Your Views

Will starter homes plan work – or have an unintended outcome?

Regarding the news that mortgages will be standard on all new government starter homes…

This is an interesting take on preventing cash buyers in the market.

In fairness, if you’re earning £80K and have £400K in the bank, you’d be mad not to take a mortgage at sub-2 per cent and leave your cash where it is, wouldn’t you?

I don’t see the adversity for cash buyers…. At least the 15-year pay-back penalty should deter investor types. But I wonder how many are first-time buyers to start with.

I hope the plans come to fruition and the market improves for those in exile from it. I just can’t help feeling the law of unintended consequences will strike again.

Chris Hulme

One firm causes 70% of claims but we all bail it out – that’s weird logic…

On the news that Fuel Investments Limited is responsible for 70 per cent of claims leading to a recent £15m Financial Services Compensation Scheme emergency levy…

Just a thought… a bit radical, I know… but, if Fuel has caused the problems, why have the rest of us got to bail it out?

Jaded Broker

…and FSCS wouldn’t be required if FCA was more on the ball

Regarding the news on Fuel Investments, the FCA is not doing its job properly, then.

If it was on the ball, the FSCS wouldn’t have to be involved.

Old Hand

Santander’s buy-to-let clause highlights the real profitmongers

Having read that Santander has been criticised for pushing landlords to increase rents, where is the Shelter charity in all this?

It delights in pillorying landlords but is scarce when the real profitmongers show their hand with clauses like this.

Avoiding voids is far more important to maximise profits and this means making sure our customers, the tenants, stay happy and in place.

After 20 years as a landlord, 2016 was the first time I ever raised a rent for a sitting tenant. That was due to the punitive tax changes applied by the Government.

Seeing this clause from a bank really highlights the profitmongers in the private rental sector.

Ian Price

Halifax house price data suggests 2016 dynamics will continue – for now

Regarding the latest Halifax house price index, the data suggests that house prices have increased by 5.7 per cent year-on-year and 2.4 per cent from the previous quarter, with a slight monthly decrease of 0.9 per cent.

This suggests that the conditions we saw towards the end of last year have overlapped into 2017. For example, mortgage approvals for purchases in December (up 1 per cent on the previous month) were at their highest since March last year, which was when we saw a burst of activity prior to the increase in stamp duty for buy-to-let and second homes.

Therefore, we will potentially see an increase in purchase activity in the next couple of months, which would be in line with seasonal trends. The fact that prices cooled marginally in January doesn’t cause concern as this is likely to reflect the fact that vendors who were trying to sell in what is traditionally a quiet period were pricing competitively to tie up deals.

So the same market dynamics that underpinned the housing market throughout 2016 are likely to remain in place, certainly for the short term.

Paucity of stock in many areas combined with near-record low rates for borrowers, together with consistent consumer demand and the encouraging news that first-time buyers are on the increase, could suggest that the current picture will remain consistent as we move into the spring market.

Brian Murphy, Mortgage Advice Bureau