This weekend’s financial press was dominated by news of the Budget, and one particular focus was the announcement of a new stamp duty holiday for First Time Buyers on properties up to £250,000. Experts in the Mail on Sunday and the Guardian welcomed the initiative, agreeing that it will give a much needed boost to the spring market as well as removing another barrier for those saving to get a deposit together; however there was widespread criticism regarding eligibility. HMRC definitions mean that anyone who has ever registered interest in a property anywhere in the world will not benefit; including those who have part owned or inherited a property. As the Financial Times pointed out, the onus is on the buyer to declare they have never owned a property before, and this is expected to create a minefield for solicitors who will have to check Land Registry records for confirmation.
Experts in the Telegraph and Sunday Express agreed that while the new initiative is positive, the biggest obstacle is still the deposit, and both articles looked at guarantor mortgages as an alternative option. The Sunday Times pointed out however that this might not be in the buyers’ interest as guarantor mortgages usually have higher rates.
Elsewhere there was news that the cost of mortgage protection is on the increase following a huge rise in the number of unemployment claims, while the Independent on Sunday took a look at shared ownership mortgages following recent findings that fewer than half of all part-owners ever reach 100% ownership.