pier last month, not to mention another successful May Day Bank Holiday.Hastings Pier

With more exciting things happening to our seaside town, it seems that finally Hastings is becoming the place where everyone wants to be and what more and more people are talking about.

The Express have recently written a brilliant article on Hastings, Hip and happening: Hastings is the new Shoreditch on-Sea

Check out the full article here

George Osborne has announced a Lifetime Isa in his Budget.  The new Isa is due to start in April 2017 and anyone between the ages of 18 and 40 are eligible.

This could be the Isa for you if you are looking to save for your first home or for retirement.  This is significantly better than current pension arrangements and should act as an incentive for young people to save.

The way this Isa works is if you manage to save £4000 a year, the government will give you a £1000.  There is no monthly maximum contribution – you can save as little or as much as you want each month, up to £4000 a year.

You can withdraw the money at any time before you turn 60.  However, you will lose the government bonus, the interest on this bonus and pay a 5% charge.

Savers who have already taken out a Help To Buy  will be able to move their money into a Lifetime Isa.  If they have both types of Isa, they will only be able to use the bonus from one of them to buy a home.

The Help to Buy Isa scheme, which is slightly less generous than the new Isa, is due to end in November 2019.

 

 

If you’re thinking of getting onto the property ladder, then as a first time buyer will now need a deposit of £33,000 on average.

The average deposit for a first time buyer has risen by 88% according to lender Halifax, and one in four first time buyers now borrow over 35 years.

Halifax saw 26% of first time buyers take the 35-year option last year which means lower monthly payments for people so is seen as a popular choice.

Halifax have blamed higher house prices for the increasing size of deposits required by first time buyers and said that it marks the first annual decline recorded across the UK since 2011 and that the decline is partly due to lack of homes for buyers to choose from.

This may all seem like depressing news for people looking to get their foot on the property ladder but not all is doom and gloom.  Here are some options that may help you out.

  • Help to Buy Isa – available from various banks and building society’s.  These tax free saving accounts offer interest rates op up to 4% plus a 25% bonus from the Government worth up to £3000.
  • Help to Buy Equity Loan – for new-build homes where you could borrow 20% of the purchase price from the Government.  You would need a 5% deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest.
  • Right to Buy – if you a council tenant the Right to Buy scheme could help you to buy the home you rent.
  • Starter Homes – if your a first time buyer the upcoming  Starter Homes scheme could help you to buy a new-build home with a 20% discount.
  • Right to Aquire – if your a housing association tenant you could be eligible to buy the home you rent with a discount.
  • Shared Ownership – if you can’t quite afford to buy 100% of your home, you could buy a share of it instead and pay rent for the rest.

 

 

 

UK house prices rose by 9.5% in the year to December, according to lender Halifax.  This makes it the fastest annual increase in nine years and also seems to give us more confirmation that homes in the UK are unaffordable.

According to Halifax in the last month, prices went up by 1.7% bringing the average house for sale signsprice to £208,286, but there are signs that the pace of price growth is softening slightly with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors figures showing that the supply of homes is at a record low.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the government plans to spend £1.2bn preparing former industrial sites for house building as part of an effort to bring down the cost of home ownership for young people.

This policy will deliver 30,000 cheaper homes over the next five years, with the government saying that work has already started on more than half of  these homes.